Bentley Reveals The All-New Flying Spur Luxury Grand Touring Sedan
Bentley Motors has revealed the all-new Flying Spur for 2020, the latest grand touring saloon by the British luxury marque. Unlike the car it replaces, this Flying Spur has both the chauffeured clientele and the driving enthusiast in mind with a design that combines limousine luxury and sports sedan performance. Company CEO Adrian Hallmark says it is “a ground up development that pushes the boundaries of both technology and craftsmanship to deliver segment-defining levels of performance and refinement.”
The Flying Spur is powered by an enhanced version of Bentley’s 6.0-litre, twin-turbocharged W12, mated to a dual-clutch eight-speed transmission for what the marque promises to be faster and smoother gear changes. It delivers 635 ps (626bhp) and 900 Nm of torque, 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 207 mph. This is a highly-advanced car too, offering a host of cutting-edge technologies thanks to its advanced aluminum and composite chassis and new electronic architecture.
The car features electronic all-wheel steering for the first time on a Bentley, coupled with active all-wheel drive and Bentley Dynamic Ride. New three-chamber air springs allow a much greater range of suspension adjustment between limousine-style ride comfort and sporting levels of body control. Plus, a healthy menu of driver assist tech are fitted to the new car as standard.
So, what does it look like up close? Firstly, the Flying Spur shares much of the structural and visual DNA of its sibling, the latest Continental GT, to be an altogether more contemporary Bentley. You could say it is a touch like the Conti’s older brother – more poised, established, perhaps a touch more conservative. Yet, the design team, led by Stefan Sielaff, have managed to introduce elements of “Bentley-ness” – a touch of British eccentricity – with details that are fun, clever and remind us of the incredible talent and know-how that exists at this one-hundred-year-old UK establishment. The Flying Spur is therefore a healthy fusion of tradition and modern, craft and innovation.
“As you know we are evolving our design,” says Sielaff when I meet him at the Crewe studio ahead of the global reveal. “Performance and luxury are at the heart of our identity but so is craftsmanship. Craft is a big part of our DNA and we as designers want to show our customer the art of craft - the human touch,” says the designer who has been leading the creative team since 2016.
The proportions on the 2020 model have been refined to express this duel identity of chauffeured and driver’s car. Sielaff explains: “We moved the front wheel a few millimetres forward to allow for a shorter overhang and therefore better proportions. This Flying Spur is only 80mm longer than the previous car, but this small tweak has altered the perception. And what this does visually is make this more a driver’s car than the chauffeur one it was.”
The exterior is sculptural and muscular, achieved by separating the Bentley signature lines – the powerline and haunch - which were connected previously. A subtle tweak, this helps make the proportion appear more dynamic. Sielaff notes that it was extremely difficult getting the exact precision we achieved, as this car features our new aluminium body. A choice of new 21-inch wheels is offered as standard, as well as the option of two unique 22-inch Mulliner specifications.
The Flying Spur is a canvas for showcasing Bentley’s engineering excellence, its design skills and the intricate work that can be achieved by the Mulliner craft people. This includes the unique cut-crystal effect detailing on front and rear lights, as well as an automotive-first three-dimensional diamond quilted leather door inserts. The new car also features a brand-new grille design - vertical vanes front a gloss black radiator matrix with bright chrome surround - which nods to the 1957 Bentley S1 Continental Spur. Explains Sielaff: “We feel it is very unusual and makes the car look more majestic and says this is a mix of performance and luxury. We are offering two options - the black matrix, which pumps it up and is much sportier, or the full high chrome spec,” he says, adding, “tastes are different and it will be down to the wishes of our customers.”
A 130mm longer wheelbase means it is spacious inside. As well as an extensive list of single and dual veneer wood options, customers can ask for a new fluted leather seating and the unique Mulliner diamond quilting on the seats which Sielaff says has “more of a rhythm” than what we saw in the Continental. The driver interface continues the sibling’s story with a mix of analogue and digital with the rotating display which swivels from an informative panel to a simple clear space. “It comes from our new thinking: luxury means less is more,” offers Sielaff. “A customer is driving home from work, he or she just wants to listen to their music and relax and they most likely know the way and don’t need too much visual noise.”
Bentley is 100 this year and so the team used the occasion of the Flying Spur to design a “Flying B” mascot to symbolize the centenary. Sielaff says it has been a major highlight for him and took two years to develop with 15 of his designers participating in the project. “We really liked one of the sketches that showed a falcon landing on snow with a forward-leaning beak. We wanted to create more dynamism than the former mascot which felt static. As it represents the centenary of Bentley, the mascot also symbolises the challenges facing us, so it needed to look proud and into the future.”
The Flying Spur is available to order from this fall and customer deliveries will begin in early 2020.