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STYLING | 8 out of 10
Minor cosmetic revisions
a more upright grille, larger lower air intakes, a new rear bumper
tastefully invoked its estimable heritage without getting sentimental
Large, boldly marked gauges are clear and easy to read
The Bentley Continental two-doors and the four-door Flying Spur sedan were catalysts: They completely reinvented the fusty Bentley brand and brought a whole new crew of rap moguls, reality stars, and pro athletes to the fold, for better or worse. For 2010, the Flying Spur carries on with the same styling it's worn since early in the decade, albeit in a couple of new colors. Prices begin at just less than $200,000, and the primary competition for those dollars are machines like the Maserati Quattroporte, the Audi S8, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, and the Porsche Panamera.
The 2010 Bentley Continental Flying Spur is long, low, and wide, but not terribly rakish as four-door sedans like the 2010 Jaguar XJ can be. There's no mistaking its streamlined Bentley grille, and the chromed mesh grilles and air intakes between the quad-oval headlights, which still look contemporary. It "tastefully" invokes its "estimable heritage without getting sentimental about it," Automobile reports. But the more upright pillars and glass areas don't make the same visual impact; it's low-key and not flamboyant, even on close inspection-the opposite of the two-door Bentley Continental GT. It's been out since 2006, and the 2010 Bentley Continental Flying Spur's formal roofline is looking a little less compelling with the years. Edmunds points out that there have been only "minor cosmetic revisions" to this four-door Bentley since it was launched. Edmunds says the "Flying Spur might lose some style points to its ultra-expensive competition." The lineup also includes the "$204,795 Speed" edition, which, according to Motor Trend, is distinguished by "dark-tinted front grilles, wider tail pipes, and split-spoke 20-inch alloys." Autoblog adds the Speed gets "sill plates emblazoned with the word 'Speed' on all four doors."
Inside, the Flying Spur's cabin is a twin to the two-door's dash, with a dual-binnacle theme dressed in walnut or chestnut veneers, all precisely hand-cut and matched to create a mirror-image grain symmetry. Front and center on the dash is a Breitling timepiece, flanked by a steering wheel in hand-stitched leather, stainless-steel pedals and footrest, and real chrome pulls for the air vents. Calling it a "posh luxury cruiser," Edmunds says the Continental Flying Spur is a fine example of "classic British design." Automobile deems it a "leather-lined approximation of a men's club smoking room." ConsumerGuide praises the "large, boldly marked gauges [that] are clear and easy to read." Edmunds also remarks the "switchgear is much more functional than the fussy knobs and buttons from previous models-though it must be said that the controls lack a bit of the panache and romance from the past."
Even though the 2010 Bentley Continental Flying Spur's exterior isn't tremendously flashy, it still draws a crowd wherever it goes.