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- Highs High-class cabin, stately exterior styling, surprisingly athletic chassis.
- Lows Hefty entry price, horrifying fuel-economy estimates, driver-assistance tech costs extra.
- Verdict Even as the entry point to the Bentley sedan lineup, the Flying Spur is still dripping in elegance and offers undeniable curb appeal.
If you're among the few who consider a Porsche Panamera or a Mercedes-Benz S-class too dime-a-dozen, the 2020 Bentley Flying Spur should be at the top of your list. Everything here—from the twin-turbocharged 12-cylinder engine to the richly appointed cabin—is uncompromised in its quality and craftsmanship, which is how Bentley can justify the car's starting price. While it's true that this luxury limousine is merely the entry point to the world of Bentley—the larger and vastly more expensive Mulsanne is the next step up—the experience it provides is wholly beau monde.
What's New for 2020?
Bentley's entry-level sedan—if you can even call it that—is new for 2020 and channels the brand's recently revamped Continental GT with updated styling, enhanced luxuries, and modern technology.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
Bentley's ultrarich customers can choose from one of several curated themes, such as Cool Harmony, Storm Noir, or Alter Ego when ordering their Flying Spur, but we'd suggest going with a fully bespoke build to make it uniquely yours. A seemingly endless array of exterior colors and styling choices await you as you take part in the Bentley Mulliner customization program. The same goes for interior appointments, which can include several different types of wood, different-colored leather, and polished metal accents. Upgrading from the standard City Specification to Touring Specification adds several driver-assistance features, and there's even an optional refrigerated compartment to keep your champagne cool.
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
For now, all Flying Spurs come with an eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive, and Bentley's powerful twin-turbocharged W-12 engine that makes 626 horsepower. A 542-hp V-8 engine will join the lineup later on. With the 12-cylinder under the hood, Bentley claims the Flying Spur will leap to 60 mph in just 3.7 seconds, a figure we expect will prove conservative. Once we get the chance to test one ourselves, we'll update this story with results. We were able to take the new model for a brief drive near Monaco, where we found the Flying Spur to be a far more athletic driver than we anticipated. Credit for that agility must go to the sedan's adaptive suspension and rear-wheel-steering system.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The Flying Spur's fuel-economy estimates from the EPA look as though they're for a pickup truck rather than a sedan, earning 12 mpg city, 19 mpg highway, and 15 mpg combined. The forthcoming V-8-powered variant may offer slightly better ratings, but we're not expecting a miracle. The Flying Spur's chief rival—the Rolls-Royce Ghost—doesn't fare any better here, but the Mercedes-Maybach S560 managed to earn a 25-mpg highway estimate, making it a better choice for those looking to conserve fuel.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Sumptuous leather, genuine wood trim, and real metal accents line the Flying Spur's interior. In the front or back, there's plenty of space for adults to stretch out and enjoy the luxurious environs. Bentley's interior designers managed to preserve the brand's prim and proper styling while incorporating modern tech features. A remote touchscreen controller mounted to the rear of the center console allows rear-seat riders to adjust certain things without asking the driver for assistance. For instance, you can use it to open and close the window shades, adjust the cabin climate, and activate the rear-seat massagers. A generously sized trunk offers plenty of space for luggage, cases of champagne, or a day's worth of impulse shopping on Rodeo Drive.
Infotainment and Connectivity
A large 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen is nicely situated between large swaths of wood trim on the Flying Spur's dashboard. For a price, Bentley will swap the static infotainment screen with a rotating display that will—as you may have guessed—rotate the screen into the dashboard and bring up a wood panel featuring three analog dials (an outside-temperature gauge, a clock, and a compass). Passengers can connect to the Wi-Fi hotspot, and those with compatible smartphones will enjoy the Spur's Apple CarPlay integration. Bentley provides a 10-speaker stereo system standard but will install one of two premium audio systems for more coin. Buyers may upgrade to either the 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen setup or the 19-speaker Naim system with illuminated speaker grilles.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have crash-tested the Flying Spur. Bentley offers several driver-assistance features; unfortunately, many of them cost extra. Key safety features include:
- Standard forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection
- Available automated emergency braking
- Available adaptive cruise control and night vision
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Bentley offers a three-year warranty with the purchase of a new model, but unlike plans from more mainstream luxury brands, there's no mileage limit. Rolls-Royce offers a similar service but extends to its customers four years of coverage. Furthermore, Rolls-Royce offers four years of complimentary scheduled maintenance while Bentley covers only one.
- Limited warranty covers three years or unlimited miles
- Powertrain warranty covers three years or unlimited miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for one year or 10,000 miles
2020 Bentley Flying Spur
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
PRICE AS TESTED
$279,770 (base price $219,425)
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 48-valve W-12, aluminum block and heads, port and direct fuel injection
363 in3, 5952 cm3
626 hp @ 6000 rpm
664 lb-ft @ 1350 rpm
8-speed dual-clutch automatic
Suspension (F/R): control arms/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 16.5-in vented disc/15.0-in vented disc
Tires: Pirelli P Zero PZ4, F:275/35R-22 (104Y) B, R: 315/30R-22 (107Y) B
Wheelbase: 125.7 in
Length: 209.3 in
Width: 77.9 in
Height: 58.4 in
Passenger volume: 104 ft3
Trunk volume: 15 ft3
Curb weight: 5560 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 3.5 sec
100 mph: 8.2 sec
130 mph: 13.8 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 4.5 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 2.2 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 2.9 sec
1/4 mile: 11.7 sec @ 121 mph
Top speed (mfr's claim): 207 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 159 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 324 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.98 g
Standing-start accel times omit 1-ft rollout of 0.2 sec.
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 11 mpg
75-mph highway driving: 24 mpg
Highway range: 570 miles
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 15/12/19 mpg