Bentley Continental Flying Spur - The Deep Dive

March 10, 2009
0904 02 Z+bentley Design Styling+dirk Van Braeckel
A new Arnage will appear this fall, but work has also begun on the next generation of Bentley's volume family, the Continentals. The redesign will see them lose weight, add a diesel, and share more Audi A8 components under the skin.
Design Styling is once again directed by Dirk van Braeckel. Change is evolutionary, but the coefficient of drag is reduced. Switching from a Volkswagen Phaeton to an Audi A8 front axle allows for a shorter front overhang and results in a longer wheelbase for the coupe; the track is wider as well. The larger footprint yields a roomier rear seat and trunk.
Body/Chassis A mix of aluminum spaceframe (at the front) and conventional steel (at the rear) helps shave some 400 pounds, dropping the curb weight of the coupe to about 4800 pounds. The air suspension and the brakes are borrowed from the A8.
Powertrain The big W-12 engine returns in upgraded form, now paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. Expect 580 hp and 515 lb-ft of torque for the standard cars, 650 hp and 590 lb-ft for the Speed models. Later, a 4.2-liter turbo-diesel V-8 (375 hp, 590 lb-ft) could join the lineup, and a plug-in hybrid is also possible, pending the availability of high-performance lithium-ion batteries.
Scheduled Timing
-Continental GT coupe, early 2011
-Continental Flying Spur sedan, mid-2012
-Continental GTC convertible, late 2013
-Speed models, 2015
Bentley's 2009 prices:
Brooklands coupe$348,085
Arnage R sedan$232,085
Arnage T sedan$254,085
Arnage RL sedan$275,085
Azure convertible$342,085
Continental Flying Spur sedan$180,395
Continental Flying Spur Speed sedan $204,795
Continental GT coupe$185,495
Continental GT Speed coupe$209,895
Continental GTC convertible$203,795
0904 03 Z+2010 Bentley Arnage Final Series+front Three Quarter View
Arnage Final Series
The last 150 Arnage sedans are badged Final Series. This 2010 model, arriving this summer, features the 500-hp V-8 and sport suspension from the Arnage T, plus special fender vents, badges, quilted leather upholstery, seatback tray tables, and a cocktail cabinet complete with a flask, two shot glasses, and a funnel - everything you need to toast the big Bentley's ten-year run.
0904 06 Z+bentley Chairman+franz Josef Paefgen
Franz-Josef Paefgen
-Chairman and Chief Executive, Bentley Motors
Our most loyal customers want their Arnage to combine an utterly effortless drivetrain with an unparalleled level of comfort, style, and specification. Having said that, there is no doubt that the new Arnage will be more environmentally friendly.
I would rather derive, the next Continental coupe from a future Audi A5 than let the company go under. In that case, a twin-turbo V-6 might be an appropriate engine.
Such a scenario is possible. But we are not there yet, and I would rather never have to cross that bridge.
How he got here:
In 1976, Paefgen joined Ford Germany as a graduate trainee. After brief stints in engine development and quality control, he left for Audi in 1980. In 1987, he moved to Audi headquarters. Four years later, Paefgen was appointed senior product planner before being named temporary chief of the engineering department. In 1997, he became deputy chairman of Audi. Between 1998 and 2002, he ran the show at Germany's fastest-growing premium brand. Later that year, he was due to climb up one more rung and oversee R&D for the entire Volkswagen Group. But the day before the announcement was due, VW Group chairman Ferdinand Piëch threw a wrench in the works by demoting Paefgen, nixing the proposed corporate position, and installing Martin Winterkorn as the new number-one guy in Ingolstadt. Why? Because Paefgen had repeatedly stepped on Piëch's toes. He pushed through the A2 and the A6 Allroad against the chairman's will, he was integral to the development of the Audi R8, which duly threatened the Porsche 911, and he opposed the Q7, which helped pay for the Porsche Cayenne. But instead of calling it quits, Paefgen accepted the offer to run Bentley and, later, also Bugatti. At Bentley's HQ in Crewe, England, he's just far enough removed from the ruthless Piëch.


View Article

Photo Gallery