Bentley Continental Flying Spur - The Deep Dive

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

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.

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