A Car Built for Royalty: Bentley’s Flying Spur refines its style
When The new Bentley was launched 13 years ago, the classic coupe wore the brand’s historic Continental label with high style. In fact, the coupe’s design is timeless enough that it still attracts plenty of well-heeled buyers after more than a decade without apparent change.
When the Continental was stretched to a four-door to broaden the model line, acquiring Bentley’s legendary Flying Spur model name, I wasn’t impressed. Flying Spur was a model that was historically coach-built for a select group of buyers who demanded a more rakish sedan than Bentley’s stoic R type. And the new car’s roofline was obviously heightened to accommodate proper ingress and egress.
Test of Time
It’s entirely possible that the styling accommodation for the two added doors grew on me, since nothing dramatic happened to the original Flying Spur design. But I like to think the subtle new front styling, with LEDs borrowed from Bentley’s Mulsanne flagship and the lower fascia with its long chrome highlight, gives the latest Bentley a bit more presence.
Rear styling, from the massive C-pillar to fender sculpturing, is quite similar to Bentley’s Mulsanne, and that’s an impressive feat since the Flying Spur is nearly $100,000 less for the price of admission. And after a week in the Spur, I could find little reason to wish for the more expensive Bentley Mulsanne. Our model’s 616-horsepower, 12-cylinder engine made acceleration as effortless as thinking about it, and handling was nearly as responsive as the Continental coupe.
First Class Passage
Bentley easily falls into the automotive category known as “ultra luxury,” a moniker that’s applied since mere “luxury” has been stretched to include compact cars carrying a premium badge. And if specifications were all a buyer of six-figure vehicles cared about, Mercedes-Benz would love to compare its Maybach model to the Flying Spur. But for when others gawk or do a double take when you cruise by, that’s far more likely to occur in a Bentley than a Benz.
If you don’t care what others think of your automotive decision, you’re still in good company when inside the Flying Spur. From the quilted leather seats to the abundance of rare woods, hand stitching, and iconic chrome vents operated with organ-stop levers, you know you’re ensconced in a car built for royalty. The only other big sedan that has as much panache inside and out is a Rolls-Royce, and there’s little coincidence that both British marques know more about aristocracy than their rivals.
The Bentley Flying Spur was just the ticket for our annual family visit during the holidays, and like flying in private jet aircraft, it’s an easy lifestyle to embrace. It’s even better if the princely cost of admission is of little concern. Brian Douglas
2016 Bentley Flying Spur
TYPE: Front engine, all-wheel-drive
ENGINE: 6.0 liter, Turbocharged W-12
HORSEPOWER: 616 @ 6,000-RPM
TORQUE: 590 lb.ft. @ 2,000-RPM
BASE PRICE: $222,300
PRICE AS TESTED: $263,375
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 12-city, 20-highway, 15-combined