Though the Geneva Motor Show is still weeks away, Bentley got a head start on the world debuts expected in Switzerland by unveiling its all-new Flying Spur sedan Tuesday.
Whereas the previous Flying Spur was based largely on the Continental GT coupe, this 2014 model has power figures nearly identical to the more powerful Continental GT Speed.
This means the Flying Spur will have a 6.0-liter, twin-turbocharged W-12 engine that makes 616 horsepower and 580 pound-feet of torque. It will be paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters, which will direct power to all four wheels.
Under normal driving conditions, the Flying Spur will move 60 percent of its power to the rear wheels, though this system can vary that from 35 percent to 85 percent, depending on the road conditions.
Bentley says this sedan will do zero to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and has a top speed of 200 mph, despite weighing about as much as a Chevy Tahoe SUV or a hot tub full of Dom Perignon. And that's after shaving 110 pounds from the earlier Flying Spur.
This lower weight and the switch from a six-speed transmission to an eight-speed means the car's combined fuel economy jumps by 2.2 mpg, to 19.2. An adjustable air suspension automatically lowers at 121 mph and again at 149 mph to help reduce the car's drag.
The new Flying Spur wraps all this in a shell that deviates from the coupe much more than its earlier version.
Though it shares the coupe's pairs of LED headlights, the front end is more blunt than its two-door cousin, with more of a stately and conservative nose.
The rear of the Flying Spur features square taillights that bear a closer resemblance to those on Bentley's EXP 9 F concept SUV than anything else the automaker actually sells.
Inside, the new car will be available in either four or five-seat configurations. All passengers have a mobile Wi-Fi hot spot and heated and cooled seats. Meanwhile, those in the rear can use a touchscreen remote to control the multimedia systems, climate control and seat functions.
The dedicated back seat traveler can add options like a bottle cooler behind the armrest, or a 10-inch LCD screen on the back of the front seats with wireless headphones.
The Bentley Flying Spur and a refreshed version of the larger Mulsanne sedan -- with down stuffed cushions -- will make their official debut at the Geneva Motor Show on March 5. The cars will join other high-dollar global reveals including Ferrari's next supercar, the McLaren P1, and the Rolls Royce Wraith coupe. Stay tuned to Highway 1 for complete coverage.
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