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2020 Bentley Flying Spur: This Grand Tourer Is Still Grand

  • The 2020 Bentley Flying Spur is still one of the most luxurious cars in the world.
  • Enhanced version of Bentley’s W12 twin-turbo engine powers the Flying Spur.
  • Nearly an endless number of bespoke and custom treatments are available.

Bentley has 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? Turns out, The 2020 Bentley Flying Spur weighs 5,373 lbs., or about 2.44 Miatas.

However, 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 aluminum and high-strength steels running throughout the body structure. The car’s lines and surfaces come by way of “aluminum 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.

2020 Bentley Flying Spur.
2020 Bentley Flying Spur. Photo: Bentley Motors.

What Engine Does The Flying Spur Have?

This beast of a ride is powered by a 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 plant that puts out 626 horsepower and 664 lb-ft. of torque. 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.

2020 Bentley Flying Spur
Photo: Bentley Motors.

Steering & Suspension: “Phenomenal Handling”

The suspension is handled via a three-chamber air springs layout that allows you to 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 glossy red finish optional. Go with the gloss black.

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 who am I to argue with them?

2020 Bentley Flying Spur.
Photo: Bentley Motors.

The Flying Spur Seems To Have It All

From the retractable ‘Flying B’ mascot on its proscenium-sized nose; to the pool-table-scope trunk lid; and through the vast cabin between, the 2020 Flying Spur is laden with expensive and heavy appointments. Even the door inserts receive a three-dimensional and diamond-quilted treatment.

“Optimal comfort and style are delivered by new-design fluted leather seats, which feature diamond quilting for the Mulliner Driving Specification,” says Bentley in their press materials. See, you’re not just comfortable in a new Flying Spur, you’re optimally comfortable. For example, the panoramic glass sunroof stretches the full length of the Flying Spur, while the mood lighting helps if the view of the sky is not to your liking on a given day.

The Royal Treatment

There you sit in a cabin trimmed with the finest leather, the best-handcrafted wood, entertained 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.

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.

2020 Bentley Flying Spur interior layout.
2020 Bentley Flying Spur interior layout. Photo: Bentley Motors.

Bentley Flying Spur: Testing & Development

And if attaching the name Bentley to that much tech isn’t enough, the company tested the bejeebers out of the 2020 Flying Spur to make sure it would all work. The new Flying Spur covered over one million miles with 142 different prototype and pre-production test cars. Of the million miles, 507,000 of them were done on public roads and another 7,460 were done at the Flying Spur’s top speed of 207 mph.

In total, Bentley’s engineers went to 18 countries, toured across four continents, and worked in both subzero and scorching temperatures alike. “The most advanced Bentley ever built,” they say of the new Flying Spur. And who am I to argue with them?

2020 Bentley Flying Spur
The 2020 Bentley Flying Spur endured over one million miles of testing. Photo: Bentley Motors.

How Much Is The 2020 Bentley Flying Spur?

Plan for at least $220,000 for your new Flying Spur. However, dear boy, you must know that each Flying Spur can be uniquely configured. A wide selection of exterior and interior paint colors; leather hides and wood veneers and contrast stitching; a nearly endless array of personalized options through Mulliner.

They say a Bentley is the most bespoke car in the word. And who am I to argue with them?

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

2020 Bentley Flying Spur Gallery

Photos & Source: Bentley Motors.

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