One of the most prominent Geneva debuts, the 2014 Bentley Flying Spur is an all-new recasting of the automaker's junior sedan that takes this hand-crafted luxury liner to an entirely new level of style, accommodation and performance. The comprehensive transformation -- which ensures this Gen II Flying Spur ceases to be a stretched version of the 2-door Continental -- endows the car with far more contemporary character while making it the highest-powered and fastest 4-door model Bentley has ever produced.

Embracing styling cues from the automaker's flagship Mulsanne model as well as the Continental GT/GTC Coupe/Convertible kin, the 2014 Flying Spur's crisply tailored bodywork smartly integrates edge and contour in a manner that gives it a far more dynamic presence than the car it replaces while netting an exceptional 0.29 coefficient of drag. The Flying Spur's new lower, wider look is further emphasized by the horizontal character of its now-more upright grille and further complemented by redesigned front/rear lighting elements. Beneath the skin, the 2014 Bentley Flying Spur features a new unit body structure that's both stronger and more rigid. Advanced design techniques coupled with other weight-saving efforts - including an aluminum hood and front fenders -- have helped trim about 100 pounds from the car's curb weight.

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The newest Bentley gets its formidable motivation from the automaker's well-proven twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter W12, here tuned to crank out 616 horsepower and 580 lb-ft of torque, the latter from just 2,000 rpm. Backed by an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission, it sends power to all four wheels with sufficient intensity to send the 5,451-lb Flying Spur from 0-60 mph in just 4.3 seconds and carry it on to a top speed of 200 mph.

To put that potential to best use, the well-sorted underpinnings include a 4-stage air suspension that also automatically lowers the ride height by nearly an inch as speeds progress deeper and deeper into triple-digit range, variable-assist power steering, a driver-adjustable Electronic Stability Control and massive ABS disc brakes that can be upgraded to optional Carbon Silicon Carbide units. While the standard tire fitment nets Z-rated 245/40 performance tires on new Flying Spur-specific 19-inch alloy wheels, buyers will be able to opt for both 20-inch and 21-inch alternatives.

Richly-appointed in wood and fine leather, the extensively equipped and now even-better-isolated cabin of the 2014 Flying Spur shares a good deal of basic design with other Bentleys, although 600 new components set this latest iteration apart from the Gen I variant. Available in 4-passenger and 5-passenger form, the new Flying Spur features even more comfortable front and rear seats plus better covered and open storage spaces. Primary control of the standard 8-speaker audio package or optional 1100-watt Naim upgrade as well as the satellite navigation systems gets handled by an 8.0-inch touch screen with voice-activation capabilities.

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Those sitting it the aft quarters have equally impressive access to the on-board system via a new Touch Screen Remote (TSR) system. Deployed from the rear console at the touch of a button, it allows individual adjustment of the climate control, seat heating/cooling and various other functions. For the most demanding, the Flying Spur also is offered with a new Multi-Media Specification upgrade. Based around the Bentley Connectivity Unit (BCU), it allows a full range of portable devices to be connected to the internet through the car's own Wi-Fi hotspot. The system includes an individually controllable 10-inch LCD screen in the back of each front seat plus a top-loading multimedia player in a pocket below that permits each user to load content from DVDs, SD cards, USB/HDMI devices and iPods/iPads.

Due to go on sale this summer in Europe, there's still no word on when the 2014 Bentley Flying Spur will roll into showrooms here. Final pricing for the U.S. model will be released closer to its arrival date.


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