Bentley Flying Spur (2013-2019) review

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

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

Price
£177,855 to £254,555
  • 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.

Best luxury cars on sale right now

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. In regular trim, the new 4.0-litre V8 6.0-litre W12 has 500bhp and 660NM of torque and can hit 62mph in just 5.2 seconds. It’s easily fast enough, but many buyers will overlook it for the astonishing W12 with its 616bhp, 800Nm of torque and 200mph top speed - incredible for a car weighing 2.5 tonnes.

Perhaps the best compromise of all is the car that sits between these two variants: the V8 S. Its breathed-on V8 puts out 521bhp and 680Nm from just 1,750rpm - enough to take the 0-62mph time down to less than five seconds and nudge the top speed to perfectly adequate 190mph.

When you are not thrashing them, both engines are quiet 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 Mercedes 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.

The V8 S gets a reprofiled set-up that keeps the body better in check through the twisty stuff, without too much of a compromise on ride quality. There’s no disguising the Flying Spur’s bulk, though; sudden changes of direction aren’t greeted with much enthusiasm and you can still feel the weight shifting around. 

MPG, CO2 and Running Costs

Let’s face it: if you can afford a car like the Flying Spur (Bentley says its customers have seven other vehicles on average), then fuel economy isn’t going to be your top concern. The inconvenience of regular fill-ups is more likely to be an issue, though, and in this respect, the V8 makes a bit more sense.

The W12 can switch off six of its cylinders when they’re not needed, in a bid to save fuel, but its official figures of 332g/km and 19.8mpg give a range of less than 400 miles per tank. The V8 - which also features cylinder deactivation tech - manages 25.9mpg and 254g/km, so you should get around 100 more miles per tank.

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.

Standard kit upgrades on the V8 S include a different front grille design, a gloss-black rear diffuser and a contrasting material and colour down the centre of the headlining.

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.

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    4.0 V8 4dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £153,900

Most Economical

  • Name
    3.0 V6 Hybrid 4dr Auto [City Spec]
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £180,400

Fastest

  • Name
    6.0 W12 4dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £181,400
Senior test editor

Dean has been part of the Auto Express team for more than 20 years, and has worked across nearly all departments, starting on magazine production, then moving to road tests and reviews. He's our resident van expert, but covers everything from scooters and motorbikes to supercars and consumer products.

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