The round headlights and regal profile of the Bentley Continental Flying Spur are some of the luxury cruiser’s main discussion points, but how many aficionados and owners will rave about its “softer qualities”?

The round headlights and regal profile of the Bentley Continental Flying Spur are some of the luxury cruiser’s main discussion points, but how many aficionados and owners will rave about its “softer qualities”?

Bentley took a giant leap in the right direction with the introduction of its Continental GT, resulting in its UK-based plant in Crewe battling to keep up with orders that continue to stream in. CAR’s technical editor Jake Venter recently took the GT’s four-door sibling on a drive through the Italian countryside where he was duly impressed by the car’s extreme luxury and healthy performance.

However, many would be dumbfounded at the news that, apart from its 411kW/650N.m twin turbo W12 powerplant and sumptuous leather interior, the multi-million rand Spur’s wire-mesh radiator grille is, in fact, plastic.

Designed with pedestrian safety in mind, the grille breaks upon impact and the relatively soft radiator deforms, the company’s engineering director Ulrich Eichhorn said.

Bentley insists that the grille has not been designed to cut costs, save weight or help the car meet the European Union (EU) pedestrian safety regulations. The EU’s new regulations require a bigger crush zone between the pedestrian victim and the car’s “hard points”.

Eichhorn said he doubted whether the new pedestrian safety regulations would do much to protect pedestrians.

"No matter how you try to soften it, a car is hard," Eichhorn said. The "really bad impact" is the secondary impact, when the pedestrian hits the street.

Well, its very likely that most pedestrians will stick to the side of the road once the Flying Spur has been spotted - even if it’s only to stare in wonder at the stately machine.

A driving impression of the Bentley Flying Spur will appear in the June edition of CAR magazine, on sale Monday June 23.

Original article from Car