A luxury limousine that's also great to drive
At a glance
- New price: £134,555 - £171,855
- Used price: £49,515 - £133,090 Explore used prices
- Huge presence, pace and prestige
- Effortless performance, especially in W12
- Acres of room, an excellent VIP express
- Dated multimedia system and controls
- Newer rivals pack way more tech
- W12 offers few advantages over V8
Considering it’s an entry-level model, few people would ever need more than a Bentley Flying Spur. It occupies a rarified place in the market – it’s considerably more expensive than supremely capable limos, such as the Audi A8, BMW 7 Series, Jaguar XJ and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. But is something of a bargain compared with the similarly-sized Rolls-Royce Ghost.
So, that places the Flying Spur in a very good position, then? It does – but Bentley isn’t resting on its laurels. It’s been subjected to continuous improvements since launch in 2013, and comes in two varieties: the V8- and W12-engined models.
Although the engines and transmissions are bristling with technology, the body and interior retain plenty of olde world Bentley charm. The company describes the Flying Spur as having ‘effortless driveability’ and ‘exquisite luxury’, and we won’t argue with that. But is it enough with so many cheaper alternatives vying for your money?
Bentley Flying Spur styling and engineering
Few would argue against this being an extremely handsome car. The styling echoes earlier generations of the company’s saloons, with carefully sculpted flanks, beautiful detailing around the front and rear, and that all-important meshed radiator grille.
The good-looking nose houses weapons-grade firepower. We’ll start with the 6.0-litre twin turbocharged W12 version. With 625hp on tap (and 635hp in S form), this is a limousine that will keep your average supercar honest, at least until the bends.
Performance figures are impressive. It’ll do 0-62mph in 4.6 seconds and powers on to a maximum speed of 200mph. Given that most rivals are limited to 155mph, that gives Bentley owners pub-bragging rights.
The V8 isn’t too shabby, either. The 4.0-litre twin-turbo develops 507hp in standard form, which rises to 528hp for the V8 S. That’s good for 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds and a maximum of 185mph.
What these figures don’t tell you is just how comfortable and effortless the Flying Spur is to drive. Despite its sporting image, Bentley has managed to make the ride as pillow-soft as possible, thanks to air suspension. The seats as comfortable as they can be and the interior a benchmark for luxury.
Bentley Flying Spur equipment
Equipment-wise, the Flying Spur offers plenty. There’s a touchscreen multimedia system with sat-nav and mobile connectivity including WiFi. It looks distinctly off-the-pace, even compared with parent company Volkswagen Group’s offerings in much more modest models – it can’t be long before it gets an overhaul in this department.
If you plan to spend a lot of time relaxing in the rear seats, a hand-held remote control is available, and this controls the infotainment, heating and ventilation functions. An eight-channel, eight-speaker audio system is installed as standard, but you can go for a more powerful one kilowatt system if you so desire. At extra cost, of course.
That’s the case with individual rear seats, the Champagne cooler, and all manner of other fixtures and fittings. Check the Equipment section, below, for a full run down of what you get with your Flying Spur.
The Parkers Verdict
The Bentley Flying Spur might be getting on in a number of departments, but it is still an amazing car, and the world would be a duller place without it. It may be based on the previous-generation Continental GT’s platform, and its engine and transmission options are shared with it, but it has a bruising character all of its own.
With four-wheel drive offered across the range, it’s more of a driver’s car than its gargantuan dimensions would lead you to expect. So, it comes down to whether you want the fast and thirsty V8, or the ballistic and dipsomaniac W12. Either way, you’re getting all the road presence you’ll ever need to clear the outside lane of a busy M1.
But it’s not without its faults – the infotainment is shockingly off the pace, and well behind where it needs to be. Given that a Volkswagen Golf is so far ahead of what’s offered here, and that you can’t even sync your iPhone to it easily, or connect USB devices to it, and you’ll see this isn’t good enough. We’d also argue that the handling isn’t as precise as it could be – a fact that is someway compensated by excellent ride quality.
Would we recommend one? Yes, the Bentley Flying Spur makes a great statement, and makes its occupants feel very special indeed. Not a rational choice, then, but a very easily justified one.