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Geneva show: Bentley unveils new Flying Spur

Luxury express: Bentley says its new Flying Spur limo has a 14 per cent better power-to-weight ratio than the outgoing model.

New 322km/h Flying Spur is most powerful four-door Bentley in history

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Bentley logo21 Feb 2013

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

BENTLEY has endowed the new, more stately looking Flying Spur limousine with as much power and torque as its fastest mainstream models, the two-door Continental GT Speed coupe and convertible.

With 459kW and 800Nm, the Flying Spur that will be officially unveiled at the Geneva motor show on March 5 is the most powerful four-door Bentley in history, able to reach triple-digit speeds in 4.3 seconds and carry on to 322km/h.

Mass has been reduced by 50kg – despite the addition of extra on-board technology – and combined with the more potent turbocharged W12 engine (up 47kW and 150Nm), the new Flying Spur’s power to weight ratio has improved by 14 per cent.

As predicted from the teaser campaign that began earlier this month, the Flying Spur has taken on a more stately look that gives it the appearance of a little brother to the Mulsanne flagship rather than the slab-sided, stretched Continental that was the original.

Bentley has used the same high temperature ‘superforming’ panel-shaping technique as the Mulsanne and Conti to yield clean lines, sharper creases, reduced weight and a low aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0.29.

This is best demonstrated by the new ‘Coke bottle’ kink stretching from the rear doors and over the wheel arches, a taut-looking belt-line crease that flows backward from new vents – with nifty Bentley B emblems – on the front guards.

Adding to the stately look is a more bluff front-end with LED headlights, more sculpting on the C-pillars and more definition between the rear guards and tauter looking (lightweight polymer) boot-lid, while larger, elongated new tail-lights add to the lower, wider appearance.

Beneath the new skin are developments to improve body stiffness by four per cent, improve interior refinement and reduce the number of components.

Bentley says only the sun visors, grab handles and part of the front console and controls have survived from the old Flying Spur, with more than 600 new parts created for this model.

There will be a choice of four- or five-seat interior configurations, with softer yet more durable leather upholstery and carefully matched wood veneer that wraps around from the instrument panel and passenger fascia on to the doors.

Four-seat Flying Spurs get an extension of the front centre console to provide extra storage.

A state-of-the-art rear entertainment system is controlled by a touch-screen remote – which also controls rear heating and ventilation – and content is delivered through dual 10-inch displays from a DVD player and USB inputs.

It also has the ability to attach external devices via HDMI, while the bundled wireless headphones can be easily recharged via USB and comes with controller.

An onboard wireless internet hotspot enables work and play on the move, while a premium eight channel, 1100-watt Naim sound system that can play music from the integrated hard drive, CDs, DVDs, iPods or SD memory cards will be offered as an option.

To improve ride comfort, Bentley has softened the air suspension by 10 per cent at the rear and 13 per cent at the front for normal operation, while the anti-roll bars have also been softened by 13 per cent (front) and 15 per cent (rear) and while suspension bushes are 25 per cent softer to reduce road noise and vibration.

Driving dynamics are assured though, as the rate at which the stiffness increases during hard cornering has been upped to control roll and pitch movements.

At 195km/h the car first lowers by 5mm at the front and 10mm at the rear, then a further 8mm (front) and 13mm (rear) at 240km/h.

As with the Continental, the Flying Spur gains an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission with quick 200 millisecond shift times and optimised ratios to keep the W12 running in its sweet spot, contributing to a 13 per cent reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions to 14.7 litres per 100 kilometres and 343 grams per kilometre.

Power is still sent to all four wheels, with a 60 per cent rear torque bias that can increase to 85 per cent where needed, with a maximum 65 per cent available to the front axle if required.

Bentley chairman and chief executive Wolfgang Schreiber described the new Flying Spur as “equipped both for business and relaxation whilst remaining a car to enjoy from behind the wheel”.

“Our engineers have worked tirelessly to ensure that the Flying Spur is the perfect combination of power, comfort, refinement and hand-crafted quality.”

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