Bentley Continental Flying Spur saloon
Price £132,800 - £154,900
- W12 model is very fast
- Luxurious interior
- Very comfortable
- Small boot
- Costly to run
- Expensive to buy
"The luxurious Bentley Continental Flying Spur is more about being driven, but it's plenty of fun from the driver's seat too."
The Bentley Continental Flying Spur saloon blends the best of luxury and performance into a car that'll undoubtedly attract attention wherever it goes. The 6.0-litre engine in the W12 model makes it one of the most powerful Bentleys available, while a very generous list of practical features also makes the driving experience incredibly comfortable.
It's not cheap, though – the least expensive V8 model starts from £136,000 and high running costs are part and parcel of Bentley ownership. The twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 is slightly cheaper than the W12, but gets less standard equipment and isn't quite as jaw-droppingly fast as the W12. In between is the more driver-focussed V8 S, which has more power than the standard V8 and a more dynamically-involving chassis than either of the two other models.
MPG, running costs & CO2
It doesn't matter which model you go for – the Bentley is an expensive car to run
The powerful 6.0-litre engine fitted to the W12 model of the Flying Spur is incredibly thirsty and you’ll be making regular trips to the petrol station as a result. Although poor economy figures are unlikely to cause sleepless nights if you can afford to buy this car in the first place, the V8 model is slightly better – it can do 25.9mpg compared to 19mpg for the W12 and its CO2 emissions are significantly lower – 254g/km compared to 343g/km. The V8 model has an annual road tax bill of £490 while the W12 attracts the top rate of £505 a year. The high-performance V8 S model returns exactly the same figures as the standard V8 model, despite its extra 21bhp, managing a combined 25.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 254g/km.
Engines, drive & performance
The Flying Spur is the fastest four-door saloon that Bentley has ever produced
The Flying Spur is a quiet and refined vehicle that handles most roads well, despite its significant bulk. Soft suspension springs make even the roughest roads feel smooth. The V8 S is the best for those who prefer to do the driving themselves, however, with sharper steering and stiffer suspension giving a more involving drive without too much compromises on the comfort front.
It's also much faster than the previous-generation car – the 6.0-litre W12 engine produces 616bhp and powers the car from 0-62mph in just 4.3 seconds. Put simply, this is the fastest four-door saloon that Bentley has ever produced. However, there's a noticeable delay when you change gear with the eight-speed gearbox and the 6.0-litre engine does sound a little muted.
The 500bhp V8 is less powerful than the W12, so 0-62mph takes a little longer, at 4.9 seconds. This is still seriously fast, particularly for a car of the Flying Spur's size, and the draw of the V8 noise will attract some buyers. Overall, though, the W12 is barely any more expensive and feels even more special than V8 model.
Between the two, however, sits the V8 S, which manages a healthy 521bhp from its twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8. It'll do the 0-62mph sprint in 4.9 seconds and has a top speed of 190mph. To us, the V8 models also sound a fair bit better than the rather hushed W12, making a menacing - although non-intrusive - rumble under hard acceleration.
Interior & comfort
The car drives comfortably even on the roughest roads
The Flying Spur's interior has all the luxury you’d expect from a quality brand like this. A full-length acoustic shield fitted beneath the roof reduces annoying road noise, making this one of the world's quietest cars when driving at motorway speeds. All four seats give you and your passengers plenty of space, and the Flying Spur's upmarket personality continues with plenty of leather and wood detailing throughout.
The Flying Spur Mulliner model offers even more luxury. Equipment such as 21-inch alloy wheels, chrome detailing, diamond-quilted seats and other high-class extras separate this version from the standard model.
Practicality & boot space
Room in the back is great and there's a big boot, too
There's plenty of room to carry all your luggage in the big 475-litre boot, but even the BMW 3 Series beats the Bentley Continental Flying Spur with its larger 480-litre boot.
Power sockets allow you to charge your electrical devices on the move, while a touchscreen lets you and your passengers control the satellite navigation, climate control and more. There are also washer jets that clean the car's lights if they're dirty, as well as a tyre-pressure monitoring system.
Reliability & safety
Tried-and-tested parts mean this Bentley should be reliable
Many of the Flying Spur's parts have been used across the Bentley range, so any initial faults should have been eliminated by now. Electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes that prevent the wheels from skidding and ISOFIX mounting points for child seats are all standard. Unfortunately, there's no Euro NCAP rating for the Flying Spur, however judging by the long list of safety kit, it should perform well in the event of an accident.
Price, value for money & options
There's no getting away from the Bentley's high price tag – despite the impressive equipment list
You'd certainly want your money's worth from a car that costs upwards of £136,000 – and the Bentley Continental Flying Spur certainly delivers in this category.
There's no denying the Bentley is expensive, but that price tag gets you a top-notch infotainment system, LED headlights, keyless entry, alloy wheels, a sunroof and a boot that opens and closes electronically. A Breitling clock, power rear window blinds, an eight-speaker stereo, parking sensors and DVD players with LCD screens in the rear are also fitted.
Although the V8 is £10,000 cheaper than the W12, it misses out on some of the more expensive model's standard equipment. Adding these as options to the V8 means the difference in price between the two cars is 'only' £3,000 – not much when considered in relation to the total figures. As you'd expect, there's a wide range of alloy-wheel designs and paint colours on offer.