New & Used Bentley Flying Spur: In Depth
2015 Bentley Flying Spur V8Enlarge Photo
The Bentley Flying Spur is a luxurious, high-performance sedan with some traditional British accoutrements in an up-to-date and technologically sophisticated vehicle. In its first generation, it 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 Flying Spur now competes with the likes of the Rolls-Royce Ghost, Maserati Quattroporte, the higher end of the Porsche Panamera line, and the very low-volume Aston Martin Rapide.
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 should be even quieter than ever. Its W-12 engine received a substantial power boost--to 616 hp and 580 pound-feet--and it's now fitted to a new eight-speed automatic transmission.
For 2015, the Flying Spur V8 model introduces a second engine option: a 500-hp, 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V-8 with cylinder deactivation. Lighter and (relatively) lither than the W-12 model, it still manages 0-to-60-mph acceleration that's quoted at 4.9 seconds, along with a top speed of 183 mph. Its EPA rating rises (relatively) to 17 mpg, at least a gentle nod toward a greener future.
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 2014 Flying Spur include wireless hotspot capability, a Rear Seat Entertainment suite, and a new feature that lets passengers control more features from the back seat. We're guessing that the massaging rear seats return as well.
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.
Introduced in the 2006 model year in the U.S., the Flying Spur is art imitating life, in that it's gained some mild cosmetic improvements over the years. The basics haven't changed much, though--the Flying Spur still evokes glances 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 played a role in the invention of the Bentley Mulsanne that was introduced for 2011.
Inside there's nothing but slack-jawed admiration for its luxuriant materials and workmanship--there's burled walnut, knurled aluminum, enough cow and sheep pieces to almost make the Scots happy, and layers of lacquer and chrome applied lovingly to, well, everything. There's not quite as much room in the back as you'd imagine for the hulking, hefty Flying Spur, but there's enough to impress.
The powertrain for the Flying Spur is derived more from Volkswagen groupings than British heritage--all to great effect. The twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter W-12 engine (at least prior to the 2014 model year) lays out 552 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque, and distributes it all to an all-wheel-drive system through a six-speed automatic. The claimed 0-60 mph time of less than five seconds and top speed of 194 mph are bested by the Speed edition, which bumps power to 600 hp and 554 lb-ft of torque, which cuts acceleration times to 60 mph to 4.5 seconds and lifts top speed to 200 mph. Handling is unbelievably responsive for the 5,500-pound Flying Spur, and braking power is astonishing and abrupt.