using up the hill at Goodwood

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We converse to Bentley’s automobile dynamics boss as he drives us up the notorious hill on a moist Sunday morning

Autocar took to a streaming-wet Goodwood hillclimb at 10.45 on Sunday morning, having watched a scary sequence of vintage bikes and vehicles wobble and weave within the rain to the highest of the well-known course.

We shouldn’t have fearful concerning the fortunes of the all-new Bentley Flying Spur – or its 626bhp W12 – as a result of a correct professional referred to as Andrew Unsworth, the Crewe firm’s head of auto dynamics, was on the wheel, and in any case the automobile bristled with stability and traction controls tuned for troublesome events like this one. 

What’s extra, the Flying Spur is a brand-new design, based mostly on the Volkswagen Group’s MLB structure particularly designed for its largest autos, that shares its main parts with the Porsche Panamera. Whereas the earlier Flying Spur was associated to the now-defunct VW Phaeton limo, and was severely restricted in packaging and tyre sizes by that, the brand new mannequin, about to go on sale, has a chassis and suspension set-up whose essential parts had been included within the authentic MLB programme, with Bentley engineers carrying as a lot clout within the negotiations as their Porsche colleagues.

All of the information from Goodwood Pageant of Velocity

“It’s not likely a platform within the typical sense,” says Unsworth, “as a result of it’s extremely versatile and could be altered fairly radically in dimensions to swimsuit explicit functions. This Flying Spur, as an illustration, is 130mm longer within the wheelbase than the Porsche, but they’re each MLB vehicles.” 

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We drove slowly alongside a crowd-lined passage to the beginning line, totally surrounded by automobile lovers as we waited to run. As normal, the data and enthusiasm of the Goodwood crowd was deeply spectacular, even intoxicating, and it was clear (as a result of so a lot of them advised us) that the brand new Bentley’s way more sleek proportions had been apparent and really interesting.

Out of the blue it was time to go, and although we may see from the vehicles forward that the greasy street was upsetting many, the Spur’s four-wheel drive and complex traction management system had no hassle laying down the ability with barely half a revolution of wheelspin. We pretty rocketed off the beginning and in direction of the Goodwood hillclimb’s first double-apex bend, the area and leathered luxurious of this automobile (as normal with a Bentley) not fairly computing with the large efficiency, accompanied now by a clean and well-bred roar from the engine.  

It’s onerous to assume beneath such situations however I’ve three essential impressions: first, the best way this automobile can lay down its energy and torque beneath troublesome situations is phenomenal (in yesterday’s timed runs, our Flying Spur shamed many supercars). Second, the affect of this automobile’s lengthy (3194mm) wheelbase has on its consolation and stability takes it away from sports activities vehicles – in a great way. Third, the best way Bentleys combine excessive refinement with high efficiency remains to be very particular. 

Unsworth, who has been engaged on this automobile for 3 years, was the right demonstration driver, however I felt that even within the fingers of a a lot much less in a position driver (corresponding to your ham-fisted humble servant), this automobile would have been an excellent all-rounder. Chuck within the stunning styling and the large street presence, and out of the blue the anticipated £170okay worth (plus choices, after all) appears to be like like worth.

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Learn extra

All the small print on the brand new Flying Spur

Gallery: Bentley’s centenary celebrations at Goodwood

Continental GT W12 long-term assessment


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