With typical Bentley understatement the styling of the new Continental Flying Spur is both evolutionary and subtly effective. At the front, the new bright chrome radiator grille, now more vertical, has a more pronounced square edge, accentuating the distinctive Bentley profile.
Beneath the grille, the new lower bumper features a wider, bolder central air intake. The black matrix grille also provides a 14 percent increase in airflow for the more powerful Speed version and the charge cooler intakes are positioned on the corners.
The lower grilles may also be specified in bright chrome to complement that of the main radiator. Chromed bezels around the headlamps complement the new frontal design.
At the rear, the new bumper with black lower valance and wraparound chrome trims make for a more slender appearance that is complemented by new chromed tail lamp bezels. Director of Design, Dirk van Braeckel explains the styling evolution:
“The Flying Spur is instantly recognisable on the road and we were keen to retain its individuality. The subtle styling changes have given the car a fresh look at the front and sleeker, more balanced appearance at the rear.”Enhanced cabin refinement
Since its launch in 2005, the Continental Flying Spur model has achieved a well-deserved reputation for outstanding cabin refinement. For the new model range, the Bentley engineering team were tasked to build on this success and create a unique cabin ambience with best in class refinement and comfort.
Key to that improvement is a comprehensive package of enhancements to the Flying Spur’s already impressive acoustic suppression technology. The complex double-glazed windows, a standard feature since launch, now feature a sophisticated acoustic laminate inner layer for all side and rear windows. In addition, new tri-laminate acoustic underbody trays and wheel arch liners absorb road noise.
A redesigned exhaust system provides greater refinement while maintaining the sporty, baritone character of the exhaust note. Overall, these changes deliver a substantial improvement in cabin refinement.
Bentley’s Head of Body and Trim Engineering, Peter Guest, explains the effect of this acoustic management:
“We are immensely proud that the cabin refinement of the new Flying Spur is best-in-class. While achieving superb levels of noise insulation, the sporting character and sense of connection with the road is undiminished.”Enhanced driving dynamics and ride comfort
At the heart of the Continental Flying Spur is Bentley’s 6-litre, twin turbocharged W12 engine, the most compact 12-cylinder engine in production. The 48-valve head employs four camshafts and continually variable valve timing. Power is transmitted via an uprated ZF six-speed automatic transmission.
The W12 engine continues to produce 552bhp (560PS/412kW) at 6100 rev/min and a maximum torque of 650Nm (479lb ft) from 1600 rev/min across virtually the entire rev range.
In common with all Continental models, the Flying Spur employs a complex four-link suspension at the front and a trapezoidal multi-link system at the rear.
Much of the suspension is made from lightweight aluminium, benefiting steering feel and rolling comfort. Self-levelling air springs are standard, constantly monitoring and adjusting the ride height and damping according to road conditions.
Outstanding levels of ride quality and comfort were the target for the new Continental Flying Spur and to achieve this, Bentley engineers have recalibrated both spring and damper settings and introduced a new bespoke 19-inch Pirelli P-Zero UHP tyre.
Using the same technology as the 20-inch performance tyre introduced on the 2008 Continental GT Speed, the 19-inch version is specially developed to optimise ride comfort and noise suppression, while providing outstanding grip and agility.
The hydraulics of the speed-sensitive Servotronic rack and pinion steering system have been retuned to reduce friction and improve steering feel and driver feedback.
The uprated advanced electronic stability control (ESP) 8.1 system has a new ‘Sport Traction’ mode that moderates ESP intervention at low speeds whilst providing a greater degree of driver interaction and control, offering superb traction without being intrusive.
Both Flying Spur models can now be specified with Bentley Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC).
As with conventional cruise control, ACC will maintain, within close limits, a ‘set speed’ as selected by the driver. In addition, ACC uses a long-range radar sensor, mounted in the lower front grille, to monitor the road ahead for other vehicles. When a slower moving vehicle is detected, the system automatically adjusts braking and acceleration to maintain a ‘time gap’, as selected by the driver.
The ‘time gap’ also controls the vehicle dynamic response. The larger the time gap the more relaxed the acceleration and braking, allowing the driver to tune the ACC system to suit their own driving style and traffic conditions.
All Flying Spur models are equipped with the largest brakes of any production passenger car on sale today, with 405mm x 36mm ventilated front discs and 335mm x 22mm rears.
Bentley’s carbon/silicon carbide brakes (CCB) are offered for the first time as an option on Continental Flying Spur. With even larger 20mm x 40mm cross-drilled front discs and 356mm x 28mm rears, with eight-piston callipers, they may only be specified with 20-inch alloy wheels.
The lightweight, fade-resistant braking system minimises disc distortion under high thermal conditions. Under normal driving conditions the brake discs will last the lifetime of the car and brake pad life is doubled compared with the standard system. A 20kg reduction in rotating and unsprung mass also benefits steering response and handling.
Brian Gush, Director, Chassis and Powertrain Engineering, comments:
“True to the Bentley tradition, the Flying Spur delivers effortless power while significant advancements in ride quality and comfort further emphasise its deserved reputation for world-class luxury. The new Speed model exemplifies our passion for creating cars that deliver truly exceptional performance and driving enjoyment.”Enhanced cabin comfort and customer convenience
The 2009 Continental Flying Spur is the first model to feature the new Naim for Bentley audio system to create the world’s best in-car sound stage.
Designed exclusively for Bentley by Naim, the renowned British hi-fi manufacturer, it features an 1100 Watt amplifier – the world’s most powerful production unit fitted in a car – and 15 speakers. The speaker drive units are specifically tailored by Naim to the cabin of each model in the Bentley range to provide a unique and personalised audio experience.
Bentley is also the first car manufacturer to use a next-generation Digital Signal Processor (DSP) in its audio system, enhancing the listening experience still further.
All cars are now fitted as standard with a handset allowing rear passengers to control the main infotainment system.
A new optional iPod, MP3 and USB interface is located in the glovebox, enabling customers to connect personal music to the in-car infotainment system. When an iPod is connected, the tracks are displayed on the infotainment screen.
This perfectly complements the optional rear seat entertainment package that comprises two headrest-mounted 7-inch LCD screens, a 6-DVD multi-changer and two sets of headphones. An enhanced remote control unit now incorporates the rear seat entertainment systems.
A further driver convenience feature is introduced for the park/distance control. The new graphics readout on the console-mounted infotainment screen complements the audible signal.
All new Flying Spur models also benefit from significant developments to the cabin interior. The seating of all new models is extensively redesigned, with a multi-layer seat construction the comfort of which is optimised using different materials.
Employing the latest body profiling databases, the seats are constructed to offer the optimum shape for front and rear seat occupants. In addition, the rear seat cushions are lengthened by 40mm for additional comfort and support.
For the first time on Flying Spur, customers specifying a five-seat configuration may now opt for a rear-seat configuration with fully adjustable outboard positions and a fixed central seat. The outer seats have full lumbar adjustment together with heating and massage functions and a facility to adjust the position of an unoccupied front passenger seat for even greater legroom. Seat ventilation is available as an optional extra.Improved personalisation and bespoke choice
Already renowned for its unrivalled standard of interior craftsmanship, the cabin of the Continental Flying Spur is now even more luxurious, offering unparalleled opportunities for personalisation in this segment of the market. This follows an extensive development programme that marries the latest production technology with the skills of Bentley’s craftsmen and women at its factory in Crewe, England.
Continental Flying Spur customers may now choose from an array of beautifully crafted inlays. These include chrome inlays to door waistrails and a choice of intricate marquetry wood inlays in contemporary and traditional designs, creating a unique and personalised appearance.
The contemporary style inlays comprise crossbanding to the door waistrails while the traditional style inlays feature crossbanding and inlay to fascia, door waistrails and upper centre console. Both are available for Walnut and Chestnut veneers.
To further enhance the interior specification, seat piping is now available as a cost option and can be ordered in a contrast or non-contrast condition from the full colour palette of interior hides.
In addition, a new approach to the interior hide colour combinations provides customers with greater opportunities for personalisation. The door waistrails and lower door panels may now be matched to secondary hide while the centre door pads and armrests remain matched to the main hide colour creating a new two-tone effect.
Additions to the 2009 Flying Spur palette include two new hide colours (Linen and Imperial Blue) as well as three new standard exterior paint colours (Havana, White Sand and Onyx). Four unique duo-tone paint combinations (Havana, Dark Sapphire, Onyx and Midnight Emerald) are available for the first time on the Continental family.
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