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Spur of the moment

Bentley recently launched its new Flying Spur sedan with a complete redesign of the marque offering not only advances in speed and comfort, but in personalisation. Of course, Naim Audio was integral to this process, specially designing its audio system to provide the customer with the ultimate in car sound system.

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Bentley released the original version of the Flying Spur in 2006. Back then marque enthusiasts marvelled at its handsomeness, W12 formation engine and hushed ambience, but also its remarkable 195mph top speed. Now there’s even more reason to be excited as the British engineers in Crewe reveal an all new Flying Spur sedan.

The twin-turbo engine remains the heart of the car, but almost everything else is redesigned. You notice that immediately in the lower, more sculptural profile that, doubtless, would interest Henry Moore’s ghost. Almost all the 600 components in the cabin are brand new.

This new saloon signals a step-change in the scope of the absolute personalisation offered by Bentley that’s possible. Naim Audio’s input here is an extension of our partnership with this British engineering icon. The Naim Audio for Bentley premium audio system becomes the ultimate upgrade for listening exhilaration inside the Flying Spur.

Actually, the car’s very structure has enhanced the system. It’s more rigid but the computer-controlled selectable air suspension is more cosseting than the previous marque. Fastidious aerodynamic and sealing attention has cut noise. The doors have fewer parts, for extra refinement. There are underfloor acoustic panels and insulation, acoustic glazing. What’s more – even the wheels and tyres of the New Flying Spur have been selected with the awareness of a unique audio experience in mind.

Naim Audio has designed new custommade, advanced acoustic speakers for the rear to deliver its renowned ‘as-live’ performance

Within this becalmed framework, Naim Audio has designed new custom-made, advanced acoustic speakers for the rear to deliver its renowned ‘as-live performance’. As on other Bentleys specified with the innovative system, there are 1100 watts of amplification and Digital Signal Processing, with 15 modes matching either seating position – the Flying Spur can come with either four or five seats – and/or musical genre.

As the Spur’s 6-litre engine growl builds slightly as the car surges to high cruising speeds, the driver can select an NFB (Negative Feedback) system option to automatically adjust the volume and frequency response in tandem. Naim Audio engineers spent hundreds of hours on the road optimising it, because only subjective experience of the balance at differing speeds could truly finetune it.

Redesigned separate subwoofers add gravitas to the bass performance, while each seating position is, in effect, an acoustic hotspot, the delivered sound built up from layers of minute tim delays and frequency response shapes. Naim Audio’s scintillating sound quality and performance can be partnered, for the many owners worldwide likely to bechauffeured, by comprehensive multimedia connectivity in the rear. once you set out to custom-create your own Bentley, though, budget and imagination are the only limits.

Tim Hodgson, Bentley’s UK VIP relationship manager, is steeped in Bentley’s bespoke possibilities. “The process usually starts with a visit to our factory – that’s always an engrossing day in a place of great interest,” he says. “People are amazed by the main assembly area or our wood shop with all our craftspeople deep in concentration. one American called it, aptly: ‘A candy store where there is just so much candy’.” The regular Flying Spur palette offers 17 paint colours, and 100 optional ones. But once you get into the Mulliner Driving Specification menu, five more leather upholstery options are added to the 12 standard ones, five choices of wood veneer, three more wheel styles, quilted leather detailing is offered, and the car can be set off with beautiful details like the ‘jewel’ petrol filler cap and sporty, drilled pedals. Hodgson explains. “A car like this is often a celebration of achievement. As long as the car is road-legal, we can do almost anything, like when we made a special armrest for a customer with a physical requirement.”

Bentley, of course, would never admit to employing ‘Taste Police’. “Every customer is an individual, and we absolutely respect that. Anyway, we can use diagrams, computer configurations, or sometimes even ask a designer to produce a rendering to show how good a car will look with the right colour and design choices.”

 

Our Naim Audio for Bentley premium in-car audio system emerged as the clear winner of a Fifth Gear blind listening test, easily beating competition from Bowers & Wilkins in Jaguar and Audi’s Bang & Olufsen system. The review describes the sound of the Naim Audio system installed in a Bentley Continental GT as "involving, enjoyable and rhythmical" explaining that it provided "a much warmer, richer sound" than its rivals.

 

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