The Bentley Continental GT might just be our favourite luxury car right now. It has a beautiful cabin, an amazingly smooth ride and is extremely quick. The only snafu is the interior space, limited due to the coupe body. However, there’s now a solution: the all-new Flying Spur.
Taking all the best bits of the Conti and stuffing them into a saloon body has the makings of a world-beater, and the car certainly stacks up nicely on paper.
Like its coupe relative, the Flying Spur is built on VW Group’s MSB platform, and powered by a 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12. The VW VR6-descended 12-pot pushes out 626bhp and 664lb ft of torque to all four wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
Plenty of thrust, in other words, to overcome the Spur’s two and a half tonne bulk - 0-62mph happens in just 3.8 seconds. The top speed, meanwhile, is 207mph. A 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 is expected to join the range at a later date.
The all-wheel drive system powers the rear wheels exclusively for much of the time, sending power to the front axle only when slip is detected. The Flying Spur is also the first Bentley ever to receive an all-wheel steering system. This turns the rear wheels the same direction as the fronts at higher speeds for greater stability, and in the opposite direction at lower speeds for better agility. This should mean parking the Spur in town doesn’t feel like docking a cruise ship in a paddling pool.
Dynamic Ride - which fiddles with the three-chamber air suspension to keep the body flatter during cornering - is fitted as standard, as are Bentley’s clever 48-volt-powered active anti-roll bars.
The wheelbase is 130mm longer than the old car’s and 330mm longer than a Continental GT’s, making the interior suitably vast. Quilted leather - including an unusual ‘three-dimensional’ leather trim design on the door cards - is used in abundance, while the dashboard proudly displays Bentley’s Toblerone-shaped rotating display. It’s able to show either a 12.3-inch touchscreen, a trio of analogue dials or whatever posh veneer you chose in the configurator.
Whoever’s fortunate enough to be sitting in the back has a detachable tablet to control things like mood lighting, the electric blinds and the massage function. It can even be used to raise or lower the bonnet-mounted ‘Flying B’.
All Flying Spurs will be hand-built at Bentley’s factory in Crewe. It’ll be available to order from this Autumn, with the first cars handed over to customers in early 2020. Pricing hasn’t been divulged yet, but we’d anticipate a moderate premium over the £159,100 starting point for the W12 version of the Continental GT.