Looks can be deceiving.
At a first glance, you might be tempted to say this is some sort of a new Porsche Panamera derivative, one based on the Turbo model judging by the exhaust tips, in long-wheelbase Executive guise. 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 saloon version of the Continental GT, it might explain why his name was written on the wheels.
The reason why Bentley has been able to test the new posh saloon using a modified Panamera body is because the all-new Flying Spur will use the same MSB platform as the four-door Porsche. 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 end, 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 will be topped by a 600 horsepower biturbo 6.0-litre W12 already available in the Bentayga, where it churns 664 pound-feet of torque. It will be interesting to see whether the SUV’s 4.0-litre V8 TDI shared with the Audi SQ7 and rated at 429 hp and 664 lb-ft 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.
Since this is an early test mule with a Panamera body, don’t expect the next-gen Flying Spur to launch any time soon. We’ll likely see it go official in the latter part of 2018 before going on sale as a 2019 model. 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.