Bentley Flying Spur review

We put the Bentley Flying Spur luxury saloon through its paces in Britain

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Find your Bentley Flying Spur
Offers from our trusted partners on this car and its predecessors...
Or are you looking to sell your car?
9/10 sellers got the price they expected
Advertisement

This is the best Bentley yet made under VW ownership. It perfectly fulfils the brief of a sporting luxury saloon with huge power, a decent amount of poise (for a car this size) and incredible refinement. Yet it’s still a Bentley, thanks to imposing looks and an old-meets-new interior. This is the car the new Mercedes S-Class has to beat.

Here's a conundrum for you. If money was no object, would you go for a £225,900 6.8-litre 505bhp Bentley Mulsanne or this, the new Flying Spur at £140,900, with a 6.0-litre W12 engine producing 616bhp?

Of course, Bentley will tell you they appeal to very different customers. But to our eyes, the new Flying Spur is so good, it makes the Mulsanne look and feel old, and a bit superfluous. In fact, the Spur is so good, it sets the luxury saloon standard the new Mercedes S-Class has to beat.

It’s got the quality, for sure – this is a perfectly coiffed cabin with all the trimmings you’d expect: sumptuous leather, deep pile carpets and wonderful wood. Yet it’s also fabulously contemporary in a Bentley sort of way, right down to the bevelled look to some of the controls on the touchscreen.

Okay, so the Mulsanne has the edge on space inside, as you’d expect – it’s 276mm longer although identical in width, while headroom is a tiny bit tight in the Flying Spur if your chauffeur wears a hat. However, boot space is better in the less expensive car.

But Bentleys are all about sporting luxury, and this is where the Spur really delivers. With four-wheel drive you’re never short of grip, nor does the car ever really feel its sizeable 2,475kg kerbweight.

Bentley claims 0-60mph is dispatched in 4.3 seconds, which we can easily believe despite the complete lack of drama when you floor the (beautifully crafted) throttle. You’re just pushed deeper and deeper into the wonderfully comfortable seats. The W12 engine keeps on giving, too, with an enormous 800Nm of torque.

However, we’re looking forward to a V8 version – as in the Bentley Continental, we expect it to liven up the handling a touch and provide a more enticing soundtrack. The W12 sounds just a little bit muted. As is everything – a new acoustic floor makes the Flying Spur an incredibly refined machine whether you’re in the front or back, with an almost total absence of road noise.

The ride quality, meanwhile, is perfectly judged: firm enough to provide feedback, yet pliant enough not to ruffle you. The steering’s pretty good, too. As for styling, it’s a tale of two halves. It’s handsome at the front, but too much like Bentley’s much criticised EXP 9 F SUV concept at the back – not a good thing.

Editor-in-chief

Steve Fowler has been editor-in-chief of Auto Express since 2011 and is responsible for all editorial content across the website and magazine. He has previously edited What Car?, Autocar and What Hi-Fi? and has been writing about cars for the best part of 30 years. 

Most Popular

Government in major U-turn on pick-up truck tax changes
Ford Ranger - side
News

Government in major U-turn on pick-up truck tax changes

HMRC scraps its plan to axe the benefit-in-kind ‘loophole’ for pick-ups, a week after announcing it
19 Feb 2024
Car Deal of the Day: Land Rover Defender looks the business at £324 per month
Defender Hard Top - downhill off road
News

Car Deal of the Day: Land Rover Defender looks the business at £324 per month

The current Defender is a fantastic SUV van for businesses and is our Car Deal of the Day for 20 February
20 Feb 2024
New Citroen C3 Aircross You! 2024 review: a brilliant SUV that’s also a bargain
Citroen C3 Aircross You! - front tracking
Road tests

New Citroen C3 Aircross You! 2024 review: a brilliant SUV that’s also a bargain

Citroen’s entry-level You! Trim reduces the C3 Aircross’s price without sacrificing much in the way of kit or capability
20 Feb 2024