Darren Day, Bentley’s Styling and Design Interior Manager played an integral role in the formation of the brands latest model – the new Flying Spur. With its unrivaled blend of effortless driveability, exquisite luxury and craftsmanship, sculpted design and state-of-the-art technology, the new Flying Spur takes the worldwide success of its iconic predecessor further. As the brands most powerful four-door model, here, we chat with Mr. Day about the the science behind their latest spectacular vehicle.
Life+Times: Bentley recently showcased their latest luxury performance sedan called Flying Spur. What is it about this vehicle that is so different and unique?
Darren Day: Keeping abreast of technology and incorporating it into a luxury interior is a fine balance. We strive to create technological interfaces that work seamlessly with the car and the passengers. An example being the rear touch screen remote control (TSR), a user interface that functions in-situ or in the hand. Developed primarily to control the heating system, the flexible nature of the remote’s software also enables control of rear entertainment systems and main car menus, also allowing for future developments to be integrated.
L+T: How does this car elevate the benchmark of the Bentley brand?
DD: The look and feel of a hand crafted interior showcasing our ability for perfect alignment and precision, combined with the latest technologies, integrated in to the car in a subtle and intelligent manner. The feeling of increased space and usable stowage, cosseting seats that give support in all of the right places, but not at the expense of beautiful, elegant design.
L+T: The interior of the Flying Spur combines traditional Bentley elements with a new athletic touch. Can you tell us about this new stylistic direction?
DD: Bentley’s styling team has developed an athletic design for the new Flying Spur that combines traditional Bentley styling cues with a sporting stance and contemporary details. Sharp feature lines complement muscular rear haunches, while LED day-time running lights, dipped headlights and taillights characterize the front and rear profiles. The interior designers have created a luxurious, spacious cabin that dresses advanced acoustic and electronic technologies in exquisite hand-crafted leather hides and wood veneers.
L+T: The Flying Spur has been dubbed the most powerful four-door model ever made. How so? What attributes to this statement?
DD: As Bentley’s most powerful engine, the 6.0 litre, twin turbocharged, 48-valve W12 is the natural choice to power the fastest ever Bentley four-door. Now delivering 625 PS (616 bhp) at 6,000 rev/min, and a staggering 800 Nm (580 lb ft) of torque from only 2000 rev/min, the W12 has recently undergone a complete engine management system upgrade to the latest Bosch ME17 interface. Improved torque management, turbocharger control, drivability and emissions performance all result from the low adoption and optimization of the new system, with a resulting improvement in low speed responsiveness.
L+T: The interior of the new Flying Spur includes 600 new parts, with only the sun visors, grab handles, armrests and some of the front console and controls carried over from the previous generation. What else is new in this domain?
DD: The interior of the new Flying Spur features ‘soft feel’ trimmed surfaces. This has given the handcrafted leather surfaces a sumptuous, tactile feel. Customers for the New Flying Spur can, as an option, order a beautifully designed stowage case that fits into the centre console ahead of the arm rest. This veneered case is matched to the wood set and trim choice for the interior of the car, and can be used to hold. The design of the new Heating and Navigation System was developed around a critical package to accommodate touch screen technology in unison with signature knurled rotary knobs. Nestled between the two flying buttresses of the main dashboard can be found an additional stowage tray. The design of the front HVAC and Media Infotainment system (HMI) has inspired a new interface for rear occupants in the form of a Touch Screen Remote (TSR) allowing control of multiple systems including HVAC controls and Rear Seat Entertainment. Manipulation of the front HMI and live dial displays allow a unique involvement for the rear occupant in the driving experience. Integrated into a dock housed in the rear console, the TSR can be effortlessly deployed at the touch of a button for flexible use as a remote control. The Rear Seat Infotainment system houses a generous 10-inch screen with satin chrome and leather housing, as well as a fully integrated multimedia unit in replacement of the seat pocket. Underneath a hinged satin chrome lid is a DVD player, SD, USB and HDMI port providing ultimate connectivity. In addition to this, there are 12V and headphone sockets practically positioned in the centre cushion or rear console dependent of the interior configuration.