Bentley Continental Flying Spur

Crewe's new super limo

"New body, revised chassis and new style for Bentley's business class saloon"

"Magnificent and flourishing"

"Is it the fastest four door the British brand has ever produced?"

"I spoiled myself in the Spur's rear seats, which are the best position" said Issam

We took the second test drive of the flying "B" in two consecutive months, the first time for judging purposes. I was lucky that the dealership in Beirut, Saad &Trad, brought both the Continental GT V8 S and the Continental Flying Spur over from Dubai this past summer so that we could review them.

Whenever you think of Bentley, a British super luxurious icon, you think about wealth. But that wealth is a bit different from those wealthy people who own the Continental GT with two doors. The limousine version of Bentley is the Flying Spur. The biggest market on the planet that appreciates this kind of vehicle is China, with no doubt. Don't be surprised. Although China is a communist country, it has the wealthiest population due to its huge population. The Middle East is another important market for the Brits, and I have personally seen many Bentleys when in Kuwait.

Exterior
The styling of the Flying Spur establishes a design character for Bentley's performance sedan. An elegant direction is reflected by a lower, wider appearance with sharp lines and gently curvaceous surfaces. A lower roof line, deeply sculpted panels, precise feature lines and a muscular rear haunch give the Flying Spur a more aggressive stance and a powerfully dynamic profile.

The front fenders feature a striking wing vent complete with an elegant Bentley "B" motif. From here, an additional feature line forms a sharply defined edge running from the front wheel all the way to the rear bumper, underlining the shape's dynamic character.

At the front of the car, a more upright chrome grille sits between the pairs of jewel-like LED headlamps. Emphasizing the lower, wider stance, the outer lamps are the larger of the two. Beneath the front grille, the lower intake is now full width with no vertical divisions, but instead with a chromed horizontal accent that completes the dramatic face of the Flying Spur.

At the rear, a longer and lower boot lid lends a more swept appearance to the side profile. Horizontal single ellipse LED tail lamps combine with a new interpretation of the Bentley "Horse Shoe" feature line, now running the full width of the car and encapsulating a graceful concave section.

Weight savings in the body structure and throughout the car mean that the Flying Spur is 50 kg lighter than the first generation car, despite the additional refinement measures, enhanced technology specification and stronger structure.

Interior
Driver and passengers alike interface with the car and the outside world through touch screen infotainment, mobile connectivity including WiFi, a rear seat entertainment suite and a new hand-held touch screen remote which allows rear cabin occupants to control an extensive range of features from the comfort of their seat. An eight channel, eight speaker audio system with balanced mode radiators provide high quality sound clarity, with the 1100W Naim® for Bentley premium system available as an option.

Drivetrain
Powering the Flying Spur is Bentley's renowned 6.0 liter, twin turbo W12 engine, coupled to a ZF eight speed transmission. Developing 616 bhp and 800 Nm of torque, the Flying Spur features more power than any other Bentley four door in history. A 14 percent improvement in the power-to-weight ratio over the outgoing model delivers a breathtaking 0-100 kph time of 4.4 seconds and a top speed of 322 km/h. In the modern Bentley tradition, power is delivered to the road via all wheel drive with a 40:60 rear-biased torque split for a sure-footed, engaging drive in all road and weather conditions.

Driving Impressions
I took the Flying B up to the mountains, almost the highest peak in Lebanon: the Cedars. I encountered all conditions on roads. It did marvelously well but the main concern was fuel consumption. I drove from Beirut to the Cedars on a full tank. I had to refuel it when going down. Whether I was driving or being driven by some of my friends, the Flying Spur accommodated us in the finest material, glossy wood trim and thick carpeting. My senses were overwhelmed as I sat behind the steering wheel for the first time. I had to touch everything, push and twist switches; every surface needs to be rubbed.

Verdict
I was extremely impressed and felt delightfully wealthy over that summer weekend in the car. I need to be a realistic, though. I am still young. I am still passionate about driving. I cannot spoil myself and start getting chauffeured. I am confident that those who have the money to spend will do so, and with enjoyment in the Flying B. 

Rivals: Rolls-Royce Ghost, Aston Martin Rapide, Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG, Audi A8 W12
Pros: muscular styling, comfortable ride and seats, feels expensive, extraordinary performance for a 2.5 ton vehicle
Cons: fuel consumption
One word: exclusive

Specs

6 liters twin-turbocharged, W12, 616 hp, 800 Nm
8 speed auto, AWD
0-100 kph: 4.4 sec, top speed: 322 kph, consumption city: 22.4 L/100 km & consumption highway: 10.2 L/100 km
Weight: 2473 kg

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