2005 Flying spur
The Continental GT, launched in 2003 as the first all-new model of the Volkswagen AG era, pressed the reset button for Bentley and brought the brand to a new global audience. The Continental Flying Spur, which followed closely in 2005, was the next step, offering customers similar levels of performance from its 6.0-litre W12 engine and all-wheel drive but within a spacious, four-door body rather than two-door coupé. It was an immediate success, with 4,500 delivered in the first full year of production.
Though Bentley had taken the decision to launch the Continental GT coupé first as the halo model for the new range, the Continental Flying Spur was designed concurrently by the same team, led by Head of Exterior Design Raul Pires under Design Director Dirk van Braeckel. From the front of the new four-door the Continental family resemblance is clear, with a short front overhang, dominant bonnet and distinctive Bentley matrix grille. However, the profile shows a sleek and uninterrupted waistline from front fender through to rear wheel arch, instead of the pronounced rear ‘haunch’ of the GT. To make space for a spacious rear compartment the wheelbase of the new four-door was 320 mm longer, giving an overall length of 5290 mm. The name revived that of a classic Bentley design, the Mulliner-built 1958 four-door S1 Continental Flying Spur.
W12 power and all-wheel drive
Like the Continental GT coupé, the Continental Flying Spur featured a 6.0-litre twin-turbo 48-valve W12 engine developing 550 bhp and 650 Nm and powering all four wheels via a ZF six-speed automatic transmission. Careful attention to aerodynamics and the longer four-door body gave the new Continental Flying Spur an even better drag coefficient than its coupé stablemate – 0.31Cd compared with 0.32Cd – and the new four-door was unofficially found to exceed 200 mph in testing, though the company claimed a conservative 195 mph.
The Bentley Heritage Collection Continental Flying Spur
Chassis VIN 20001 was the first production Continental Flying Spur off the Crewe production lines, a right-hand drive model in Cypress Green. Saddle is the main hide colour for the interior with Cognac as a secondary hide, and the veneer is Burr Ealnut. It features the optional Mulliner full-length centre console creating two individual rear seats. It was built in May 2005 and has been in company ownership from day one.
|Date Produced||2005-2013; this model 2005|
|Body||Four-door, four-seat saloon, 2,440 kg|
|Engine||W12 twin-turbocharged, 5,998 cc|
|Power||550 bhp @ 6,000 rpm, 650 Nm @ 1,500 rpm|
|Transmission||Permanent four-wheel drive with Torsen central differential, ESP and ZF six-speed automatic transmission|
|Chassis||Steel monocoque, stainless steel front subframe. Independent front suspension by double wishbones, independent rear supsension; air springs with adjustable electronic dampers|
|Dimensions||Wheelbase 3,065 mm; track front 1,623 mm; track rear 1,607 mm; length 5,290 mm|
|Performance||Maximum speed 195 mph (312 km/h); 0-100 km/h (62 mph) 5.2 sec|