Bentley Motors has handcrafted the 40,000th example of the world’s most successful luxury sports sedan, the Bentley Flying Spur. Now represented by an all-new third generation, the only thing that remains since the original launch in 2005 is its global popularity. Even the name has changed.
Originally christened the Continental Flying Spur, evolved to Flying Spur to further distinguish the car from the Continental GT, the model has consistently delivered a perfect fusion of performance-orientated agility and exclusive four-door, limousine-style comfort.
With a bold and exciting road presence that is unmistakably Bentley, plus a luxurious cabin offering unrivalled levels of comfort and refinement, the Flying Spur has satisfied both driver and passengers alike in a manner that no other car can. Seamlessly integrating the very best in British craftsmanship with cutting-edge, innovative technology, the third-generation Flying Spur has become the new Bentley flagship and proudly been hailed as “the best new car in world”.
All three generations of Flying Spur have been designed, engineered, developed and manufactured at Bentley’s home in Crewe, where the production milestone is being celebrated by the skilled workforce of designers, engineers and craftspeople. Each one of the 40,000 cars manufactured has spent more than 100 hours on a dedicated production line where a 250-strong team meticulously assemble every Flying Spur by hand. Once finished and subjected to hundreds of quality checks, the car is shipped to its discerning owner in one of the 68 different countries Bentley operates.
With 40,000 Flying Spurs manufactured in 15 years, approximately 50 per cent have been commissioned by customers in Bentley’s two biggest markets, split evenly between the China and Americas regions. In Bentley’s home market, the UK, the unwavering desirability of the benchmark luxury grand touring sedan has seen approximately 10 per cent Flying not too far from the nest. While proving the model’s truly international appeal, the remaining 40 per cent of cars are being enjoyed by customers in Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific.
Flying Spur – The History of the Benchmark Luxury Grand Tourer
The illustrious history of the Bentley Flying Spur dates back to 1952, when Chief Designer, J.P. Blatchley, and engineer, Ivan Evernden, collaborated on an unofficial project to restore Bentley to the pinnacle of Grand Touring. Their design was based around the marque’s 180 bhp 4.9-litre straight six engine that would be replaced in 1959 with a 6320cc V8.
Their R-Type Continental coupe was met with widespread acclaim, thanks to sleek bodywork designed by H.J. Mulliner and the ability to cruise all day at 100mph. It was followed by the S1 coupe, which shared many of the R-Type’s components, and it was clear that an S1 sedan should follow. Bentley offered a standard four-door sedan body for the S1, of which nearly 3,000 were built. An uprated Continental version, using lighter coachbuilt bodies, followed six months after the launch of the S1.
H.J. Mulliner backed a hunch that there would be a small but discerning market for a coachbuilt four-door S1 Continental as an alternative to the factory four-door offering. Their design was balanced and elegant, with ample space for four. The new four-door was named by Arthur Talbot Johnstone, H.J. Mulliner’s Managing Director, after the heraldic device of his family, the Clan Johnstone of the Scottish Borders. The first example even featured the Clan Johnston’s spur mascot on its radiator grille. HJ Mulliner created 217 examples of their S1 Continental Flying Spur, one of which is a permanent and active member of Bentley’s Heritage Collection.
The arrival of Bentley’s more powerful all-aluminium V8 engine in 1959 also marked the launch of the S2, replacing the S1. At the same time, HJ Mulliner was bought by Bentley Motors to become the in-house bespoking division. Available from the factory with a standard four-door sedan body as the fastest four-door car in the world at the time, the S2 Continental also had the option of a coachbuilt HJ Mulliner Flying Spur body, or indeed a two-door coupe or drophead version. Of the 2,308 S2s built, 128 were completed as Continental Flying Spurs, each one representing a new era of luxurious, high performance motoring which transformed the British-built car into the ultimate Grand Tourer.The S3 version followed btween 1962 and 1965, again available as a Mulliner-bodied S3 Continental Flying Spur for the ultimate in four-door luxury performance.
Bentley revived the Continental Flying Spur name in 2005, as a four-door version of the Continental GT coupe in the true spirit of the name. The new model was available with a W12 engine and all-wheel drive and could reach a top speed of 194mph (312km/h) – combining luxury and performance in ways never seen before.
In 2013, the second generation Flying Spur was launched, as a distinct separate model line and so dropping the Continental moniker. During the subsequent six years, the car was transformed by a programme of constant development and refinement including the addition of a 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 powertrain.
The third iteration of the Flying Spur is writing a completely new chapter in the history of Bentley four-door Grand Touring. Not content with simply building on the two-door Continental GT, Bentley has redesigned the all-new Flying Spur from the ground up so that it stands alone as the ultimate embodiment of luxury, refinement and performance.
Bentley’s unique application of cutting-edge & modern technology, seamlessly integrating the latest British craftsmanship with innovative features, pushes the existing boundaries of refinement and attention to detail to create the finest super-luxury sports sedan ever built.