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- Highs Choice of strong engines, stately exterior design, luxurious cabin.
- Lows Poor fuel economy, dated infotainment system, hefty price tag.
- Verdict The Flying Spur is powerful, elegant, and delivers a luxurious experience for driver and passengers.
Bentley’s first all-new model after its sale to Volkswagen Group and separation from Rolls-Royce was the sleek Continental GT of 2004. The British automaker followed it up in the 2006 model year with the Flying Spur, a four-door sedan version of the Continental. Based on a large Audi platform, Bentley's "entry-level" model comes with standard all-wheel-drive, the choice of V-8 or W-12 power, and is aimed directly at the well-equipped Mercedes-Benz S-class. The Flying Spur was treated to a facelift for 2009, an update for 2014, and minor changes for the 2016 model year.
What's New for 2017?
The Flying Spur goes into this year with a "base” V-8 model and a more powerful W-12 engine choice. There are also new S variants of both the eight- and 12-cylinder models with extra power, dynamic suspension, and a variety of sporty cosmetic changes, inside and out.
- Base: $191,725
- S: $207,725
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Flying Spur is available with either a 500-hp V-8 or a 616-hp W-12 engine. Specifying the S model will get power output increased to 521 or 626 horsepower, respectively. In both cases, power is routed through an eight-speed automatic transmission to standard all-wheel drive. In addition to extra power, the Flying Spur S models feature revised air suspension and stability-control systems for sportier handling. Like Bentleys from any era, this one excels at smooth, effortless high-speed travel. The lighter Flying Spur V-8 S feels more agile than the W-12 S. It sprints to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds and feels alert accelerating from any speed. But despite 60 percent of its torque going to the rear wheels, understeer persists at the limit, though the body corners flat through curves.
EPA fuel-economy testing and reporting procedures have changed over time. For the latest numbers on current and older vehicles, visit the EPA’s website and select Find & Compare Cars.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
With its 10-foot long wheelbase, full leather interior, hand-stitching, and forests of genuine (sustainable) wood, the Flying Spur's interior is more inviting than a private jet’s. Measuring 62 decibels at 70 mph, it's one of the quietest sedans you can buy. It's hard to imagine a luxury or convenience feature that isn't included as standard equipment, but as always, Bentley is more than happy to meet practically any request a buyer can dream up. Options from the Mulliner customization division include a refrigerated bottle cooler with flutes and bottle-stopper for the rear seats, a large array of veneers for interior trim, a sterling silver atomizer, hide-trimmed storage boxes for rear passengers, and Mulliner signature quilting for center consoles, seat bolsters, and door panels. The plush-carpeted trunk's capacity is a generous 17 cubic feet.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Flying Spur has been on the market for 11 years, not unusual for a high-end, low-volume sedan, but as a result, the Bentley does not necessarily have all the latest tech accoutrements found in lesser sedans. It lacks a USB port, for example. But it does come with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, navigation, Bluetooth, and an eight-speaker stereo with satellite radio. Options include a 13-speaker Naim audio system and a rear-seat entertainment center with two video screens.
Safety Features and Crash Test Ratings
Some older vehicles are still eligible for coverage under a manufacturer's Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program. For more information visit our guide to every manufacturer's CPO program.