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NEW Bentley Flying Spur: Road Review | Carfection 4K

There's a new, third generation of Bentley Flying Spur and we took it to Monaco for a test drive.
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The new Flying Spur however not only makes better use of the new design language in the latest generation Continental GT but takes the liberty to really apply the latest Bentley hallmarks into a shape not only more recognisable as saloon, but a handsome one at that.

Which gets us to the core of issue of the Flying Spur. Or perhaps the best thing about it. It all depends on your perspective. Because there isn’t that much strictly new on the new Flying Spur.

The great new infotainment system that’s new to Flying Spur looks amazing with a large touch-screen interface controlling virtually everything is the same we’ve seen on the new Continental GT. The three sided revolving facia that can deliver the so-called “digital-detox” by hiding the screen away in favour of a wood finish alone or a set of analogue dials was first shown off last year. Bar that 3D leather it all feel very familiar indeed.
Familiar also is the engine. The 6-liter twin-turbocharged W12 now delivers 626 horsepower and 664 pounds-feet of torque which it certainly needs to make use of to shift its not inconsiderable 5373 lbs of mass. From standing start the Flying Spur can hit 60mph in 3.7 seconds and it will keep on going to 207 mph.
Power is delivered to all four wheels through the ZF 8-speed dual-clutch transmission that also found its way into the Continental GT and is the same as the PDK you can find in the current generation Porsche Panamera. That’s not the only similarity to its Stuttgart sibling, Panamera, Continental GT and Flying Spur all also share a chassis.
There’s a 48V active anti-roll bar which we first saw on the Bentayga and now also on the Continental GT as well as new three-chamber air suspension.

The Flying Spur is fairly large at over 17 feet in length but the rear-wheel steer (a first for Bentley and one feature that is unique to the Spur) helps out massively when negotiating the incredibly cramped and twisty roads of the tiny principality. With the rear wheels counter-steering at slow speed the wheel base actually felt no longer than the Continental hiding the bulk of the Flying Spur effectively.

Once out in the mountains the rear-wheel steer continued to make hairpins a breeze. It seems like ironic, the one thing that’s truly unique to the Flying Spur makes it feel more like a Continental.

The ample torque available can hurtle the Flying Spur off the line towards the horizon effortlessly and the weight of the car is all but forgotten until its time to hit the brakes. There’s a reason the Flying Spur has been fitted with the largest steel brakes ever fitted to a production car and the Flying Spur uses every last bit of them to efficiently bring its bulk back to a halt.

The 48V anti-roll bar in keeps the Flying Spur controlled though faster tight corners but my preference was to dial back the suspension to one of its softer modes to help manage the shift of mass when really going for it.

The steering has enough weight to make a challenging drive feel controlled but it’s light enough under normal driving to make driving feel effortless.

Under everything but the most spirited of drives the “B” option on the mode dial which gives you the automatically adapting mode gives a perfectly balanced and comfortable ride. Leave the car in that mode and you’ll rarely be disappointed as the Flying Spur reacts to your inputs and gives you its interpretation of what you need.

Use the Flying Spur on long drives and you’re rewarded with exquisite comfort in some of the best seats the car industry has ever made. Spec the optional Naim audio system and you have one of the best sounding infotainment set-ups money can buy.

There is a small amount of the dynamism of the GT that has been lost in the translation to the saloon form factor. A touch less response from the steering, a little more laborious under braking but in general it’s remarkable how similar they feel. Which might be the biggest compliment you could give any car today.

The Flying Spur has lifted most of its new features from the rest of the Bentley stable and the result is a car that drives, and feels extremely familiar. This can’t be seen as anything less than a good thing when the cars it borrows from, Continental GT, Bentayga and Porsche Panamera, are themselves so great.

But where those three cars do feel very distinct from each other, the Flying Spur does feel like it’s trying to deliver the same balance between a dynamic ride and extreme luxurious comfort as the Continental GT.

Although it falls slightly short of achieving that fully, the added advantages of a luxurious rear seating experience more than make up for it.

Credits Carfection
added on 16 Oct. 2019

Make: Bentley


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