For an idea of the design, imagine the front end of the Continental GT on a saloon.

Bentley is conducting cold-weather testing of the next-generation Flying Spur in Sweden, and this new batch of spy photos catches the ultra-posh saloon on a very snowy road. It's not an environment in which you would expect future owners would go driving, but the company has to make sure that the four-door can work anywhere. 

This test mule wears lots of black cladding to hide the design details, but we already have a good idea of what to expect from the Flying Spur's design. The headlight and grille design tell us that the front-end styling borrows significantly from the latest Continental GT – certainly no bad thing. 

Don't expect the hideous intakes in the front end to be on the production version, though. From the A-pillar backwards, the Flying Spur has a more traditionally boxy saloon shape than the Continental, which allows for more room in the back seat where the majority owners will spend most of their time. A long rear overhang and large boot suggests that the big Bentley will have plenty of luggage space, too.

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Like the current Continental GT, the new Flying Spur will share the MSB-F platform with the Porsche Panamera. The change will allow Bentley's luxurious saloon to shed a significant amount of weight, and it will also allow for the possibility of a plug-in hybrid powertrain at a later point.

When it launches, the Flying Spur will share the Continental GT's twin-turbo 6-litre W12 engine that produces 626bhp and 664lb ft of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels through an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic.

We can expect the new Flying Spur to make its official debut in the first half of 2018, possibly as soon as the Geneva motor show in March. Isn't that exciting. Sales will begin before the end of the year.

Gallery: Bentley Flying Spur Spy Photos