It's still quite continental, but the 2014 Bentley Flying Spur is missing that tag from its name. To find out why, we stopped by the Bentley stand at the 2013 New York Auto Show, and talked to Paul Jones, who knows precisely why--since he's the one in charge of the new ultra-luxury sedan.
The redesign of the Flying Spur comes eight years after the first edition made its debut. And this time, Jones tells us, it's important to carve out a distinct identity for the sedan--instead of just allowing it to serve as a four-door cousin of the Continental range.
That said, the Flying Spur's look is still more an evolution of the first edition's design themes. There are some side-by-side differences that help delineate a new identity: the Spur's roofline and C-pillar are fresh, and the beltline is firmer. And now, the larger oval headlamp sits outboard--on coupes, it's at the inboard position.
Regardless of its shape, the Flying Spur's been whipped into better shape. In launch trim, it's offered with Bentley's twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter W-12 engine, rated at 616 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque, all of it sent to all four wheels via all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Bentley sets 0-60 mph times at just 4.3 seconds, and puts top speed at 200 mph. The Spur still weighs nearly 5,500 pounds, though as we've seen in the Continental GT coupes and convertibles, changes to the steering and transmission should liven the driving feel by a good measure.
The Flying Spur's cabin is suitably decked out with luxury features--17 colors and trims, contrasting stitching, four power-adjustable outboard seats with heating and ventilation. An available entertainment system plants 10-inch screens within reach of back-seat passengers, who also get internet access and control over the infotainment features displayed on the dash, via remote control.
We'll be driving the Spur very soon. In the meantime, have a seat for a quick preview, and come back for our first drive after May 12.__________________________________