Crewe, England - Ask the gents at Bentley what’s new about the third-generation Flying Spur and they’ll tell you it’s absolutely everything.

Sharing only its name with the previous generation Flying Spur, Bentley describes the new Grand Touring sedan as a “technological tour de force of innovation, connectivity, passenger comfort and driver excitement.”

It is, however, still handcrafted at the Home of Bentley, in Crewe, England.

The new Flying Spur is built around a completely new aluminium and composite architecture and also boasts a 48V electronic system. The exterior design is bolder and more muscular than before, and features cut-crystal effect LED matrix headlights as well as a newly-designed deployable ‘Flying B’ bonnet mascot.

Its heart is an enhanced version of Bentley’s 6-litre twin-turbo W12, which produces 467kW and 900Nm, enough to get the land yacht from 0-100km/h in just 3.8 seconds according to claims. The engine is mated to an eight-speed ZF dual-clutch transmission, as per the latest Continental GT.

To provide the kind of agility that belies its size, Bentley has installed Electronic All-Wheel-Steering for the first time, as well as an improved all-wheel-drive system that now has variable torque distribution as opposed to the previous version’s fixed 60:40 split. A cosseting ride is ensured by three-champer air springs which contain 60 percent more air volume than before, while Continuous Damping Control allows for constant regulation of the shocks.

But it’s the cabin that must delight most in a car of this nature and to that end Bentley has created a cocoon that’s more spacious, thanks to a 130mm longer wheelbase, as well as more elegant and at the electronic cutting edge.

Buyers can choose from an extensive list of Single and Dual Veneer wood options, while seating choices, in addition to 15 different leather hides, include both fluted leather seating and the distinctive Mulliner Driving Specification diamond quilting, as well as a world first in the form of three-dimensional diamond quilted leather door inserts.

The Bentley Mulliner Personalisation programme furthermore offers a “limitless spectrum of colour to suit all tastes and spectrums”.

Digital age or detox?

As with the latest Conti GT, owners can have the very latest in infotainment, or a digital detox of sorts, thanks to an innovative rotating central display with three sides - 1: a veneer section that blends in with the dashboard, 2: a 31.2cm touchscreen and 3: a set of analogue dials.

Rear occupants can pander to their whims using a new Touch Screen Remote made from “beautifully crafted materials”. The device allows users to access a wide range of applications, including seat massage functions, sun blinds, climate control and mood lighting.

The standard audio system is a 10-speaker, 650 Watt unit, but clients can also opt for a 16-speaker, 1500W Bang & Olufsen system or a 'Naim for Bentley' 2200W, 19-speaker set-up with Active Bass Transducers built into the front seats.

A host of modern driver assistance features is available too, including Traffic Assist, City Assist, Night Vision and Head Up Display.

IOL Motoring