In this work a new formulation for flexible multibody systems is presented based on the floating frame formulation. In this method, the absolute interface coordinates are used as degrees of freedom. To this end, a coordinate transformation is established from the absolute floating frame coordinates and the local interface coordinates to the absolute interface coordinates. This is done by assuming linear theory of elasticity for a body’s local elastic deformation and by using the Craig–Bampton interface modes as local shape functions. In order to put this new method into perspective, relevant relations between inertial frame, corotational frame and floating frame formulations are explained. As such, this work provides a clear overview of how these three well-known and apparently different flexible multibody methods are related. An advantage of the method presented in this work is that the resulting equations of motion are of the differential rather than the differential-algebraic type. At the same time, it is possible to use well-developed model order reduction techniques on the flexible bodies locally. Hence, the method can be employed to construct superelements from arbitrarily shaped three dimensional elastic bodies, which can be used in a flexible multibody dynamics simulation. The method is validated by simulating the static and dynamic behavior of a number of flexible systems.