Two hundred grand is simply too much for bland. That was my feeling about the previous generation Bentley Continental Flying Spur. Although opulent inside and blisteringly capable on the road, the big sedan lacked the visual presence to match its hefty price tag. Since its 2006 debut, it has essentially been squeaking by on de facto nameplate cachet (read: not just another S-Class or 7 Series). Now, with a few strokes of a designer’s pen and some choice kinks in its sheet metal, the all-new Bentley Flying Spur (the “Continental” moniker is also gone) finally lives up to its potential – and its price tag – as an elite luxury sedan with appropriate visual gravitas.
That said, design revisions to the Flying Spur are far from earth-shattering; in fact, you’d be forgiven for hardly noticing the car’s newness in photos. Slotted roughly $100,000 beneath the range-topping Mulsanne sedan, the Flying Spur borrows several design cues from the big Bentley, most notably its more pronounced rear haunches. A crisper side character line, shorter greenhouse, and wraparound tail lamps all accentuate this important new focal point. The cumulative effect is a sleeker, more powerful profile with a sense of forward thrust.
A host of mechanical upgrades also appears aimed at the Flying Spur’s backseat dwellers. The car’s complex suspension system has been completely overhauled for increased softness. An all-new exhaust system, acoustic glass, and sound-dampening paneling reportedly reduce interior noise by 40% – the perfect conditions for enjoying the new LCD infotainment screens mounted to the front seatbacks. These passenger-oriented amenities seem to tip the balance of power from Bentley’s traditional driver orientation to passenger comfort – no small feat given the Flying Spur’s mind-boggling power and performance capabilities (see “By the Numbers”). The new Spur is still a bonafide boulevard bomber. Now it’s one with the style to match!
Dept. of the Interior
Alongside upgrades and innovations, Bentley maintains signature interior flourishes like its bull’s-eye fascia air vents with chrome organ stop controls and its custom Breitling timepiece.
By the Numbers
Sticker $200,500 (base MSRP)
Under the Hood 6.0-liter W-12
Curb Weight 5,500 lbs.
Horsepower 616 hp
Torque 590 lb-ft
0-to-60 4.3 seconds
Etc. 5 (layers of clear lacquer applied by hand to each piece of wood veneer)