New & Used Bentley Flying Spur: In Depth
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The Bentley Flying Spur is a five-passenger sedan that cannot be adequately described as a luxury vehicle, since its trappings surpass those of most everything available today. The Flying Spur is also a high-performance four-door capable of extraordinary speed and composure. Like all Bentleys, it's one of the finest vehicles made, balanced nicely by its traditional British accoutrements and up-to-date technology from its German parents.
In its first generation, the big sedan bore the Continental nameplate, but more recently the Flying Spur has separated from the fastback two-door coupe and convertible models that relaunched the brand more than a decade ago. The two- and four-door models continue to share a platform and bear very similar styling.
The Flying Spur is a rival for the Rolls-Royce Ghost, the new Mercedes-Maybach S-Class sedan, and the low-volume Aston Martin Rapide.
Introduced in the 2006 model year in the U.S., the Flying Spur has been evolved carefully over its life span. The basics haven't changed much--the Flying Spur still gets attention with its four-circle front end, its wedding-cake shoulders and roofline, and the sloping formality of its trunklid. It's shorn of the very formal look of the big Bentley Arnage, thankfully--and its styling had positive influences on the Bentley Mulsanne that was introduced for 2011.
The interior of the Flying Spur will impress anyone with its variety of top-shelf materials—burled walnut, knurled aluminum, beautiful leather, soft lambswool carpets, layers of lacquer and chrome everywhere—and finely detailed craftsmanship. The Flying Spur doesn't have quite as much rear-seat room as you might expect, but that keeps it relatively small and driver-friendly—and gives folks a reason to step up to the stately Mulsanne sedan.
The Flying Spur's powertrains have been derived more from Volkswagen Group companies than from the brand's British heritage. The twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter W-12 engine originally laid out 552 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, and distributed it all to an all-wheel-drive system through a six-speed automatic. The first-generation Continental Flying Spur's claimed 0–60 mph time of less than five seconds and top speed of 194 mph were eventually bested by a Speed edition, which bumped the W-12's power rating to 600 hp and 554 lb-ft of torque, cutting 60-mph acceleration times to 4.5 seconds and lifting top speed to 200 mph. Handling was unbelievably responsive for the 5,500-pound Flying Spur, and braking power was astonishing and abrupt.
The new Bentley Flying Spur
The second-generation 2014 Bentley Flying Spur, launched at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, received a new and evolutionary look that's a little sexier but still on the conservative side. The re-engineered body and chassis aim to provide a sportier driving experience, while the cabin is quieter than ever. Its W-12 engine received a substantial output boost--to 616 hp and 580 pound-feet--and it's now mated to an excellent eight-speed automatic transmission.
Bentley added a second engine to the Flying Spur line for 2015 to create the first Flying Spur V8. The 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 makes 500 horsepower. The new model is lighter and even a bit more nimble than its W-12-powered counterpart, and is able to hit 60 mph in 4.9 seconds and move on to a top speed of 183 mph. With the help of cylinder deactivation, the smaller engine returns a slight improvement in overall fuel economy, to 17 mpg.
As you'd expect, the fit and finish of the Flying Spur are exquisite. Buyers can choose from a range of matched veneers, leathers, and trims--or can bring their own choices to the design table. Other additions to the Flying Spur include wireless hotspot capability, a rear-seat entertainment suite, and a new feature that lets passengers control more vehicle functions from the back seat.
Neither the NHTSA nor the IIHS have produced crash-test scores for the Flying Spur, but it's replete with airbags in all directions, as well as traction and stability control integrated with its anti-lock brakes. The standard all-wheel drive can also be seen as somewhat of a safety item, as well.
A new Flying Spur Speed model is likely on its way, as a Speed version of the Continental coupe and convertible has already been launched for this generation. You can bank on a higher-output W-12 for the model, as well as some stylistic tweaks to set it apart from the standard models.