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PERFORMANCE | 8 out of 10
Impressive blend of raging power and silky delivery
When you punch the throttle, the result feels a bit like riding a skyscraper shot out of an artillery piece
Car and Driver
Improbably, it also tackles back-road curves like a much smaller car
With the 2009 Bentley Continental Flying Spur, Bentley has turned a magic trick worthy of David Blaine. Despite a size and weight that would seem to eliminate any pretense of spirited performance driving, the 2009 Bentley Flying Spur lineup boasts truly astonishing performance numbers, including braking performance that tops that of the Lamborghini Murcielago LP640.
Few cars on the road today feature 12-cylinder engines, and even fewer offer them in the arrangement found on the 2009 Bentley Continental Flying Spur. The 2009 Bentley Continental lineup boasts a rather unique W-12 engine arrangement that essentially joins a pair of V-6 engines, staggered side by side, in order to squeeze a full 12 cylinders into a surprisingly small area. On the base 2009 Bentley Continental Flying Spur, Edmunds reports that the "6.0-liter twin-turbo W12...produces an astounding 552 hp and 479 pound-feet of torque." If that's not enough, Car and Driver notes that the 2009 Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed gets an uprated engine "now good for an even 600 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque." For those worried about turbo lag, Car and Driver offers some news to put your mind at ease by stating that "max torque [comes] at a low 1750 rpm." ConsumerGuide reviewers are very impressed by the engine, observing that "power comes on immediately, even from a stop." Even in the base version of the 2009 Bentley Continental Flying Spur, Edmunds reviewers record "a 0-60-mph time under 5 seconds...and a top speed of 194 mph," which might lead you to "think there was a supercar underneath" the skin of this luxury sedan.
TheCarConnection.com's research shows that the transmission tasked with harnessing all the power of the 2009 Bentley Continental is more than up to the task. ConsumerGuide says that "wheel slip is non-existent thanks to standard AWD," which allows the 2009 Bentley Continental to rocket forward off the line with neck-snapping responsiveness. Edmunds adds that the engine's "power is channeled through a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control," and Road and Track reviewers report that the combination of the six-speed and AWD allows the 2009 Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed to "charge to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds." The only criticism of the 2009 Bentley Continental's transmission comes from ConsumerGuide, where "some testers found the transmission slow to downshift as needed at highway speed."
Fuel economy for the 2009 Bentley Flying Spur lineup is about what you would expect with all those thirsty cylinders banging away under the hood. According to the official EPA estimates, the 2009 Bentley Continental should return 10 mpg in the city and 17 mpg on the highway. Surprisingly, Road and Track reviewers discover that "the Speed model also sees a 3.5-percent improvement in fuel economy" despite its increased power, thanks to increased drivetrain efficiencies. Keeping the 2009 Bentley Flying Spur gassed certainly won't be cheap, but anyone driving a Bentley in the first place probably won't be too concerned about the fuel bill.
From the outside, it doesn't look like the 2009 Bentley Continental Flying Spur would be a willing companion on twisty roads, but reviews read by TheCarConnection.com show that this Bentley sedan is more than comfortable on back roads. Edmunds reports that the 2009 Bentley Flying Spur has "respectable handling ability," while ConsumerGuide says it "imparts more sportiness than might be expected." The driver-adjustable suspension offers several settings, and in the softest setting Edmunds remarks that the Bentley offers a "serene ride." In terms of differences between the two models of the 2009 Bentley Continental Flying Spur, Road and Track comments, "Speed definitely rides more stiffly (even with the suspension set to its softest), and the steering transmits more road imperfections back to the driver," but there is nothing unbearable about the ride in the upgraded Speed version. The capable chassis and brakes on the 2009 Bentley Continental Flying Spur combine to post some very impressive braking numbers, and Car and Driver notes that the Speed has a "165-foot 70-to-0-mph stopping distance—a foot shorter than a Lamborghini Murcielago LP640." The standard 2009 Bentley Continental Flying Spur isn't quite as capable in the stopping department, with ConsumerGuide observing that "a spongy pedal marred overall brake feel."
The 2009 Bentley Continental Flying Spur lineup outperforms expectations and is one of the stealthiest high-performance vehicles available.