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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 percent 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.
And if you want to work on the move you can order the new multi-media specification, driven by a connectivity unit that connects smartphones, laptops and tablets to the internet through the car's own Wi-Fi hotspot with an active SIM and 64 GB of internal storage.
Two 250mm LCD screens are installed on the backs of the front seats with top-loading multimedia players in pockets so users can load video, photo and music content from DVDs, SD cards, USB players including iPods and iPads, and HDMI devices, while a separate USB charging port keeps batteries fresh
Each rear passenger can view separate content, or stream media from the connectivity unit.
A new thermostatic expansion valve significantly decreases the time taken to cool the cabin, and the optional climate boost function comes with an enhanced blower system for improved cooling of the rear cabin.
The independent computer-controlled air suspension has been redesigned, with spring rates softened front and rear by 10 percent and 13 percent respectively, while the rate of stiffness increase during harder cornering has been increased for improved control of heave, pitch and roll.
Anti-roll bars have been softened by 13 percent and 15 percent to improve single-wheel impact absorption and the suspension lever bushes all round have been softened by at least 25 percent to reduce road surface-induced noise and vibration.
A four-position suspension control, with a widened range of settings, allows drivers to choose the level of damping to suit their preference.
As the new Flying Spur approaches its 322km/h top speed, the ride height is automatically lowered via the air suspension system to compensate for aerodynamic forces and reduce drag.
EXPAND YOUR OPTIONS
The standard rim is a 19” alloy, either bright-painted or diamond turned; a range of 20” five-spoked, 21” six-spoked and 21-inch 10-spoked rims is available.
Then there's Mulliner Driving Specification, which includes a choice of another five leather colours, bringing the total to 17, and five further wood veneers, with diamond quilting on the seats and door panels, together with an indented leather headlining and embroidered Bentley wings on the head restraints.
Drilled alloy foot pedals, a knurled sports gear lever, jewel filler cap and 21” two-piece five-spoke alloy wheels in painted or polished finish complete the Mulliner suite of options.