Bentley Continental Flying Star, 2010
Flying Star in 2010 - the Bentley challenge
The Bentley Continental GT range set innovative and high standards for a new generation of very sophisticated Grand Tourers. As such, this model triggered the imagination of automotive designers and coach builders elsewhere. The GTC convertible, featuring a very rigid platform, proved to be a fully congruent basis to Touring Superleggera's plans for the new Bentley Continental Flying Star.
The new project required the modification of a number of external dimensions starting from the car's A-pillar backwards: extended roof line, a wider section including the doors, new aluminium door skins and a new all-aluminium, electrically operated tailgate. It also includes a completely new rear compartment with two foldable rear seats and a variable loading space.
This long list of modifications and transformations had to be paired with, and to remain fully compatible to the basic car's technical layout and components. Given the sophistication of the basic car, a new challenge was laid out for Touring's craftsmen and engineers. The final result proves that special coach building can live on well into the 21st. century working with respect to the original manufacturers.
Touring Superleggera is particularly proud of the fact that the complete productive cycle of the special coach building process was realized in their workshop near Milano. Modern body engineering went hand in hand with traditional handicraft skills, maintaining the highest quality directives for the final product.
The body engineering processes at Carrozzeria Touring are aimed at safeguarding key parameters for quality, safety and feasibility, within the perspectives of low-volume automotive production. The project went through 1:4 and 1:1 modelling, based on the CAD and CATIA data from the basic vehicle. This digital basis resulted in a milled 1:1 master model and a number of 1:1 moulds for the manufacturing of the new external skin, and for important new body components. The rear bodywork was reinforced with an integrated structure between the rear suspension domes, functioning both as roll bar, and as support for the new, extended roofline.
'Variations on a theme' not rarely implicate a larger design challenge, than starting-off with a white sheet of paper. The basic mission was to create a body incorporating the essence of Touring elegance and harmony, while clearly recognizable as a Bentley. This task was challenging because a fully new volume had to be added to the GTC basis. The proportions were totally new, but the overall design had to be kept consistent. That is why only the section in front of the car's A-pillar, including the windshield has been maintained.
Viewed from the rear, the new tailgate dives between the wide rear wings. The oval rear light chrome bezels are a reference to Bentley fastback cars of the '50. The side view features a low roof, prominent quarter panel shoulders and wide wheel arches, suggesting perfectly mastered energy.
The Touring Superleggera designers were challenged by the target to give the new interior equal elegance, whether the back of the rear seats are folded or not. The solution was to design an "S" shaped trim of the rear quarter panels linking the passenger area to the rear luggage area. The beige and dark green leather contrast also adds to this visual unity.
First time ever in this class and size, the twin individual rear seats fold completely to create a flat loading surface more than 2m long with 1200lt capacity. This is instrumental to fulfill the functional mission profile, which requires loading in full comfort a wide array of leisure equipment, including 4 full golfing bags with the rear seats up. An example of bespoke finish is the woven leather boot carpet offering superior endurance and coordinated with the special luggage set.
When digital technologies are blended with traditional manufacturing skills, a fascinating process emerges that is typical for Touring Superleggera. A discriminating factor for traditional coach building was and is the vast amount of handwork that is involved in the creation of a new body. In this process, multiple practical solutions are also found for a wide variety of minor technical issues. This includes quick, practical solutions based on years-long experience, common sense and an expert eye.
The Bentley Continental Flying Star by Touring inherits the chassis of the Continental GTC. The 6-liter, W12 engine is available either in the 560HP version which delivers 650NM of torque at 1600rpm or the GTC Speed variant which delivers a massive 750Nm from 610HP. The car exhibited at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show featured the GTC Speed specifications.
Performance braking, cornering and traction functions mesh together to provide precise and immediate driving control under extreme or difficult conditions.
Self-adjusting air springs and electronic dampers operate independently for each wheel. Allwheel drive promotes advanced traction.
The model is CEE homologated according to the new low-volume production directive. For the first time since its introduction, the type approval was awarded without destructive test, using simulation and FEM-analysis.