The Bentley Flying Spur is the car for game shots who like luxury, style and speed from their vehicles.
It is testament to the good sense of Bentley’s product planners that, ever since the two-door Continental GT was introduced, it has proved the backbone of the company’s global sales success, which saw it break the 10,000 barrier in 2013 for the first time in its 85-year history. A four door – the Continental Flying Spur – was introduced in 2006, but almost apologetically, and it never sold in terribly big numbers – in the home market at least.
The new Bentley Flying Spur is designed to change all that. New from the ground up, it wins right from the start by being a very great deal more attractive than the old car. This time it looks like it was in the designers’ minds right from the outset. This is a handsome, understated car and, in a sober colour, it is as sharp and as smart as a Huntsman suit.
Bentley has had its interiors absolutely spot on for a while, and the new Bentley Flying Spur doesn’t let the side down. Only Bentley’s own £100,000 more expensive Mulsanne gets the balance between technology and tradition even closer to perfection.
The only criticism I might have had of the old one – that the satnav was starting to look so old that large sections of the map were still coloured pink – has been addressed. It even moves the game on a bit for rear-seat passengers, with a smartphone-style controller allowing you to adjust ventilation to the optimum temperature for watching the 10-inch TVs mounted on the back of the front seats.
I was fortunate enough to drive one of the very last of the old models across France last summer. I was gobsmacked by how much like a very large Subaru Impreza it felt when you drove it really hard. And the new one is still an astonishingly fast car, capable of no less than 200mph, and feeling like it wouldn’t take terribly long to get there.
However, it is much more refined than any car has any right to be, isolating one from road and wind as if the outside world is being played on a particularly high-definition projection system. The downside is that it no longer makes you want to drive it like your teenage son would. On reflection, that’s probably not a bad thing…
So the new Bentley Flying Spur is a lovely vehicle and, if you’re fortunate enough to be in the market for one, deserves a place in the garage alongside the Range Rover. Most interestingly of all, it bodes very well for the new Bentley SUV, due in 2015.
Specifications for the Bentley Flying Spur 6.0 W12 625PS Auto
Top speed: 200mph
0-62mph: 4.3 seconds
CO2 emission: 343 g/km