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Flying Spur is Bentley's newest luxury sedan (pictures)

Bentley adds a sedan to its small stable with the all-new Flying Spur, filling an important niche in the automaker's lineup.

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Wayne_Cunningham.jpg

Wayne Cunningham

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1 of 20 Josh Miller/CNET
For a few lean years, Bentley's only car was the Continental, a coupe that the company offered in a number of variants. But recently the company has been expanding its lineup, adding the big Mulsanne sedan. Now comes the Flying Spur sedan, slotting in below the Mulsanne and replacing the Continental Flying Spur coupe.
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Bentley has made its reputation building a high-luxury cars with a strong performance edge. The company is known for the Blower Bentley, the car made famous in Ian Fleming's James Bond novels. For most of the last century, Bentley was owned by Rolls-Royce, where it acquired its luxury tone. Since 1998, the Flying B has been the property of the Volkswagen Group.
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3 of 20 Josh Miller/CNET
At over 17 feet long, the Flying Spur definitely qualifies as a full-size sedan. Most of the body is steel, but Bentley uses aluminum for the hood and front fenders to reduce weight. Even then, the Flying Spur comes in at 5,451 pounds.
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The grille and headlight design mimics that of the Continental. In Bentley fashion, the round headlight openings lack ornamentation. Similarly, the chrome wire grille has a body color surround.
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Wide sail planes at the C-pillars give the rear of the Flying Spur a presence not very apparent from the front of the car. The roofline maintains height until it flows over the C-pillars down to the trunk, lending to a roomy rear seating area.
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Underneath the Flying Spur, you will find most of the standard Bentley performance technology. An adjustable air suspension adds stability when cornering, and an all-wheel-drive system helps maintain traction.
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The performance specs for the Flying Spur are impressive, considering its weight. It hits 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds and has a top speed of 200 mph, according to Bentley.
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It achieves its impressive performance with this 6-liter W-12 engine, which relies on twin turbochargers to make 616 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque.
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The trunk offers 15.6 cubic feet of space, large enough for a few steamer trunks. Showing off its British heritage, it has a button labeled "Boot Close."
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The cabin of the Flying Spur shows off Bentley's luxury coachwork. High-quality leather covers cabin surfaces, and wood trim circles the passenger space.
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The windowsill along the side features a wide ledge.
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The Flying Spur features an 8-inch touch-screen, which will show Google Earth imagery for navigation, similar to that used by Audi. An 1,100-watt Naim audio system will be available as an option.
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Bentley uses its unique font for speedometer and tachometer gauge faces. This model shows kph on the speedometer's main ring.
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An eight-speed automatic transmission runs power to the all-wheel-drive system. The large Bentley shifter looks like it should have a flip-up top with a red button underneath for missile launchers or an ejector seat.
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The suspension features four settings between Sport and Comfort, although this touch-screen control interface is not very convenient to use, especially while driving.
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The maps available in the preproduction model delivered to CNET are Volkswagen standard, and hopefully will be upgraded for the production car.
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Double-paned windows help insulate the cabin from outside noise and have exceptionally clear glass.
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Power-adjustable rear seats have plenty of legroom, making the Flying Spur appropriate as a chauffeur-driven vehicle.
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This model includes a removable controller in the back of the console, which lets rear-seat passengers adjust climate control and other settings.
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A rear-seat entertainment system is available, with 10-inch screens mounted to the headrests.

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