New & Used Bentley Flying Spur: In Depth
2015 Bentley Flying Spur V8Enlarge Photo
The Bentley Flying Spur is a five-passenger sedan that's among the most luxurious vehicles in the world. It's also a high-performance four-door capable of extraordinary speed and composure. On top of it all, it's one of the finest vehicles made today, fitted equally well with traditional British accoutrements and up-to-date technology.
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 is a rival for the Rolls-Royce Ghost, the most expensive Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedans, 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, 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 Flying Spur's powertrains have been derived more from Volkswagen groupings than British heritage. The twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter W-12 engine (at least prior to the 2014 model year) 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 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 power to 600 hp and 554 lb-ft of torque, which cut acceleration times to 60 mph to 4.5 seconds and lifted 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 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.
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.