The new Bentley Continental Flying Spur will receive its Asian premiere at the Shanghai motor show this week. The new car is faster, more powerful and more efficient than before — and company bosses say they have resolved the refinement issues that hindered the outgoing model.
The 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12 now delivers 616bhp at 6000rpm (up from 552bhp) and 580lb ft from 2000rpm (up from 479lb ft). It is linked to a new eight-speed ZF automatic gearbox that shifts in under 200 milliseconds. The top speed remains 200mph but economy and CO2 emissions have improved by 13 per cent to 19.2mpg and 343g/km. It will go on sale this summer.
The styling has been tweaked inside and out. The focus has been on making the exterior look lower, wider and more aggressive. details such as LED headlights also contribute to this, as do the new lines, which Bentley design boss Luc Donckerwolke says are among the boldest and sharpest it has ever created.
Extensive use of new, stronger, lightweight materials also means that the new Flying Spur weighs 50kg less than the outgoing model despite being four per cent more rigid. The more rigid body is also said to provide a better foundation for noise and vibration suppression. Additional sound-deadening materials have also been used, including underfloor acoustic panels, acoustic glass, new exhaust mufflers and new door seals that better reduce wind and road noise.
New 19-inch tyres have higher sidewalls to improve ride comfort. The air suspension’s spring settings are significantly softer to improve ride comfort further and the anti-roll bars are softer to improve single-wheel impact absorption, while the suspension lever bushes are 25 per cent softer. In harder cornering, however, the spring stiffness is increased, to reduce heave, pitch and roll. drivers can select from four suspension settings.
“We have put a big focus on comfort,” Bentley head of engineering Rolf Frech told Autocar. “We have looked at everything to reduce noise and ensure the cabin is as good a place to be as it can be.”
Inside, only the sun visors, grab handles, armrests and some front console and controls have been carried over from the outgoing car. The focus has been on improving comfort and sound isolation, especially in the rear seats, which can be adjusted in 14 different directions and are heated and cooled. The car is available in four-seat and five-seat configurations.
Bentley has also greatly improved the in-car technology on offer. Front seat occupants have an eight-inch touchscreen, through which they can control the sat-nav, Bluetooth and entertainment systems. Rear seat passengers can use a new remote control for all the car’s systems, from the climate controls to the entertainment systems.