Lifestyle

Tradition Meets A New Beginning: The 2020 Bentley Flying Spur.

There are luxury cars, luxury car brands, and then there is Bentley. The iconic British brand was founded by Walter Owen Bentley in 1919 and quickly became known for its blend of sportiness and luxury. Now owned by the Volkswagen group the company still produces much of its range in Crewe, England.

The Flying Spur is an embodiment of what Bentley’s history over the last century has showcased. This new from the ground up third edition takes Bentley to the head of the class when it comes to mixing traditional and modern technology.

Power comes from the world’s most advanced W12 engine. Of 6.0L in capacity and fitted with twin turbos, and set further back in the chassis for better weight distribution, 467kW/626 horsepower and a monstrous 900Nm/664ft-lb of torque are enough to launch the (new for the Flying Spur) all wheel drive machine to 100km/h or 62mph in just 3.8 seconds. That’s more than impressive from a machine weight two and a half tonnes. Top speed is a dizzying 333km/h or 207mph. Steering is assisted by a torque-vectoring braking system and a new 48V electrical system allows Bentley’s Dynamic Ride system to work side by side with the 48V Electronic Active Roll Control system. It combines sporty handling with a luxury ride. That all wheel drive system, by the way, is fitted with a smart clutch system that directs 100% drive to the rear until the sensors detect a need to send drive forward. This differs significantly from the previous 60:40 split system. Transmission is an eight speed dual clutch auto, with paddle shift changing.

Outside and up front of the 209.3 in/5316 mm long machine is another reimagined icon. The Flying Spur mascot itself is electrically powered, internally illuminated and retractable, a first for the brand. This sits above a visually strong black and silver vertically vaned radiator grille, itself framed in eye-catching high shine chrome and above a matrix black lower grille. Restyled Bentley crystal cut headlights begin the journey to the rear with super formed aluminum panels delineating a svelte yet assertive profile. The wheelbase is up by 130mm or four inches, enough to add vital interior legroom. Wheels are 21 inches in diameter as standard. Opt for the Mulliner package and 22 inchers are available. Brakes discs are large enough to hold a family sized pizza at 420mm up front, making them the largest available. Black painted callipers are black painted. Suspension is a sophisticated air system with three chambers for the springs and four individual height settings. The roof and windowline roll off into an almost coupe style rear and full LED tail lights. Exterior colours are available across a range of 17 choices.

Naturally, the interior is sumptuous to a fault. A 3194mm or 126 inch wheelbase offer “adequate” legroom front and rear. Standard seats are of a new “twin flute” design however the Mulliner spec offers a world first 3D diamond quilt leather style. Trim options allow for 15 choices of leather colour. Veneer wood options are available in both single and dual layer choices. A high definition 12.3 inch infotainment screen with capacitive touch and proximity sensor provides digital or satellite radio depending on market. Standard audio is a 10 speaker, 650 watt, system. Interior treadplates are embossed with “Handbuilt in Crewe, England”. The exhaust system has a variable volume system. This enables the driver to reduce the volume for those seated in the rear seats.

Of course there are advanced driver assistance systems. This includes a night vision camera system, a head-up display, blind-spot monitoring, low-speed traffic assist and city assist. Bentley also add a top-view 360-degree camera system that’s complimented by cross-traffic warning and a self-parking feature.

Options include red painted callipers for the brakes, interior mood lighting, chrome matrix inserts for the grille and lower air intake, 8 single finish or 7 dual finish veneers, a heated single or dual tone steering wheel, and diamond knurled air vent knobs. A digital TV tuner is also available for the entertainment system and a B&O audio 16 speaker system for extra punch at 1500 watts. Need more? High end audio specialists Naim will supply a 2200kW 19 speaker system with bass transducers for the front seats.

Production is due to commence later this year. Price is not yet confirmed.

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David Conole

Dave Conole is the former long-term circuit commentator for Sydney Motorsport Park, has worked trackside at the Australian F1 Grand Prix in Melbourne and is self-employed as an automotive content producer.

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