Bentley releases comprehensive details of its latest sporting sedan boasting all-wheel steering, a first for the iconic British brand.
The third-generation Bentley Flying Spur claims to be a completely reworked vehicle from the ground up aimed at providing sporty handling with limousine luxury.
Key to that handling is the all-wheel-steering system coupled with the automaker’s electronic 48V dynamic ride system changing torque delivery and suspension settings.
Bentley has yet to release details of the all-wheel-steering mechanics except to say it’s an electronic system that enhances low-speed maneuverability in urban environments by steering the rear wheels in the opposite direction of the front wheels.
This has the effect of shortening the wheelbase and reducing the turning circle to offset the car’s wheelbase having been extended more than 5 ins. (127 mm).
At high speed, the system steers the rear wheels in the same direction as the front wheels, increasing stability and speed of turn.
All-wheel steering can trace its roots back more than 100 years and has been a standard for large haulage trucks for many decades. In passenger cars it first entered the public consciousness in the 1980s with middle-market products including the Honda Prelude and Mazda 626.
In the early 2000s, General Motors tried Delphi’s Quadrasteer in the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, while by the end of the decade Renault used 4control in its premium Laguna GT model.
Lately, it has been the German brands of Audi and Porsche that have been using the technology seen as a way of enhancing ride and handling. Most recently even exotic Italian supercar brands have adopted the system in the Ferrari F12tdf, Ferrari GT4CLusso and Lamborghini Aventador S Coupé.
The Flying Spur is powered by an enhanced version of Bentley’s 6.0L TSI, twin-turbocharged gasoline W-12 married to a dual-clutch 8-speed transmission. Claimed power is 626 hp and 664 lb.-ft. (900 Nm) of torque delivering a 0-60 mph (100 km/h) sprint time of 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 207 mph (333 km/h).
Impressive figures for a car weighing 5,372 lbs. (2,438 kg) and taking up hefty curb space measuring 208 ins. (5,283 mm) long, 76 ins. (1,930 mm) wide and 56 ins. (1,422 mm) tall.
Its all-wheel drive has been upgraded from previous models featuring a clutched system delivering 2-wheel drive to the rear axle unless conditions demand drive to be sent to the front axle.
Bentley claims best-in-class bodyshell stiffness by employing aluminum superforming, as seen on the Bentley Continental GT, with alloy extrusions and castings alongside high-strength steel. Body styling features LED matrix headlamps with cut-crystal effect detailing, rear wraparound lamps with the flying ‘B’ graphic to echo the diamond knurling of the interior cabin air vents.
A choice of 21-in. wheels is offered as standard, as well as the option of two unique 22-in. Mulliner rims.
Naturally, opulence in the cabin is guaranteed and the Flying Spur’s all-new seats have a twin-flute design plus increased functionality, including heating, ventilation, multi-mode massage, adjustable bolsters and top tilt. With the optional Mulliner Driving Specification, the new 3-dimensional leather combines with traditional stitching and embroidery work.
Technology includes a high-definition digital instrument panel display, a rotating center console with choice of 12.3-in. (31-cm) digital touchscreen, analog dials or digital detoxifying veneer and remote control touchscreen for rear passengers.
A standout gimmick is a retractable flying ‘B’ hood mascot (above, left) that is electronically deployed and illuminated, linked to the welcome lighting sequence and keyless entry system as the driver approaches the car.
Adrian Hallmark, chairman and chief executive of Bentley Motors, says, “As with the launch of the Continental GT, the new Flying Spur is a ground-up development that pushes the boundaries of both technology and craftsmanship to deliver segment-defining levels of performance and refinement.”