Adaptive air suspension delivers limousine-style ride comfort and sporting levels of body control.
Adaptive air suspension delivers limousine-style ride comfort and sporting levels of body control.
Image: Supplied

Bentley Motors has unveiled what it calls the world’s most advanced luxury Grand Touring sports sedan — the new Flying Spur.  

Blending British craftsmanship with cutting edge technology, the 5.3m long four-door sedan features Electronic All-Wheel Steering for the first time on a Bentley, coupled with Active All-Wheel Drive and Bentley Dynamic Ride, to deliver both a soothing ride and sharper handling. New three-chamber air springs allow a much greater range of suspension adjustment between limousine-style ride comfort and sporting levels of body control.

The all-wheel steering in low-speed manoeuvres steers the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the front wheels, effectively shortening the wheelbase to increase agility and making parking easier. At high speed the system steers the rear wheels in the same direction as the fronts, increasing stability.

Unlike the previous generation Flying Spur, which employed a permanent all-wheel drive system with a fixed 60:40 power split front to rear, the new car is a rear-biased active system with turn-in response improved. It delivers two-wheel drive to the rear axle, but depending on road conditions and wheel slip, it automatically sends drive to the front axle as required.

Front to rear torque distribution varies according to the selected Drive Dynamics Mode: Comfort, Bentley or Sport. Power across each axle is managed by a torque-vectoring-by-brake system.

Standard driver assistance systems in the Flying Spur include Traffic Assist, City Assist and Blind Spot Warning. Night Vision and a head-up display help the driver focus on the road ahead.

The lap of luxury includes a veneer section in the dashboard that rotates to reveal a touchscreen.
The lap of luxury includes a veneer section in the dashboard that rotates to reveal a touchscreen.
Image: Supplied

Power comes from an enhanced version of Bentley’s 6.0l, twin-turbocharged W12 petrol engine, mated to a dual-clutch eight-speed transmission. It delivers 467kW and 900Nm to propel the heavy sedan from 0-100 km/h time of 3.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 333km/h.

“As with the launch of the Continental GT, the new Flying Spur is a ground up development that pushes the boundaries of both technology and craftsmanship to deliver segment-defining levels of performance and refinement,” says Adrian Hallmark, chair and CEO of Bentley Motors.   

The new Flying Spur showcases Bentley’s modern sculptural design language through elegant yet muscular proportions, accentuated by cut-crystal effect LED matrix headlamps and new wrap-around rear lamps with “B” motifs. The car has best-in-class body stiffness to optimise handling and rigidity, and it rides on huge 22-inch wheels.

In place of the usual Bentley badge, perched on the nose of the Flying Spur is a “Flying B” mascot — much like Rolls-Royce uses with its “Spirit of Ecstasy” — for the first time in modern memory. In Bentley’s centenary year, the mascot has been restyled for the next century as an evolution of previous designs. The electronically deployed mascot is illuminated, and plays part of the keyless entry system’s welcome lighting sequence as the driver approaches the car.

The ‘Flying B’ mascot deploys electronically and lights up as the driver approaches the car.
The ‘Flying B’ mascot deploys electronically and lights up as the driver approaches the car.
Image: Supplied

The new Flying Spur is Bentley’s most advanced car yet, offering a host of cutting-edge technologies thanks to its new aluminium and composite chassis and 48V electronic architecture.

A wheelbase stretched by a significant 130mm over its predecessor gives the new Flying Spur a more spacious cabin. The interior’s elegance is heightened by an extensive list of single and dual veneer wood options, fluted leather seats available in 15 colours, the unique Mulliner Driving Specification diamond quilting on the seats, and three-dimensional diamond quilted leather door inserts.

Fine bronze detailing around the clock and switches lift the switchgear to a new level of refinement. The interior can be further enhanced with a full length panoramic glass sunroof.

The craftsmanship is combined with modern technologies. For instance, when the engine start button is pressed, the veneer section in the dashboard rotates to reveal a 31cm touchscreen displaying three customisable digital tiles. The second side of the display reveals three elegant analogue dials showing outside temperature, a compass and a chronometer. A complete “digital detox” can be selected on the third side, showing just the wood veneer fascia.

The new Flying Spur will go on sale in SA early in 2020.