Just like its predecessors, the Flying Spur is a relation of the Continental GT coupé and convertible and is built on the same production line at Crewe. According to Bentley, however, the only exterior body parts that the new saloon shares with the GT are its door handles and wing mirrors.
Where previous iterations of the car struggled to translate the two-door’s design language onto an elongated limousine body entirely comfortably, this third-generation Flying Spur was roundly recognised as a real achievement for Bentley’s design team. It has presence and visual allure to spare, being both longer and lower than before, with sharper body surfacing throughout those superformed aluminium body panels. Although they don’t quite confer the coupé’s sense of muscularity, the car’s rear haunches lend it a new-found sense of drama and visual power.
As with the Continental GT, the new Flying Spur is based on the MSB platform initially developed for the Volkswagen Group by Porsche. Its wheelbase is 130mm longer than before, with the front axle having been moved forward to liberate additional interior space.
Bentley’s Dynamic Ride 48V active roll cancellation system features as standard and four-wheel steering makes an appearance for the first time in a Bentley; handy in a car measuring 5.3m in length. Suspension is by way of double wishbones at the front and multiple links at the rear, with three-chamber air springs and adaptive dampers at all four corners.
A 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged W12 is the only engine available from launch. It produces the same 626bhp and 664lb ft as it does in the latest Continental GT and an eight-speed ZF dual-clutch transmission replaces the old model’s torque-converter automatic. The car adopts the same clutch-based active all-wheel drive system as the current GT’s, which can send as much as 40% of the engine’s torque away from the natively driven rear axle to the front wheels (that figure being reduced when the Sport driving mode is selected). Brake-based torque vectoring also features.
Despite its increase in size and the addition of a veritable arsenal of semi-autonomous driver aids, Bentley claims to have shaved 38kg from the new Flying Spur, for a kerb weight of 2437kg. It tipped our test scales at a very substantial 2500kg, split 53:47 front to rear.