You don’t have to count yourself among the one-percenters to know that the Bentley brand produces extraordinarily fine automobiles. That includes this new Flying Spur.
It is a car that promises uncompromising four-door luxury, along with unbridled performance. So for the next few minutes, let’s pretend our pockets are deep enough to see if the flying spur keeps its promise.
Despite the ups and downs of our economy, the world-wide demand for high-end luxury cars has not diminished. Especially when you consider the rapid growth of the Chinese market and their increasing desire for “Western” luxury goods. And that’s a perfect climate for the 2014 Bentley Flying Spur.
Bentley has tried hard to reestablish its credentials as a luxury performance brand. But this Flying Spur show’s they haven’t forgotten potential buyers who prefer to enjoy their Bentley from the backseat, letting a chauffeur take care of the driving.
So, in that vain, the latest Continental-based Flying Spur drops the Continental name, as well as softens the ride, to heightens its overall prestige appeal.
But that aside, it’s still a Continental under the hood, where you’ll find the updated twin-turbo W12 engine in all of its glory, cranking out 616-horsepower and 590 lb-ft. of torque. For now, the Continental GT’s optional V8 is not available.
If you’ve ever gotten a chance to experience the tsunami of torque that can be unleashed from this engine, your life many never be the same. It is a tidal wave of power, yet it’s delivered in such a smooth manner it feels like a true miracle of engineering.
The 8-speed paddle shift automatic is equally unobtrusive, expertly delivering power to all four wheels with a nominal 40/60 split.
Though the Flying Spur is 116-pounds lighter than the previous Continental Flying Spur, it still weighs in at 5,451-pounds. That tonnage, plus pot hole taming suspension tuning, might make it hard to ever be called “fun to drive.”
Yet, with the adjustable dampers set to their sportiest mode, we still found the Flying Spur quite agile, with a huge amount of grip and steering that’s very linear and precise.
And, off the line, it lunges to 60 in just 4.5-seconds and streaks to the end of the quarter-mile in 12.8 at 106 miles-per-hour. After throwing you back in your seat at launch, the rest of the trip is just a velvety smooth blur of velocity.
Just as impressive are the brakes, halting this beautiful beast in an average distance of 117-feet from 60.
Performance aside, Bentley is well aware that their owners prefer not to touch anything that is not wrapped in leather, covered in wood, or plated in metal. So buyers of this car will feel right at home behind the Flying Spur’s 2-tone 3-spoke steering wheel.
Like all recent Bentley’s, it elegantly straddles that fine line of being ultra-luxurious without being pretentious.
Though well-crafted, the front seats are not as comfortable as we’ve come accustomed to in a Bentley, but that plays with the chauffer driven image of the Flying Spur.
Those that do prefer to leave the steering wheel, throttle, and brake to someone else, and relax or be entertained in the well-appointed rear seat area, still control everything else thanks to a new touch-screen remote. No need to tell Jeeves to tone down the air conditioning. And you can even program the car’s GPS.
Many custom options are available of course, for the inside as well as the outside, which brings us to our test car’s Damson purple paint. With our offices being located in the same town as the Baltimore Ravens training facility, more than one rubbernecker was straining to see which football star was piloting this budget buster.
The design theme is undoubtedly traditional, but the new Flying Spur sits lower and wider than before, with the grille much more upright.
Body panels are a mix of aluminum and composites, while LED signature lighting keeps things in step with other modern premium sedans.
Standard wheels are 19-inchers, but you can opt for 20’s or these great looking 21’s.
Standard air suspension allows for lowering or raising the car at will, though it lowers automatically as speeds increase.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings, while better than before, still necessitate a Gas Guzzler tax at 12-City, 20-Highway, and 15-Combined; we managed 16.5 miles-per-gallon of Premium in mixed driving.
Now for the reality check. Base pricing for this British brute comes in at a lofty $205,825.
So, regardless of whether your pockets are that deep or not, the Flying Spur does indeed keep its promise. It’s a collection of everything Bentley does best, the performance of the Continental GT, with the luxury of the Mulsanne.
The new Mercedes-Benz S-class may indeed offer more when it comes to high-tech and safety features, but the 2014 Bentley Flying Spur, the fastest Bentley 4-door ever, is a unique animal in the market place; as this style of British luxury performance motoring at its finest can only be found behind the “Winged-B”.
Engine: twin-turbo W12
Torque: 590 lb-ft.
0-60 mph: 4.5 seconds
1/4 mile: 12.8 seconds @ 106 mph
60-0 mph: 117 ft.
EPA: 12 mph city / 20 mph highway