A little bit of carbon fiber goes a long way.
The current-generation Bentley Flying Spur isn’t old by any means. It debuted last year as a four-door dynamo of exquisite luxury and blistering performance, but Bentley is now keen to inject some sporty flavor into the mix. The result is the car you see here, which wears the decidedly un-sporty name of Styling Specification.
That’s Bentley-speak for a factory developed body kit. It’s available to order on new Flying Spurs, and it starts with a tweaked front fascia that gains a carbon fiber lip spoiler. Moving to the sides, subtle side skirts – also made of carbon fiber – bridge the gap between the wheel wells. At the rear, you’ll find a very modest diffuser down low with an equally modest decklid spoiler up top, once again of the carbon-fiber variety.
Gallery: 2020 Bentley Flying Spur Styling Specification
Being this is a Bentley, there’s a bit more pomp and circumstance behind the upgrade. All the carbon fiber components utilize a 2 x 2 twill pattern. That ensures the visible pattern always matches, and its given a high-gloss finish. The side skirts also incorporate a Bentley badge, but this particular badge was specifically designed for these skirts so as to minimize the possibility of air bubbles forming during the lacquer overcoat process. Furthermore, Bentley says extensive testing was done to ensure the small components not only exude quality, but don't interfere with the Flying Spur’s aerodynamics or technological systems in any way.
That’s good, because the Flying Spur is currently the fastest four-door sedan in the world. It can reach 207 mph, though Bentley doesn’t mention if that speed is still attainable with these components. Bentley does say buyers can order this Styling Specification for new cars and have it installed immediately, or it can be added at a later date. Pricing isn’t mentioned, but if you can afford a Flying Spur, you can afford a few carbon fiber factory add-ons.
SPORTING AESTHETICS TO MATCH UNRIVALLED PERFORMANCE - THE NEW STYLING SPECIFICATION FOR THE BENTLEY FLYING SPUR
-New Styling Specification for Flying Spur, crafted in carbon fibre
-Sporting body kit emphasises the performance credentials of the Flying Spur
-Aesthetics further complement the advanced four wheel drive and four wheel steer chassis technology
-Spur-specific front splitter, side sills, rear diffuser and boot lid spoiler all crafted in high-gloss 2x2 twill carbon fibre
-Carbon fibre components manufactured by hand and mirror-matched
-3D electroformed Bentley badges developed specially for side sills
(Crewe, 26 August 2020) Bentley is introducing a new Styling Specification for the Flying Spur, allowing customers to emphasise the sporting credentials of the world’s fastest production sedan and give the car an even more sporting aesthetic to match its unrivalled performance.
The Flying Spur sets the luxury benchmark in agility and dynamism using the latest chassis technology including active all-wheel drive, all-wheel steering, torque vectoring and 48V electric anti-roll bar system - first introduced by Bentley. The aesthetics of the new Styling Specification complement the Flying Spur’s peerless capabilities, ensuring that Bentley’s new flagship looks as stunning as it is to drive.
Crafted by hand in high gloss carbon fibre to exact tolerances following an extensive development programme, the Styling Specification includes a front bumper splitter, side skirts with metallic Bentley badges, rear diffuser and boot lid spoiler.
Enhanced sporting appeal
Like the veneer that adorns the cabin space, the carbon fibre exterior components are mirror-matched across the centreline of the car for precise visual appeal. The carbon fibre weave is a 2x2 twill pattern, woven in the same direction for all components to ensure consistency. The carbon fibre is laid-up in multiple layers, each oriented for optimum strength and durability whilst maintaining minimal weight.
The side skirts include an exquisite detail with the inclusion of a three-dimensional electroformed Bentley badge. The profile of the badge was developed specially for the Styling Specification, to minimise the risk of air bubbles forming in the lacquer overcoat while still providing the eye-catching faceted appearance.
The Styling Specification is specifically designed to complement the aerodynamic performance of the Flying Spur. The first designs are assessed and refined using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software for aerodynamic performance including front and rear lift and overall drag. Simulations are also made of the effect on powertrain cooling, brake cooling and noise, vibration and harshness (NVH). Electrical testing seeks to minimise any affect that the carbon fibre parts may have on vehicle systems from PDC (park distance control) to radar systems and antennae for on-board communications and entertainment.
Only once these virtual assessments are complete are the first physical prototypes manufactured, before being refined in the wind tunnel and on the test track. The parts are also assessed across all driving conditions up to and including top speed, for stability, feel and performance under both acceleration and braking to ensure that the Bentley driving dynamic is maintained.
Once functionality is signed-off, the parts are assessed through a variety of validation tests. These include durability programmes – including overall vehicle tests of 100,000 km - to abuse testing such as wading, kerb strikes, and rough roads. Rig testing in Bentley’s Quality lab assesses performance through the rigours of vibration, thermal cycling, point loading and impacts.
Once all test and development work is completed, the manufacturing process is refined over a number of development cycles to give consistent, repeatable manufacturing tolerances meeting the exacting requirements expected of a Bentley. 3D scanning and comparison to a nominal metrology buck assess manufacturing accuracy.
The Styling Specification is available to order through Bentley’s network of retailers, and can be specified when a new car is ordered or retrofitted at a later date to enhance a customer’s existing car.
Performance Orientated Driving Dynamics
When the new Bentley Flying Spur was introduced in 2019 it set a new benchmark in performance, agility and dynamism. A key element when designing the new Flying Spur was moving the front axle position forwards to improve weight distribution, enabling improved dynamic precision, handling and balance when coupled with active all-wheel drive, all-wheel steering and Bentley Dynamic Ride.
Depending on the road conditions, the powertrain can vary up to 480 Nm of torque from the rear of the car to the front axle offering greater grip and driveability, through the active all-wheel drive system. The front end now feels much lighter and turn-in response is also dramatically improved. The understeer effect experienced with fixed all-wheel drive is virtually eliminated, making the car feel more balanced overall.
Torque distribution varies according to the selected Drive Dynamics Mode. In Sport, the system limits the available torque to the front axle to 280 Nm, maintaining a higher torque level at the rear for a more dynamic feel. Torque is also managed across each axle by a torque-vectoring-by-brake system.
Electronic all-wheel steering enhances both stability at highway speeds and manoeuvrability around town. During low-speed manoeuvres, the system steers the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the front wheels. This has the effect of shortening the wheelbase, reducing the turning circle nearly to that of the Continental GT, increasing agility and making parking noticeably easier.
During high-speed manoeuvres, the system steers the rear wheels in the same direction as the front wheels, increasing stability and making overtaking and lane-changes more assured. Electronic all-wheel steering means no compromise between high speed confidence and low speed convenience.
The Flying Spur uses three-chamber air springs which contain 60 per cent more air volume compared to the previous model. This allows more scope to vary from sporting levels of spring stiffness to luxury limousine refinement depending upon which mode the driver has selected. The new car features CDC (Continuous Damping Control), which allows continuous regulation of the dampers.
Four ride height sensors constantly measure the distance between the axle and the body. If the system detects a difference compared with the normal height, the air volume in the springs is corrected accordingly to restore the normal height.
The Bentley Dynamic Ride System is designed to improve both handling and ride comfort. A 48-volt system controls an electronic actuator unit which manages the stiffness of the anti-roll bar, changing the stiffness on demand to combat cornering forces and keep the Flying Spur level.