The same MSB architecture that serves the Continental GT and the Porsche Panamera has been called up for duty. A wheelbase stretched by 5.1 inches over the previous Flying Spur delivers handling benefits and attends especially to the comfort of rear-seat passengers.
Superformed aluminum panels create sharper, smoother lines everywhere, starting with the sedan's face. A much wider grille re-establishes proportions up front, as well as a corporate look that goes its own way from the Continental. Vertical vanes in the grille channel the 1957 Bentley S1 Continental Flying Spur, and sit just ahead of a gloss black matrix mesh. The lower grille comes in gloss black matrix as well, but can be specced in bright chrome. The LED matrix headlamps have been fitted with chrome sleeves in order to glimmer even when the lights are off.
A prominent crease emphasizes the shoulders and haunches. Beneath that, the front fender vents adopt a larger and more obvious "B" shape, the lower doors accented by a chrome strip running between the wheel arches. Those arches will be filled with either the standard 21-inch wheels, or two new 22-inch wheels on sedans optioned with Mulliner Specification. In back, wrap-around taillights take on the illuminated "B" graphic, and the license plate holder moves to the lower bumper, leaving only the Bentley wings and the word "Bentley" to adorn the decklid.
The interior overhaul befits Bentley's move into its second century. A high-definition digital instrument binnacle sits behind the new steering wheel. A 12.3-inch screen on the instrument panel handles infotainment needs and performs several tricks, one of which is a proximity sensor that primes the system for commands as a hand draws near. Another trick is that the screen is set into a three-sided, rotating shape. A press of a button flips the screen to reveal a panel with three analogue gauges - temperature, compass and chronometer. Another press flips the shape again to land on a blank wood panel called "digital detox" that merely matches the veneers throughout the rest of the IP. A storage area at the base of the center console offers two USB ports and wireless charging.
A new pattern of fluted leather seating comes standard, with diamond-quilted and three-dimensional diamond quilted leather door inserts available on the options sheet. Also on the extra-cost menu, a full-length panoramic glass roof with an inset sunroof. Alcantara blinds shield passengers from a harsh sun, interior mood lighting in seven colors shields eyes from the mundane end of the light spectrum.
Drivers will appreciate the benefits of safety systems like Traffic Assist, City Assist, blind spot warning, night vision, a heads up display, top view camera, and self-parking capabilities. Occupants will appreciate any of the three sound systems: 10-speaker, 650-watt audio; a 1,500-watt, 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen system with illuminated grilles and BeoSonic; or a Naim for Bentley 2,200-watt, 19-speaker system with Active Bass Transducers built into the front seats.
The evolved 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged W12 mates to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. Along with the bump in twist, the faster cog-swapper drops the 0-60 mph time from 4.2 seconds in the previous Flying Spur W12 S to 3.7 seconds. The 207-mph top speed is available in sixth gear, seventh and eighth gears devoted to saving fuel at saner velocities.
A host of driveline and suspension changes elevate the dynamic experience. The 48-volt electronic architecture varies anti-roll bar stiffness to maintain a level attitude. New variable dampers hold 60 percent more air by volume, permitting a wider ride latitude between luxury and sporty cruising. Electronic four-wheel steering turns the rear wheels to shrink the turning circle or quicken high-speed reflexes. Instead of the former fixed torque split, active all-wheel drive can send all 664 lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels, up to 31 percent of torque to the front axle in Sport mode, or up to 53 percent of torque to the front axle when in Comfort and Bentley modes. Brake-based torque vectoring manages transverse power.
Dealers will begin taking orders for the new Flying Spur this fall, with customer deliveries to begin early next year.