The Bentley Flying Spur is one of the most luxurious cars in the world and will remain so.
Bentley’s hand-built engine is designed to maximize power but minimize cabin intrusion.
A complete customization program is available for those who want a bespoke Flying Spur.
Bentley just rolled out the latest version of its Flying Spur and man, does this thing look like the business. Is it just me or has Bentley been getting more racy lately? They seem to be getting in touch with their inner hot-rodder. And yes, the 2020 Bentley Flying Spur is big; yes, it’s heavy and yes, there are more creature comforts than any hot-rodder would consider.
But tell me this thing doesn’t look like it can haul the mail?
Not Your Average Sedan
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first, shall we? The 2020 Bentley Flying Spur is over 16 feet long, just under 6.5 feet wide, and has a wheelbase over three feet longer than a Miata. It’s big, but the worst news is it weighs in at 5,400 lbs. The weight of five Lotus Sevens. Five!
But let’s put that aside.
Bentley Flying Spur: When Private Jets Don’t Exactly Fly
Anybody who owns one of these things is never going to AutoX it (and if you do call me). What you are going to do is cruise the Ville and, on occasion, take it to your weekend place a couple hundred miles from your condo. And the Flying Spur will most assuredly do that, and do so with great aplomb. Try not to think of it as a very luxurious and powerful car, think of it as a private jet that flies very low.
The 2020 Flying Spur rides on a new platform with a combination of aluminium and high-strength steels running throughout the body structure. The car’s lines and surfaces come by way of “aluminium super-forming,” a process first utilized for the new Continental GT. Bentley aficionados may recognize design elements here in the new Flying Spur that hark back to the 1957 S1 Continental Flying Spur.
Here’s a cute feature: “LED matrix headlamps allow the driver to maintain main beam all the time, automatically cutting a hole in the beam around other vehicles to avoid dazzling other drivers.” So cheeky! As if just the mere presence of a Flying Spur would not be enough to dazzle.
[bctt tweet=”Try not to think of it as a very luxurious and powerful car, think of it as a private jet that flies very low.” username=”Automoblog”]
How Powerful Is The Bentley Flying Spur?
Now we get to the good stuff! This beast of a ride is powered by a 6.0-liter, twin-turbocharged, direct inter-cooled W12 plant that puts out 626 horsepower and 664 lb-ft. of torque. That is about on par with an ocean-going tug. That is about on par with a Case M Series bulldozer. It’s enough to propel the Flying Spur from a standstill to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, and to a top speed of 207 mph.
Bentley’s ‘W’ configuration means the engine is shorter than an equivalent V12 in the interest of cabin space and weight distribution, both essential in a car this big. The engine, hand-built in Crewe, uses the same eight-speed ZF dual-clutch transmission as the Continental GT. Gears seven and eight (i.e. the overdrive ones) are designed for “economic grand touring,” says Bentley.
Torque distribution varies according to the Drive Dynamics Mode program. In Comfort and Bentley modes, over 350 lb-ft. of torque is sent to the front axle to increase grip and handling. By contrast, Sport mode limits front axle torque to about 206 lb-ft., maintaining a higher level at the rear. Power is managed across each axle by Bentley’s torque-vectoring-by-brake system.
Steering & Suspension: “Phenomenal Handling”
The new Flying Spur features Electronic All-Wheel Steering (a first on a Bentley), mated to Bentley’s Active All-Wheel Drive and Dynamic Ride systems. At lower speeds, Electronic All-Wheel Steering guides the rear wheels in the opposite direction of the front ones. This has the effect of shortening the wheelbase and reducing the turning circle. At higher speeds, the system steers the rear wheels in the same direction as the front ones to make lane changes more seamless.
For the Dynamic Ride feature, a 48-volt system controls an electronic actuator unit which manages the stiffness of the anti-roll bar, changing it on demand to combat cornering forces and keep the Flying Spur level. When you package the all-wheel steering, all-wheel drive, and dynamic ride systems together, the Crewe company says to expect “phenomenal handling and ride.”
And I’ll agree with them on that.
Suspension is handled via a three-chamber air springs layout that allows you adjust things between a limousine-style ride comfort at one end and sporting at the other. The Flying Spur has the largest iron brakes in the world: 420 millimeters or about the size of a medium pizza. Front and rear calipers carry Bentley branding (natch) and come in gloss black with a gloss red finish optional. Go with the gloss black.
The Royal Treatment
Meanwhile, there you sit in a cabin trimmed with the finest leather, the best handcrafted wood, infotained by systems that would make Alan Turing blush; and cosseted by enough safety and performance systems to ensure your arrival. No need to shout, dear boy. They’ve even worked the exhaust system with an adaptive tailpipe control valve that provides a more discreet note for chauffeur-driven occupants.
The dash is dominated by a high-definition display the size of a laptop screen (12.3 inches). It handles user inputs as well as being reconfigurable to your desires. It can be a single display, split 2:1 or can show three different functions at the same time. It’s really the focal point of Bentley’s Rotating Display which is available for the new Flying Spur. Diamond knurling along the rotary switches, air vents, and clock make for a nice touch of luxury.
All About The Jams
There’s a new Touch Screen Remote for the rear seat passengers as well. It integrates into the console but can be removed for remote use to control a million different things: the blinds, rear seat massage function, rear climate control, and mood lighting. You like music? Then go with the Bang & Olufsen 1,500 watt, 16-speaker system with illuminated grilles; or, if you’re Pete Townshend levels of hearing impaired, opt for the Naim for Bentley 2,200 watt, 19-speaker system with Active Bass Transducers built into the front seats.
There’s Traffic Assist, City Assist and Blind Spot Warning; night vision and a heads-up display to help you focus on the road ahead. The Top View Camera makes parking the big Bentley much easier. That’s if you decide to park yourself, because the new Flying Spur also has a self-parking feature.
And if even that is not enough for you, introduce yourself to Bentley Mulliner Personalization. You don’t buy anything off the rack, why should your Bentley Flying Spur be any different? Exterior colors, interior leather grades and colors; stitching and headliners. The new Flying Spur is as customizable as the drawing room at your weekend place, limited only by your imagination and your (hopefully impressively fat) wallet.
The new Flying Spur is available to order this fall in 17 different colors. Deliveries will begin early next year.
Tony Borroz has spent his entire life racing antique and sports cars. He is the author of Bricks & Bones: The Endearing Legacy and Nitty-Gritty Phenomenon of The Indy 500, available in paperback or Kindle format. Follow his work on Twitter: @TonyBorroz.