Long known for costly British-built motorcars, Bentley turned to a lower-priced model in 2004: the Continental GT coupe. For the 2006 model year, a companion sedan enters the picture.
First seen at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland, the Continental Flying Spur is the fastest four-door Bentley ever. Inspired by the company's Continental Flying Spur sedan of 1957, the new sedan is called a "grand tourer born of a coupe." Essentially, you get everything offered in the Continental GT, including a 552-horsepower turbocharged W-12, along with enhanced luxury and space.
The Continental Flying Spur was developed to "match world-beating technologies with renowned craftsmanship," said Bentley chairman Dr. Franz-Josef Paefgen. "It is a performance car but not at the cost of comfort ... a sumptuous and spacious four-door grand tourer with the heart and soul of a high-performance coupe."
Like the Continental GT coupe, the Continental Flying Spur has all-wheel drive. Bentley claims acceleration from a standstill to 60 mph occurs in 4.9 seconds. The Continental Flying Spur's global launch began in April 2005.
The Continental Flying Spur's design is understated in the Bentley tradition. The company refers to the sedan as "evocative, timeless and unostentatious."
Flowing body lines on the Continental Flying Spur include rounded C-pillars � called the "hockey stick" curve � like those found on many early Bentleys. A mesh-pattern grille is installed up front between recessed round headlights. At the rear, a humped trunk lid sits above integrated oval exhaust pipes. Chrome detailing is similar to that of the company's Arnage sedan. The additional body length emphasizes the car's waistline.
Bentley says the Continental Flying Spur is more aerodynamic than the Continental GT coupe; it has a slightly better coefficient of drag. One-piece 19-inch alloy wheels are used, and the automaker claims the car's front disc brakes are the largest on a production passenger car. An adjustable air suspension is installed.
Leather surfaces and wood veneers provide a sumptuous feel to the inside of the Continental Flying Spur, which can be equipped with either a four- or five-occupant interior. Leather hides come from Northern Europe, and each car uses about 11 of them. Rear occupants can expect abundant legroom. Naturally, the Continental Flying Spur is amply equipped. According to Bentley, "customers only have to choose options in order to personalize their car, rather than complete it."
Under the Hood
Breathing with the assistance of twin turbochargers, the Continental Flying Spur's 6.0-liter W-12 cranks out 552 hp and 479 pounds-feet of torque at a low 1,600 rpm. The six-speed-automatic transmission features a Tiptronic manual-shift provision that's operated by the gearshift lever or paddles behind the steering wheel. All-wheel drive is standard.
Eight airbags, including full-length side curtain-type airbags and side-impact airbags for both front and rear outboard occupants, are installed. An electronic stability system is standard.