Bentley delivers a super-luxury limo with the heart — and fun — of a sports car.
The release of the bold Bentayga SUV was unquestionably the biggest news out of the house of Bentley in some time. It broke new ground for the brand and redefined the concept of a luxury SUV. All the while, however, Bentley has continued to expand its bread-and-butter Flying Spur lineup, starting with the entry-level (and I use the term very loosely) Flying Spur V8 on up to the ghastly Flying Spur W12 S. The latter cranks out a supercar-beating 626 hp and 605 lb.-ft. of torque to rocket the land yacht to a top speed of 202 mph.
Between those two lies the potential sleeper of the lineup: the Bentley Flying Spur V8 S, powered by a twin-turbo V8 that makes 521 hp and 502 lb.-ft. of torque. The overall tweaks may be subtle, but the results are significant: a uniquely sporty driving experience for a super-luxe limo.
By goosing an extra 21 ponies and 15 lb.-ft. of torque from the base 4.0-liter V8 engine, Bentley has found the perfect power-to-weight ratio for the S model, making it feel more nimble than any other four-door Bentley. Recalibrated suspension and Bentley’s all-wheel drive system enhance the sticky, agile feel as the 5,500-pound Flying Spur V8 S hustles around sharp turns with surprising grace. Set in “S” mode, the sharp throttle response had me pinned to the two-tone, diamond-quilted leather seat, enjoying the throaty growl of the engine.
The pulse-pounding performance is mirrored by pleasantly aggressive exterior styling heavy on glossy black, from the grille to the rear diffuser to the 21-inch, split-spoke wheels that show off the bright red brake calipers that stop this beast. These touches all transform the Flying Spur’s already muscular styling into an even wider, meaner stance that lets other billionaires know you mean business. Inside, expensive hides, machined metal and slick piano-black wood insets create a cabin that marries old-world charm with contemporary chic.
I’ve had the good fortune of driving quite a few Bentleys over the years (it’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it), from range-topping $350,000 sedans to track-ready, high-performance coupes. The Flying Spur V8 S isn’t the priciest in its class, nor is it the fastest; but it may be the best all-around Bentley for the buck. Speaking of which, the base V8 S will set you back about 205,000 of them; my test car featured an additional $32,855 in options, ranging from $7,785 Naim sound system to $500 for deep-pile front and rear
Having spent some quality time in the all-around superb Flying Spur V8 S, I have a hard time justifying the additional $100,000 for the flagship Bentley Mulsanne Speed sedan. Not that I would mind facing such a conundrum, of course. :: bentleymotors.com