The Flying Spur may have been given a moniker to separate its identity from the Continental coupé and convertible, but it’s about differentiating the car’s character from its more sporting siblings, rather than a demonstration that their engineering paths have differed.
Beneath a skin that is completely different (although, from the front particularly, you’d want the two cars side by side to spot what the changes are), the Bentley Flying Spur’s mechanicals are an evolution of the previous car’s.
The steel monocoque is claimed to be 50kg lighter than before, although trim and equipment changes are said to make the difference between the two negligible. But it’s the Chinese market’s importance to the Spur – up to 60 per cent of production will find its home there – that marks out the biggest difference between four-door and two-door Bentleys.
China likes soft-riding cars, to the extent that it’s the only market to have had a model combining the most powerful Supersports engine with the softest suspension, in the previous Spur.
Compared with its predecessor, the latest Spur gets spring rates that are 10 percent softer at the front and 13 percent at the rear, with 13 and 15 percent softer anti-roll bars respectively.
Its bushes are at least 25 percent softer, too, which ought to produce a ride that is not only suitable for China but also addresses one of the main criticisms of the old car: that its ride wasn’t compliant enough.
The powertrain is improved in detail rather than wholesale, too. The Flying Spur is available with a 6.0-litre W12 turbocharged petrol engine, making 616bhp and 590lb ft of torque or an Audi-derived 4.0-litre V8 motor. There are two versions of the turbocharged V8 - a 500bhp standard engine and a tweaked 521bhp for the sportier V8 S. Each Flying Spur drives through ZF’s eight-speed auto transmission to all four wheels and features cylinder deactivation to improve the emission outputs.