What is it?
It’s Bentley’s latest; the new Flying Spur luxury saloon.
Note it’s no longer a Bentley Continental Flying Spur. Bentley wants to put clear air between the Spur and the Conti coupé/convertible, hence some new visual differences at the nose. It’s the outer rather than inner pair of front lights that is bigger on the Spur, while a chrome horizontal strip makes its way onto the lower grille.
Pretty subtle, but both form part of a thorough redesign that includes more muscular rear haunches beside a tail that otherwise drops heavily at the rear – a bit reminiscent of a Bristol Blenheim. You won’t mistake the new Flying Spur for the old one from the back.
The rest of the redesign is just as thorough. As with the Continental that launched last year, this isn’t an all-new platform, but is comprehensively re-engineered.
Some of the stand-out technical changes to this 5.3-metre long saloon are an increase in body rigidity of four per cent, alongside a drop in weight of 50kg (though a steel monocoque, there are some aluminium panels at the front and plastic ones at the rear), and the fitment of ZF’s eight-speed automatic gearbox instead of a six-speed.
The W12 engine, meanwhile, arrives here in 616bhp form, making this Bentley’s most powerful-ever four-door. The top speed is quoted (probably conservatively) at 200mph, and 0-60mph at 4.3sec. It’s pretty decadent at the pumps too; at the moment the Spur is only available with the W12 engine, which means 19.2mpg and 343g/km.
Inside, there are a few carried-over parts around the dashboard, but the rest of it is new, although familiar in feel. You know the sort of thing. Lots of leather.
The most significant alterations to the new Flying Spur, as we’ll see, are to the suspension. The old Spur never rode particularly calmly, particularly for customers in its primary markets – China (where more than half of Flying Spurs are sold) and the USA.
So, this time around spring rates have been dropped by 10 and 13 per cent front and rear respectively, with anti-roll bars softened 13 and 15 per cent, while bushes are 25 per cent softer and the standard tyres, running on 19in rims, have a higher aspect ratio.