A year ago, the Geneva Motor Show hosted the debut of Bentley’s lithe new Continental GT alongside the unexpected Speed 6 concept, signalling an athletic new direction for the Crewe brand. These surprises, together with the introduction of the Bentayga SUV, showed that it was no longer business as usual at Bentley Motors. This year, however, the Geneva Show is expected to introduce two updated models which can only be described as Bentley’s comfort zone – powerful, fast, luxurious saloons.
Bentley Flying Spur V8 S
If there’s one thing that has set the Bentley brand apart it’s the sporting bloodline that runs through its 97 year history. WO was never content with just a good car, it had to be a fast car. This philosophy appears to be alive and well today as Bentley’s Flying Spur V8 is given a wholehearted fettling to boost power to 521bhp with improvements in performance and handling for a sportier drive. A leaner stance, a black grille and 20” wheels, could make this the weapon of choice for Bentley drivers, famed for their enthusiasm for an open road and a turn of pace. The twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 will catapult the large saloon from 0-60mph in a blistering 4.6 seconds, reaching a top speed of 190mph without breaking a sweat. Inside, you’ll be cool and comfortable in the climate-controlled luxury that comes as standard in any Bentley.
Bentley Mulsanne Range
The Flying Spur V8 S will be joined on stage at Geneva by a show-stopping line-up of the flagship Mulsanne range. The “Grand Bentley” receives a new front end, including a revised grille with distinct vertical strakes over the traditional mesh grille. It’s a mild departure for the brand face in its recent history under the Volkswagen Group, but it serves as a reminder that for the best part of 70 years, Bentley’s came with vertical radiator slats. The Mulsanne’s rear end has also been updated, with the slightly chintzy inclusion of the ubiquitous B-motif in the rear light design.
This year, rather than drip-feed new model variants over the course of a few months, there will be no less than three members of the Mulsanne range making their debut in the Swiss capital. The Mulsanne will be accompanied by an Extended Wheelbase limousine for those accustomed to being chauffeured, and a high performance Speed version for those who prefer to take the wheel themselves. The Extended Wheelbase Mulsanne includes reclining, airline-style seats (think Emirates, not Ryanair), epitomising the sense of luxury only found at the pinnacle of Bentley’s range. The Speed, on the other hand, brings astonishing performance to the grand limo, wafting it to 60mph in just 4.9seconds and onto a maximum cruising speed of 190mph.
Bentley hasn’t mentioned the “Grand Convertible” concept for a while, but given the surprise nature of the Speed 6 concept last year, could we see a Mulsanne based soft-top model at the Geneva Show? We’ll find out in the first two weeks of March.
The 2016 Geneva Motor Show runs from the 3rd to the 13th March. To book your tickets visit: www.salon-auto.ch