There are few cars that I have gotten into that make me say “wow,” and the Bentley Flying Spur is one of them. Bentley’s new luxury sedan isn’t just the fastest and most powerful four-door that the company has ever produced, it’s a sleekly-styled piece of high-speed automotive jewelry that drives in a grand style that most of its rivals can only dream of.
The Flying Spur is a massive car with a commanding road presence. At first glance there’s a slight resemblance to the Audi A8, which could be considered a second or third cousin considering Bentley’s relationship with Audi. The similarity passes in an instant, though; the Flying Spur’s styling is the epitome of Bentley’s modern styling. If the Mulsanne and the Continental GT had a child, this would be it. A long hood and slick, aerodynamic greenhouse are combined with the signature round headlights, flush-mounted grille and bumper-less front end of the Continental GT to create a car that combines modern and classic elements into a single design. Everything about the Flying Spur is grandly executed, from the “Thunder” gray paint to the optional twenty-one inch wheels that share style with the larger Mulsanne.
The “wow” factor of the exterior styling is enhanced by the gorgeous interior. In keeping with its classic style, Bentley has avoided the trend of electronic instrument panels and stuck with analog gauges. This car is hand-built and it looks like it. Everything from the contrast stitching to the deep pile carpet has a carefully selected, high-quality feeling to it. The back seats are grand, and my test car came with a champagne cooler in the back filled with water bottles. The Flying Spur is intended for passengers just as much as drivers, so the rear seat provides executive-class room and space.
But those are just the extras. Though many people will regard the Flying Spur as primarily a vehicle to be driven in, it is just as much a driver’s car. It is designed to spark enthusiasm from the driver and that is exactly what it does. From the steering mounted shift paddles to the way the electric ignition starter button sounds when awakening the 6.0 liter twin-turbocharged W12 under the hood, this car is designed to stir the senses. An eight-speed automatic transmission puts the power down without drama. With 616 horsepower available through all four wheels, the Flying Spur is capable of 200mph. 0-60 comes up in just over four seconds. Despite its size, the Flying Spur can run with sports cars without breaking a sweat.
Many people ask me what the difference is between a Bentley and a Rolls Royce, other than the six-figure price tags. The Flying Spur makes the distinction clear: Bentley is (and always has been) a driver’s car. You find emotion driving it; the suspension is responsive and engaging, and while it’s comfortable, it’s a far cry from Rolls-Royce’s “magic carpet” ride. These two ultra-luxury cars occupy very different sections of the automotive spectrum in spite of their similar price tags.
About the bottom line. As the flying “B” on the hood should make clear, the Flying Spur isn’t cheap. Pricing starts at $200,500, and with options my test car stickered for $243,835. That’s almost quarter of a million dollars. Which reminds me–I need to get back to work. My wife really liked the Flying Spur and I wouldn’t want to let her down!