Bentley Continental Flying Spur
(2005 - to date)
A major argument for the name Bentley Continental Flying Spur to be chosen for the new four door model introduced in January 2005 obviously was to link that to a glorious past. When the original Bentley Continental had been launched in the early 50ies that model’s extraordinary coachwork by H.J. Mulliner had made a real impact. The fastback saloon was impressively elegant. Its lightweight construction was a decisive factor to achieve outstanding acceleration and top speed. Hence it was no wonder that Bentley did command coachbuilders to restrict themselves to two door coachwork only for the Continental variant. The rule remained unaltered after the Bentley S1 Continental had substituted the predecessor – and then H.J. Mulliner was the company who didn’t comply with that.
H.T. Johnstone, managing director of H.J. Mulliner, decided to fulfil the desire from customers who had expressed to prefer a four door version. Of course H.J. Mulliner did obey the strict weight limit set by the manufacturer. H.J. Mulliner’s 4-door creation was a formidably elegant and light one and Bentley granted permission to build the Mulliner „Flying Spur“ by Bentley. The designation „Flying Spur“ could be rooted to the crest of the Johnstone clan of Scotland; the clan’s heraldic device showed a “Flying Spur”.
With the introduction of the new Bentley Continental Flying Spur the name was revived. Parallel to what had been decisive in the 50ies yet again outstanding acceleration and top speed remained undiminished. Indeed figures were almost identical to those of the Continental GT Coupé. Combined though with more comfortable access to the rear compartment and, of course, generous space to accommodate rear seat passengers.
The Continental Flying Spur is a big car with big character, though not perhaps a “Four Door Sports Saloon” in the same league as the Bentley Arnage and the earlier Bentley Turbo R. It reflected the Bentley management – rather than to keep the Bentley sports saloon image alive - was more inclined to produce a sister model of the Bentley Continental GT, from which it was developed. Although the Bentley Arnage was said to remain in production, most presumably the balance of demand between the Arnage and the new Flying Spur would begin to shift immediately towards the latter. Predictably sales figures of the Arnage would be axed. The sales figures had given a very clear hint: Since introduction of the Continental GT sales had rocketed to 6,500 cars in 2004; the new Continental GT was responsible for the lion's share of sales. For the first time since the takeover by Volkswagen the books showed a profit at the end of 2004.
W12-cylinder-engine (72 degree angle between two main banks, 15 degree between staggered cylinders), bore x stroke 84 x 90.2 mm, capacity 5998 cc; 4 valves per cylinder, 4 overhead camshafts; digital engine control Bosch Motronic, twin turbochargers, 552bhp/411KW at 6,100rpm, torque 650Nm (479lb ft) at 1600 rpm; 6-speed automatic gearbox; four-wheel drive with central differential, independent suspension front and rear; air springs, electronic traction control, electronic stability program; ventilated disc brakes front and rear, anti-lock device, drag torque control; wheelbase 120.67in (3,065mm), track front 63.90in (1,623mm), rear 63,27in (1,607mm);overall length 208,94in (5,307mm); width (across mirrors) 83.39in (2,118mm); kerb weight 5,456lb (2,475kg;) tyres 275/40R19 on 9Jx19 light alloy wheels (optionable split-rim 19” light alloy wheels or tyres 275/40R20 on 20” split-rim light alloy wheels); max. speed 195mph (312km/h), 0-60mph 4.9 sec (0-100km/h 5.2 sec).