Looks can be deceiving.
At a first glance, you might be tempted to say this is some sort of a new Porsche Panamera derivative based on the Turbo model judging by the exhaust tips and in the Executive guise because of the longer wheelbase. However, that’s not the case. What we have here is actually the next-generation Bentley Flying Spur, which had opaque plastics on the very long rear doors’ windows to block the view inside the cabin’s rear compartment.
If you’re wondering why “B. Wallbank” is written on one of the spokes of the black alloy wheels, a quick search on LinkedIn reveals Bradley Wallbank is a Vehicle Dynamics Engineer for the next-gen Continental GT’s electronic stability control systems. Since the Flying Spur is basically a sedan version of the Continental GT, it might explain why his name was written on the wheels.
The reason why the folks from Crewe are testing their new posh sedan using a modified body of the Panamera is because the all-new Flying Spur will use the same MSB platform as the latest Panamera. It’s the second time the new Bentley is being spotted doing its best Panamera impression, but now the changes are more substantial. Not only does it have a reshaped front fascia, but it also has beefier wheel arches, suggesting the tracks have been widened.
Most of the engine lineup will be adapted from the Panamera and is going to be topped by a biturbo 6.0-liter W12 already available in the Bentayga where it churns 600 horsepower (447 kilowatts) and 664 pound-feet (900 Newton-meters) of torque. It will be interesting to see whether the SUV’s 4.0-liter V8 TDI shared with the Audi SQ7 and rated at 429 hp (320 kW) and 664 lb-ft (900 Nm) is going to be offered as well.
The switch to new underpinnings will bring a significant weight loss for the Flying Spur, which is exactly what the doctor ordered considering the current W12 S tips the scales at a hefty 2,475 kilograms (5,456 pounds).
Since this is an early test mule with a Panamera body, don’t expect the next-gen Flying Spur to come out in the near future. We’ll likely see it go official in the latter part of 2018 before going on sale as a 2019MY. Meanwhile, the overhauled Continental will probably debut as a coupe before the year’s end, ahead of the droptop GTC’s launch at some point next year. Hopefully, the EXP 10 Speed 6 concept’s lovely design will rub off on these three cars.