Motoring expert Chris Walsh test drives the new model…
One thing I particularly enjoy about the upper end of the Bentley range is the way they continue that wonderful sense of elegance and grace that is synonymous with every ‘Big Bentley’ seen over the last 95 years. The most recent example to maintain this long-standing tradition has arrived and it certainly does not disappoint.
One thing that has changed, however, is the way Flying Spur customers are encouraged to personalise and individualise their purchase to help make sure that no two Flying Spurs will ever be the same. To achieve this, a range of 17 classic exterior paint colours has been complemented by an extended paint range of over 100, to help make that arriving statement. My personal recommendation is ‘Damson’; a rich hue inspired by the extremely rare and ultra-exclusive purple diamonds.
But customers wishing to extend the exclusivity beyond any reasonable doubt can choose to include the ‘Mulliner Driving Specification’. This includes five additional hides, expanding the number of available shades to 17, and five further wood veneers. Bentley’s traditional diamond quilting is incorporated in the seats and door panels, together with an indented leather headlining and embroidered Bentley wings to the headrests. Some very attractive 21-inch twopiece five-spoke alloy wheels in painted or polished finish complete the truly unique Mulliner suite of options.
However you decide to spec your Flying Spur, the sumptuous interior on offer is sure to satisfy even the most demanding of customers, as class-leading entertainment and information technologies are married with traditional handcrafted materials and stunning contemporary design to create the ultimate luxury cabin.
The interior designers, together with the craftsmen and women of Bentley’s renowned woodshop, have applied the finest wood veneers to finish the cabin of the new Flying Spur. Utilising almost 10 square meters of sustainably sourced natural wood per car, the Flying Spur features a choice of stunning veneers to the fascia panels, consoles, waistrails and picnic tables. All of these have been crafted entirely by hand, cured for 72 hours and then clear-lacquered to enhance the natural beauty contained within.
To complete the luxurious and opulent cabin, the roof lining and pillars are trimmed in natural leather over layers of foam to harmonise the touch and feel of every part of the cabin. Electrically operated rear-side blinds add a touch of privacy to rear-seated occupants, who may also wish to benefit from a wellhidden bottle cooler that will keep the champagne and glasses perfectly chilled.
The styling of the new Flying Spur blends a touch of the old with the new to complete a combined design character. The older, elegant element is reflected by a lower, wider appearance with sharp lines and gently curvaceous surfaces, while the more modern angle arrives in the form of precise feature lines and a muscular rear haunch to give the Flying Spur a more aggressive stance.
At the front of the car, an upright chrome grille sits between the pairs of jewel-like LED headlamps. Emphasising the lower, wider stance, the outer lamps are the larger of the two. Beneath the front grille, the lower intake is now full width with no vertical divisions, but instead has a chromed horizontal accent that completes the dramatic face of the new Flying Spur.
At the rear, a longer and lower boot lid lends a more swept appearance to the side profile. Horizontal single ellipse LED tail lamps combine with a new interpretation of the Bentley ‘Horse Shoe’ feature line, now running the full width of the car and encapsulating a graceful concave section.
Style is replaced with power when we consider the most powerful engine Bentley has ever made. The 6.0-litre, twin turbocharged, 48-valve W12 is the natural choice to power what also becomes the fastest ever four-door Bentley to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. Effortlessly delivering 616 bhp at 6,000 rpm and a staggering 800 Nm of torque from only 2000 rpm, the W12’s improved torque management, turbocharger control, driveability and emissions performance all result in a marked improvement of low speed responsiveness.
Coupled to the W12 is the very latest eight-speed, quick-shift automatic transmission from ZF that feeds power to all four wheels. Keeping the engine in its most efficient state is key and this gearbox contributes to an overall improvement in fuel consumption (19.2 mpg) and CO2 emissions (343 g/ km) of more than 13 per cent over the outgoing model – impressive figures for a 12-cylinder ultra-luxury beauty.
At A Glance
Model: Bentley Flying Spur
Priced From: £140,900
Powerplant: 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged W12
Drivetrain: Continuous all-wheel drive
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Power: 616 bhp at 6,000 rpm
Torque: 800 Nm at 2,000 rpm
Weight: 2.475 kg
0-60 mph: 4.3 seconds
Top Speed: 200 mph
Combined MPG: 19.2
CO2 emission: 343 g/km