2014 Bentley Continental Flying Spur Spied: The Next Four-Door Conti Masquerading as an S-class
What It Is: A 2014 Bentley Continental Flying Spur—the four-door sibling of the Continental GT coupe and GTC convertible—caught while testing wearing fake Mercedes S-class camouflage. A lot of spy photos come through our email inboxes, but few prove as entertaining as these shots of the next Flying Spur. Not only did Bentley stick on some pseudo-Benz head- and taillights, but it went so far as to affix bulging fender flares similar to those on the current S-class. Looking past this Bentley’s drag, it’s clear that the Flying Spur will inherit the same basic stylistic upgrades that hit the 2011 Continental GT and 2012 GTC.
Why It Matters: Bentley’s entry-level sedan has been on sale in the same form since 2005—that’s quite the product cycle. It’s an especially long lifespan when you consider the stratospheric sandbox in which the Flying Spur competes; rich or poor, people tend to crave the latest and greatest, and that counts double when customers need to shell out nearly $ 200,000. Mix in the competition that appeared since the Spur first went on sale—the Rolls-Royce Ghost (which beat the Flying Spur Speed in a comparison test), the Aston Martin Rapide, and the upcoming Pullman version of the next Mercedes-Benz S-class—and a freshened Flying Spur becomes even more important for Bentley.
Platform: Just as the latest Continental GT and GTC sit on a carry-over platform, so too will this new Flying Spur. That said, the four-door should get entirely new sheetmetal; it may not be obviously different—changes to the other Continentals weren’t terribly easy to spot—but it should subtly bring the sedan in line with its two-door siblings, as well as the larger Mulsanne.
The fake Benz gear strapped to the test mule covers up a few of the same cosmetic tweaks that already hit the GT and GTC, including reshaped headlights (with inboard lamps growing larger in diameter and the outer units shrinking in size), new front and rear fascias, a reshaped hood, and the addition of fender “shoulders” over the rear wheels. There’s also a new trunklid that now incorporates a license-plate mounting area—it previously lived in the Flying Spur’s rear bumper.
Powertrain: The Flying Spur will again offer a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter W-12 engine with output increasing from 552 hp to 567 for the normal sedan; the hi-po Speed model should see its W-12 jump from 600 hp to 616. (Both increases already were applied to the redesigned two-door W-12 Continentals.) It’s likely that Bentley will add the same 500-hp, twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 that’s found in “base” versions of the GT and GTC. It remains to be seen whether Bentley will position this model as a sporty Flying Spur variant or a fuel-economy special; either way, the V-8 does provide a tangible efficiency benefit for the GT, which would translate to the four-door. Regardless of which engine powers it, the 2014 Flying Spur will continue to offer only all-wheel drive.
Competition: Aston Martin Rapide, Rolls-Royce Ghost, Mercedes-Benz S-class AMG.
Estimated Arrival Time and Price: The upgraded Continental Flying Spur should appear sometime next year as a 2014 model. As with nearly every new car out there, don’t expect the Flying Spur’s base price to go anywhere but up.
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