“It is a performance car but not at the cost of comfort, and as such represents a unique proposition – a sumptuous and spacious four-door Grand Tourer with the heart and soul of a high-performance coupé.”
That heart has an interesting story. First developed for the VW Phaeton, the 6 Litre W12 engine was taken apart and re-engineered to suit the Bentley image. No paltry 300 or so kilowatts was going to do the trick for the Brits. The solution? Twin-turbos, thank you very much.
The addition of forced induction promptly bumped up the power to a colossal 411kW or 552hp in the old money. Torque was lifted to a staggering 650Nm, but the most interesting part is the amount available at 1600rpm – all of it. The torque curve does not drop off for the entire rev range. Turbo lag? “Excuse me, this is a Bentley. We don’t have to live with such a compromise.” This is evident, too, the moment you put your foot down. No matter which gear, no matter what revs, the Flying Spur just surges forward with a huge shove in the back. Throttle position is irrelevant, as the powerband is 4500rpm wide.
Probably the most fascinating developmental phase of the motor, is the durability testing. Tests which see the W12 prove its worth, would decimate a garden variety engine. For example, to demonstrate the powertrain’s ability to withstand extremes in temperature, the engine is put through prolonged thermal shock cycling.