Bentley Flying Spur review
The Bentley Flying Spur is one of the most luxurious, and high-tech, saloon cars on sale. Its boot could be bigger, though, and automatic cruise control should be standard
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If Rolls-Royce is Prince Philip, Bentley is Prince Harry – still extremely well-schooled, but more agile and with a younger vibe. You get the sense that the Bentley Continental Flying Spur is somehow appealing to a different audience than its main luxury-saloon alternatives the Rolls-Royce Ghost and Mercedes-Maybach.
And that audience should certainly sit up and take notice, because the Flying Spur took home the carwow Luxury Award for 2019.
That younger vibe is seen in the Bentley Flying Spur’s styling. Sure, a Rolls-Royce is hardly introverted, but Bentley’s huge verticle-slat grille, bejewelled headlights, massive alloy wheels and illuminated ‘flying B’ is all more Will.i.am than Will and Kate. Inside too; everything is extremely high quality, but slightly more in your face than anything from Rolls, including the colours, quilted leathers and knurled metals.
The Bentley Flying Spur’s infotainment system continues the trend. It’s a huge 12.3-inch touchscreen borrowed from Porsche that looks fantastic and is responsive to touch, proving to be one of the best of its kind. Built-in sat-nav, Bluetooth, DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are all included, but on balance, the BMW-based system in the Ghost is even easier to use while driving.
Both front seats benefit from loads of electric movement and the driver gets electric steering wheel movement too, but it’s in the back where the Flying Spur rightly shines. Peter Crouch and Michael Jordan could stretch out back there and the levels of luxury are superb, with features like a fridge, rear televisions, a pop-out tablet remote, the most powerful sound system ever fitted to a production car and massaging seats.
That said, the Flying Spur’s rear middle seat is much less comfortable, and while the boot is a good size, you’ll find bigger in the Ghost and a Maybach.
The Bentley Flying Spur is so luxurious in the back that you may want to consider hiring a chauffeur to do the driving for you.
Bentley hasn’t pulled its punches with the Flying Spur’s engines, either. From launch, a sledgehammer 6.0-litre W12 petrol is available, which propels the Flying Spur to 60mph from standstill in just 3.7 seconds. It’s fast, but when you just want to relax it’ll happily do smooth and quiet too. Later down the line V8 petrol and V6 petrol-electric hybrid engines will also join the range.
At 5.3 metres long the Flying Spur is a large car to thread through town, but at least its standard rear-wheel steering is on hand to improve its turning circle at low speeds, plus you get a suite of sensors and cameras to save you from scratching your extremely expensive wheels and paintwork. Its standard air suspension front and rear sponges away lumps and bumps with ease, too.
Perhaps the more surprising thing is that unlike the Rolls-Royce, the Flying Spur feels happy being driven hard around corners. It’s no track-day special, but it keeps its body impressively upright and its brakes (the largest iron brakes fitted to a production car) do a brilliant job of scrubbing off speed. Of course, there’s no shortage of performance on tap, either.
So, the Flying Spur is enjoyable to drive, but it’s more likely you’ll be stretched out in the back. At speed, the Bentley is eerily quiet and floats down the road, more than living up to its luxury billing.
If you want a driver’s continent crusher, Bentley’s Continental GT is still the better choice, but for those who want the pinnacle of luxury saloons, the Bentley Flying Spur has to be at the top of your list. If that’s you, make sure you check out of Bentley deals page for the very best prices.
The Flying Spur’s interior is a little less restrained than a Rolls-Royce’s, but there’s no arguing with its quality – it’s truly stunning. It also has one of the best touchscreens on sale, even if Rolls’ BMW -based system is better still.