The third-generation Bentley Flying Spur is now in Malaysia, and one unit of the ‘super-luxury sports sedan’ is currently being housed at Bentley Kuala Lumpur at Jalan Pinang (Bentley KL prefers the term ultimate luxury grand touring sedan, but we find the original description more intriguing). This fully-optioned example will be in town until March, and Bentley will be hosting previews for its customers till then.

The company has been taking pre-orders for a couple of months now, and first deliveries will happen in the second quarter of the year. The new Flying Spur is priced from RM840,000 before Malaysian duties and taxes. To give you a ballpark idea of what it’ll cost with taxes, the Continental GT First Edition went for RM2.15 million, while the Continental GT Convertible we checked out last year had a sticker price of RM2.24 million. As always, it all depends on the options, and no one skimps when buying a Bentley.

So, what’s this sports sedan thing about, you ask, isn’t the sedan sister to the Conti GT a limo? With the latest Flying Spur, Bentley is trying to attract the affluent man who – besides needing a limo to be driven in – likes a spot of driving himself when the opportunity arises. See the new car’s body next to the previous-generation Flying Spur and Crewe’s intentions are as clear as those ornate crystal headlamps – this is a more dynamic car all right.

The ingredients are there for sure. The latest Spur is powered by a 6.0 litre twin-turbo W12 engine that’s hand-built in Crewe. Claimed to be the most advanced 12-cylinder engine in the world, it makes 635 PS and 900 Nm of torque (previous-gen W12 S did 626 hp/820 Nm), which propels the 2,437 kg limo to 100 km/h in just 3.8 seconds. Top speed is a heady 333 km/h.

Bentley says that a more forward front axle position improves weight distribution. That, along with active all-wheel-drive, all-wheel steering and Bentley Dynamic Ride are behind the sports sedan part of the equation.

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 drivability. 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 latest Conti GT, with 420 mm front discs. 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.

While the tech and performance are great, it’s the Flying Spur’s design and luxury details that will set the British limo apart from the flagship saloons of the German premium brigade. And boy does it look and feel special.

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 front axle has been pushed far forward, and overall, the Spur is significantly more dynamic looking that the second-generation 2013 car, which itself is a much better looking saloon than the 2005 original. There are no shortage of fascination points, both outside and in the cabin, which by the way is not a 100% reproduction of the Continental GT’s dashboard. The easiest way to tell them apart are the central air vents – no “bullseyes” here.

All of what’s good in the Conti cockpit is found here though, including the cool rotating central display. Choose from an HD 12.3 inch touchscreen, three analogue gauges or a “digital detox” wood veneer that aligns perfectly with the horizontal dash trim (single veneer here, but it can be dual). A long press on the dedicated screen button brings out the latter. This – and the Flying B emblem on the grille that can revealed/hidden via a button press – could be seen by some as gimmicky, but we find them cool.

The Flying Spur’s seats feature a new 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. 3D leather diamond quilted leather door inserts are a world’s first.

The new Touch Screen Remote for rear passengers 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, mood lighting and the Flying B mascot.

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, as seen here. The top-end option is a Naim for Bentley 2,200W, 19-speaker system with Active Bass Transducers built into the front seats.

Other luxuries include rear seat entertainment screens, a mini fridge between the seats and a panoramic glass roof. There’s a pillar between the front and rear sunroof panels (headliner is leather), and here lies two flip down vanity mirrors for your lady’s last minute touch up.

The Mulliner Driving Spec car you see here is in the off-whitish White Sand, matched with the new Blackline spec, which basically swaps out all chrome trim with black. Those wheels are massive 22-inch 10-spoke items, but they look just nice. Do you prefer chrome or Blackline? Personally, I don’t mind some of the shiny stuff on a car like such as this, although gloss black does emphasise the Flying Spur’s newfound sport character.

For an expert guided tour of the interior and exterior design details, follow Brett Boydell – head of interior design at Bentley – in the video below as he takes us through the many fascination points of the new Flying Spur. If an S-Class or 7 Series ever feels too “regular” or business-like, this is a truly beguiling blend of technology and tradition.