You’ve seen the 3D-textured leather and the retractable Flying B mascot, now here’s the all-new Bentley Flying Spur in full. The Flying Spur is the four-door limo sister of the Continental GT coupe that was launched last year, and this is the third-generation car, replacing a model that debut in 2013.

Bentley’s entry limo, if there’s such a thing, sits below the Mulsanne and is a rival to the Rolls-Royce Ghost. Crewe says that its new creation – a “super-luxury sports sedan” – is for both drivers and the driven, offering a combination of limousine luxury and sports sedan performance. And British craftsmanship, of course.

The Flying Spur’s new body has a 130 mm longer wheelbase (for 3,194 mm) and sports stronger, more muscular lines that sweep the full length of the car, which is 5,316 mm. Those surfaces are made possible by aluminium superforming, a process first proven on the current Continental GT. Bentley claims best-in-class body stiffness, which benefits handling and rigidity.

The first thing you’ll notice is the grille, which combines a gloss black radiator matrix with chrome surrounds and vertical vanes that hark back to the iconic 1957 Bentley S1 Continental Flying Spur. Flanking it are LED matrix headlights with unique cut-crystal effect detailing. A chrome sleeve has been added behind the cut element making them sparkle, even when not lit.

The Flying B mascot that adorns the bonnet is available for the first time on a modern Flying Spur. In Bentley’s centenary year, the mascot has been restyled for the next century and is an evolution of previous designs. Electronically-deployed and illuminated, it is linked to the welcome lighting and keyless entry system as the driver approaches the car. Spectacular stuff.

There are more lovely detailing at the rear, where the wrap-around lamps sport the familiar ‘B’ graphic and echoes the diamond knurling of the interior air vents. A choice of new 21-inch wheels is offered as standard, as well as the option of two unique 22-inch Mulliner spec items. One can choose from 17 exterior paint options.

A full size, glass-to-glass panoramic sunroof can be specified. The front panel tilts and slides rearwards over the top of the fixed back panel. Alcantara blinds deploy electrically and are colour-matched to the 15 interior headlining colours.

Moving inside, a sweeping horizontal veneer flows across the dashboard and into the doors, emphasising the width of the cabin. The traditional round ‘bullseye’ vents have been replaced with new shaped, “precision detailed” vents between which sits the Bentley analogue clock – the vents are the most obvious difference between the Flying Spur and Continental GT dashboards.

Taking centre stage is the Bentley Rotating Display that was first seen on the Conti GT. Press the push start button and the veneer section in the middle of the dash rotates to reveal a 12.3-inch touchscreen (HD display with proximity sensor) with customisable digital tiles. The second side of the display reveals three analogue dials (outside temp, compass, chronometer), and a complete “digital detox” can be selected on the blank third side.

Look closely and you’ll find fine bronze detailing around the clock and switches. New diamond knurling adorns the rotary switches and is also available on the air vents and clock. To produce this decorative detail, a new software algorithm had to be invented to work with the complex curves of the ducts, Crewe says.

Crown Cut Walnut is offered as a new wood veneer option, which uses a straight cut process to provide a more modern finish. As well as the popular Dark Fiddleback and Piano Black options, a range of five further veneers are available. Dual veneer finish can also be specified in all veneer types to add an even more bespoke feel.

More fascination points are provided by the world’s first 3D diamond quilted leather door inserts, inspired by the Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 design concept. Mood lighting is newly available as an option, with the choice of seven colours and varying intensities.

The Flying Spur’s new seats feature a twin-flute design and increased functionality, including heating, ventilation, multi-mode massage, adjustable bolsters and top tilt. With the optional Mulliner Driving Specification, the new 3D leather combines with traditional diamond quilting, stitching and embroidery work.

The rear’s new Touch Screen Remote integrates almost invisibly into the console but is easily removed at the touch of a button for remote use. It allows access to various functions, including control of all blinds, rear seat massage function, climate control and mood lighting.

A choice of three audio systems is offered, with the standard system featuring 10 speakers and 650 watts. A Bang & Olufsen 1,500W, 16-speaker system with illuminated grilles and BeoSonic is the next step up. The top-end option is a Naim for Bentley 2,200W, 19-speaker system with Active Bass Transducers built into the front seats. For the true audiophile, it comes with eight sound modes.

Last but not least, the oily bits. The Flying Spur is powered by a W12 twin-turbocharged TSI engine that’s hand-built in Crewe. Claimed to be the most advanced 12-cylinder engine in the world, the 6.0 litre produces 635 PS and 900 Nm of torque (previous-gen W12 S did 626 hp/820 Nm), which accelerates the 2,437 kg limo to 100 km/h in just 3.8 seconds. Top speed is 333 km/h. Supercars, beware.

The gearbox is the same eight-speed ZF dual-clutch transmission as the Continental GT. Maximum speed is reached in sixth, with the other two overdrive gears used for “economic grand touring”. Bentley says that a more forward front axle position improves weight distribution. That, along with active AWD, all-wheel steering and Bentley Dynamic Ride improve dynamics.

The previous Flying Spur employed a permanent AWD system with a fixed 60:40 power split to the axles. The new model uses a clutched system which delivers two-wheel drive to the rear axle. Depending on the road conditions and wheel slip, it will then automatically send drive to the front axle as required. Turn-in response is dramatically improved and the understeer effect experienced with fixed AWD is virtually eliminated, Bentley says.

Torque distribution varies according to the selected Drive Dynamics Mode. In Comfort and Bentley modes, the system will send up to 480 Nm of torque to the front axle to offer greater grip and driveability. In Sport, it limits the available torque to the front axle to 280 Nm, maintaining a higher torque level at the rear for a more dynamic feel. Torque is also managed across each axle by a torque-vectoring-by-brake system.

Electronic all-wheel steering, which enhances both stability at highway speeds and manoeuvrability around town, appears for the first time on a Bentley. During low-speed manoeuvres, the system steers the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the front wheels. This has the effect of shortening the wheelbase and reducing the turning circle. At high speed, all wheels turn in the same direction for more stability.

The new Flying Spur uses three-chamber air springs which contain 60% more air volume compared to the previous model. This allows more scope to vary from sporting levels of spring stiffness to luxury limo refinement depending on the selected mode. The new CDC (Continuous Damping Control) allows continuous regulation of the dampers. Four ride height sensors constantly measure the distance between the axle and the body.

The Bentley Dynamic Ride System is designed to improve both handling and ride comfort. A 48-volt system controls an electronic actuator unit which manages the stiffness of the anti-roll bar, changing the stiffness on demand to combat cornering forces and keep the big saloon level.

The new Flying Spur shares the largest iron brakes in the world with the Continental GT, with 420 mm front discs. Both front and rear calipers carry Bentley branding. Gloss black is standard, with a gloss red finish optional. Lastly, there’s an adaptive tailpipe control valve with variable position settings. The way exhaust gases flow into the rear half of the system has been tuned to provide a more discreet exhaust note inside the cabin for chauffeur-driven occupants.

The new Bentley Flying Spur is available to order from this autumn, and customer deliveries will begin in early 2020. What a beguiling blend of technology and tradition.