In the rarefied atmosphere of ultra-luxury cars the announcement of a new model is an event, especially the all-new Bentley Flying Spur performance sedan, which will make its global debut at the Geneva motor show on 5 March, under the headline "Bentley's most powerful four-door model ever".
The new Flying Spur combines traditional Bentley styling cues with contemporary details such as LED daytime running lights, and dipped headlights and tail lights, while the interior dresses advanced acoustic and electronic technologies in hand-crafted leather hides and wood veneers.
Driver and passengers communicate with the car and the outside world through touch-screen infotainment, mobile connectivity including Wi-Fi, a rear-seat entertainment suite and a new hand-held touch-screen remote that allows rear-seat occupants to control an extensive range of features, including the eight-channel, eight-speaker audio system.
Bentley's magnificent six-litre, twin turbo W12 engine has been revised to deliver 460kW and 800Nm from only 2000rpm, coupled to a ZF eight-speed transmission and all-wheel drive with a 40:60 rear-biased torque split.
That's good enough to take this 2475kg car (and even that represents a 14 per cent improvement in power-to-weight ratio over the previous model) from 0-100km/h in 4.3 seconds and on to a top speed of 322km/h, at a cost of 14.7 litres per 100km and 343g/km of CO2.
Lower, wider stance
The new Flying Spur has a lower, wider stance with sharp lines and gently curved surfaces, featuring a lower roof line, deeply sculpted panels and precise feature lines.
The front fenders feature a new wing vent with a "B" motif and a sharply defined edge running from the front wheel all the way to the rear bumper.
A more upright chrome grille sits between the pairs of LED headlights, with the outer lamps larger than the inner, over a full-width lower intake with a chromed horizontal accent, while a longer, lower boot lid sweeps into Bentley's signature U-shaped feature line.
Only the sun visors, grab handles, armrests and some of the front console and controls are carried over from the previous model, in a cabin where the latest entertainment and information technologies are married with traditional hand-crafted materials.
Available in four or five-seat configuration, the new Flying Spur has redesigned 14-way power-adjustable seats trimmed in natural premium-quality leather, using a softer yet more durable hide unique to Bentley and available in twelve colours.
Each Flying Spur has almost 10 square metres of book-matched and mirror-polished veneer on the fascia panels, consoles, waist-rails and picnic tables, with the veneer of the dashboard meeting that of the doors in a perfectly aligned curve.
The roof lining and pillars are also trimmed in natural leather, while electrically-operated rear side blinds provide privacy for rear-seat passengers if desired.
Options include a glass sunroof and a nine-litre bottle cooler behind the central rear armrest.
CONNECTING TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD
Infotainment is controlled through a high resolution, voice-activated 200mm touch-screen, complete with satellite navigation system and Bluetooth connectivity. The eight-channel, eight-speaker audio system can play music from an on-board hard drive, CDs, DVDs, SD cards or from an iPod.
A new touch screen remote, stored in the rear console, allows rear-seat passengers to control the air conditioning, seat heating and ventilation, satellite navigation and multimedia systems.