Bentley Flying Spur review

Our Rating: 
2013 model
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

Hand-built Bentley Flying Spur is a luxury saloon with incredible levels of performance and luxury

Huge performance, supreme luxury, Britsh built
Huge running costs, Merc S-Class just as comfortable

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The Bentley Flying Spur is the brand's ‘small’ four-door limousine. It uses an extended version of the Continental GT’s platform, so it comes with four-wheel drive and Bentley’s 6.0-litre W12 and new 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engines. Regardless which model you go for, performance is stunning – the larger-engined car is capable of 200mph.

As with all Bentleys, the Flying Spur is beautifully finished inside with the finest wood and leather trim, so occupants can be carried in absolute comfort at high speeds. The downsides? Well, prices start from over £130,000 and running costs are very high.

Engines, performance and drive


On the road, the Flying Spur is quiet and relaxing when you want it to be, yet it handles surprisingly well for such a big car. The new 4.0-litre V8 6.0-litre W12 has 500bhp and 660NM of torque and can hit 60mph in just 4.9 seconds. It’s easily fast enough but most buyers should overlook it for the astonishing W12 with its 616bhp, 800Nm of torque and 200mph top speed, incredible for a 2.5 ton car.

When you are not trashing them, both engines are quite when cruising at motorway speeds, while the eight speed automatic gearbox slushes ratios together seamlessly.

The ride is very good too, though the adjustable air suspension lacks that final layer of polish you get with the S-Class, something which becomes more obvious on the larger 20-inch alloy wheels, which send bumps and shakes into the cabin and causes the steering wheel to wobble in your hands slightly as the car’s body flexes.

MPG, CO2 and running costs


If you can afford £136,000 for the V8 or the £10,000 premium for the W12, fuel bills aren’t really going to be a concern.

Pulling over all the time to fill up may be - and being capable of 25.9mpg instead of 19mpg, you will have to do that almost a third fewer times in the V8 than the W12.

There will be less to pay for road tax, and less guilt, as the V8 car emits 254g/km of carbon dioxide as opposed to 343g/km for the twelve-cycliner model.

Interior, design and technology


Bentley has a distinctive style, and the Flying Spur sticks to the proven formula. The Flying Spur is 486mm longer than the Continental GT to make room for the extra pair of doors, and the end result looks smart.

While the previous generation car looked liked a stretched version of the coupe, the new model’s more unique design with its bold angular rear haunches, is far more distinct. And to further distance the limousine from the GT, Bentley decided to drop ‘Continental’ from the Flying Spur’s name.

Inside, the cabin is as luxurious as you’d expect, with deep carpets, soft leather and beautifully finished trim. The Mercedes S-Class may win the technology war but really, when it comes to craftsmanship and sheer panache the Bentley’s interior feels bespoke rather than off-the-peg.

Practicality, comfort and boot space


The Flying Spur is a big car. V8 models come with a three-seater rear bench as standard, though you can upgrade to the two-seater set-up of the W12. Whatever your choice, there’s lots of room in the back and the front, while all occupants get their own climate controls, and there’s an optional rear entertainment system. The boot is big too, though not quite as large as on a Mercedes S-Class.

Reliability and Safety


The Flying Spur has been on sale for a while now, and the running gear is used across the Bentley range, so any problems have been ironed out. Standard four-wheel drive will help traction in slippery conditions, while stability control is standard, too.

Last updated: 12 Jun, 2014