What is it? For those looking for the supreme blend of luxury and performance there are only a couple of cars in the world seriously worth considering – and one of them is Bentley’s Flying Spur, the four-door version of their Continental GT coup
Who is it aimed at? Bentley may now belong to the Germans at Volkswagen, but the marque remains distinctly British, and with the Flying Spur, it has been winning over wealthy buyers in both the US and China, its two biggest markets.
Styling? The traditional Bentley shape with a square front end is dominated by the distinctive and purposeful grille, and overall the Flying Spur is a unique blend of sculpted, sleek and elegant coachwork.
Under the Bonnet? Press the start button and the Spur’s engine emits a very satisfying growl from the 4.0 litre twin-turbo V8 engine. Put your foot down, and you’ll feel the reassuring grunt of 507bhp and 660Nm of torque, all of which combine to move this chariot from 0 to 100km/h in a mere 5.2 seconds with a top speed of 295 km/h
What about inside? Inside, the sumptuous interior is rich and cossets you like a cashmere scarf. The dashboard has stately elegance, and the immaculate materials and handcrafted workmanship that define the car’s character are evident throughout. There are some exquisite details, including the veneered picnic tables, refrigerated bottle cooler and the luxurious boot carpet. The hand stitched steering wheel apparently takes 16 hours to complete at the Bentley factory, that is two working days on just one steering wheel. In terms of space, it is practically residential inside. Back seat passengers are treated to generous leg room – even passengers in excess of 6ft will have no trouble stretching out.
On the Road? This Flying Spur may not be designed as a sports car – if you want sport, opt for the GT – but it drives well. Through corners you feel its 2.5-tonne mass but with permanent four-wheel drive, it sticks beautifully to the road, the steering is nicely weighted and the eight-speed gearbox works seamlessly.
On the road it is superbly hushed and incredibly comfortable, particularly over some of the rough Kildare back roads we drove on.
The air suspension offers a choice of four levels of damping, from Comfort right up to Sport, but disappointingly there is only a slight difference between them.
And Safety? As with most luxury cars the Bentley Flying Spur has not been tested by the EuroNCAP but it comes as expected with a host of safety features and a comprehensive list of optional extras including a much needed rearview camera and adaptive cruise control
Will it break the bank? With a price tag in excess of €300,000 you are unlikely to see too many Flying Spurs on Irish roads and its not cheap to run either. In terms of fuel consumption Bentley says this Flying Spur will do 25.9mpg in the EU Combined cycle or 10.9 litres per 100km and with CO2 emissions of 254g/km, it will cost €2,350 a year for motor tax.
Verdict? The Flying Spur V8 is the most efficient and affordable version of the opulent saloon but there is no compromise – it retains Bentley’s signature mark of luxury. Despite the lower price tag, it is awash with all the lavish trimmings you would expect and the smaller engine does nothing to lessen the appeal. While I would still rather drive the rangetopping W12, sometimes we women just have to compromise and the Flying Spur V8 is a greener shade of sumptuousness.
Why you’ll buy one? Luxurious, Fast, comfortable
Why you won’t? Very pricey to buy; Running costs
Watch our video review below (Video Filming by Kyran O’Brien)
Bentley Flying Spur V8
Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 373 kW (500 bhp) @6000 rpm 660 Nm @1750 rpm
Max speed: 295 km/h
0-100 kph: 5.2 secs
Emissions (Motor Tax): 254g/km ( Motor Tax €2,350)
Model price range: From £142,800 ( Test car £200,000 sterling)
No of Doors: 5 doors
Euro NCAP : Not tested
Fuel type: Petrol
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 10.9 litres/100 km (25.9mpg)
Boot Capacity Seats up: 475 litres
Car Seats: 2 Isofix fittings in the rear
Wheelbase: 3066 mm
22nd April, 2015