2014 Bentley Flying Spur breaks cover

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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News just in: there won't be a Bentley Continental Flying Spur for model year 2014. Moving forward, there will only be a Flying Spur. That's good news for writers and copy editors who won't have to write out such a long name when reviewing the British ultra-premium marque's current "entry-level" four-door, but likely the brand's many fans won't notice a difference, in the name at least.

They'll notice a lot of differences with the big sedan's replacement, however, as it pulls forward many design cues from the grand dame of them all, the Bentley Mulsanne. Of particular note, the new Flying Spur's grille is larger and more regal, whereas its circular headlights are now rimmed in de rigueur LEDs just like the top-line car; LEDs are also added to the totally redesigned taillights. Where the outgoing Continental Flying Spur looks more or less like a four-door Continental GT Coupe, the new 2014 Flying Spur gets a more stately appearance than its two-door siblings despite sharing most of its key components with the sportier models.

Compared to the outgoing Continental Flying Spur, the new Flying Spur is entirely new. According to Bentley, only a few interior components, such as grab handles are carryover. Inside, the usual unparalleled Bentley treatment has been taken even further upscale with even more genuine hardwood. Joining the woods on the dashboard, doors, centre stack and console between the front seats is a full-length wood console that extends right into the rear with four-seat models, giving the new Spur more executive limousine appeal. Those seats are now both heated and cooled, while interior temperatures and unwanted light can be controlled even further via powered side window and rear blinds, now standard. The sunroof is now standard too, and Bentley will also provide a beverage cooler to keep everyone aboard refreshed.

To make sure the new model is in step with the times Bentley is upping the Flying Spur's electronics with a revised infotainment system featuring an eight-inch touchscreen display that connects through to a built-in Wi-Fi system, while its best-of-the-best 1,100-watt Naim audio system remains optional.

Bentley's powerful V8 will remain the standard engine, although the car's "fastest four-door sedan ever" claim to fame is due to the optional twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre W12 engine that puts out 64 additional horsepower and 114 lb-ft more torque than the outgoing car at 625-horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque! Combined with a new eight-speed ZF automatic transmission that shifts quicker than any manual at 200-millisecond intervals, and an all-wheel drivetrain that directs 60-percent of the engine's thrust to the rear wheels (or up to 65-percent to those up front in slippery conditions), the top-line engine can scoot the Spur to 100 km/h in just 4.4 seconds before achieving a fastest-ever top speed of 322 km/h (200 mph)! The engine should be more tractable in everyday driving too, as it produces peak torque at only 2,000 rpm rather than 6,000 for the old engine.

Bentley has improved overall performance in other ways as well, particularly lightening and stiffening the body structure and chassis. The hood and front fenders are now made from superformed aluminum while the rear deck lid is made from composite, with the car's combined weight reduced some 50 kilos. The new shape also aids in aerodynamics.

While less mass and increased rigidity improve ride and handling, and of course crash protection, and better aerodynamics allow for a higher top speed with reduced wind noise, all come together to dramatically benefit fuel economy, as important for Bentley as it is for any other luxury carmaker trying to meet evermore stringent emissions regulations. Bentley is claiming a 13-percent improvement compared to the outgoing model that is rated at 19.1 L/100km in the city and 11.2 highway.

Part of the Flying Spur's improved highway efficiency is due to an updated computer-controlled air suspension system that automatically lowers ride height at higher speeds, therefore reducing drag. It senses a driver's style too, stiffening the dampers automatically during aggressive maneuvers.

"Our engineers have worked tirelessly to ensure that the Flying Spur is the perfect combination of power, comfort, refinement and hand-crafted quality," stated Wolfgang Schreiber, Bentley Motors' recently appointed CEO. "The new Flying Spur is equipped both for business and relaxation whilst remaining a car to enjoy from behind the wheel."

The all-new 2014 Bentley Flying Spur will make its full international debut at the Geneva auto show next month, at which point more details will be available.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Luxury Sedan, Bentley, 2014, Flying Spur, $99,999+, Full-size,

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