by Karl Furlong
Unlike Rolls-Royce, Bentley's ultra-luxury coupes and sedans place more emphasis on driver engagement than ultimate rear-seat decadence. Despite its size, the Flying Spur has always exhibited surprising nimbleness, so the introduction of a faster and more powerful Flying Spur Speed feels like a natural progression for the sedan. As one of the last models to feature the legendary W12 engine, the Speed produces a stout 626 horsepower and can propel the sedan to a heady top speed of 207 mph. Electronic all-wheel steering makes it pretty agile, too, and there are racy but tasteful touches everywhere to remind you of the car's additional power. Let's find out more about the mightiest Flying Spur yet.
See trim levels and configurations:
6.0L Twin-Turbo W12 Gas
The Bentley Flying Spur Speed's release date has been confirmed for the first quarter of 2023 as a 2023 model in the USA.
As a replacement for the standard Flying Spur W12 that ceased production in May 2022, the 2023 Bentley Flying Spur Speed's price is naturally higher than the model it usurps. Bentley has confirmed the price in the USA to be an MSRP of $258,700 before options.
Rivals for the 2023 Flying Spur Speed will include the Rolls-Royce Ghost Black Badge which will likely command a higher price but isn't quite as powerful as the Flying Spur Speed. A cheaper alternative is the Mercedes-Maybach S in S680 guise. That has a twin-turbo V12 and just 5 hp less than the Bentley yet is expected to retail for close to $100,000 less. However, it's nowhere near the athlete the Bentley is bound to be.
It perhaps seems odd to add even remotely sporty touches to a classy sedan like the Flying Spur, but Bentley has done so in a way that stops short of coming across as crass. The imposing Bentley Flying Spur Speed exterior features subtle Speed enhancements like dark-tinted headlights and taillights, along with a darkened grille. The lower wing plays host to Speed badges, and the standard 22-inch wheels come in finishes that include Dark Tint, silver-painted, or Gloss Black. An optional 22-inch wheel design in either Gloss Black or Pale Brodgar Satin is available.
Buyers seeking an even more emotive look can select the Blackline Specification or the Bentley Styling Specification. The latter features a front splitter, side skirts, a rear diffuser, and a trunk spoiler in carbon fiber.
As ever, the Bentley Flying Spur Speed's colors are extensive. Buyers can choose from a massive selection of blacks, blues, reds, greens, and so much more. Some of the more vivid hues include Kingfisher by Mulliner (a light blue), Apple Green, Bentayga Bronze, and St James Red. However, the darker trim also works a treat with some subtler colors, such as Ice and Arctica by Mulliner.
Options include a panoramic tilt and slide sunroof and an illuminated Flying B radiator mascot in a Gloss Black finish.
Substantial Bentley Flying Spur Speed dimensions match those of the standard model. It measures 209.3 inches in length, 87.4 inches in width, including the mirrors, and 58.4 inches in height. The wheelbase extends 125.7 inches.
With an unladen weight of 5,373 pounds, the new Bentley Flying Spur Speed sedan is a heavy beast. It's just as well that the W12 is one of the most powerful engines you can buy.
Quicker, faster, and more powerful than the standard Flying Spur, this is an exceptionally swift sedan. The Bentley Flying Spur Speed's engine is the iconic 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 that delivers 626 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque - that torque peak is on tap all the way from 1,500 rpm to 5,000 rpm. Overall, these are increases of 84 hp and 96 lb-ft relative to the normal W12.
With all-wheel drive and an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, the Speed will go from 0-60 mph in 3.7 seconds. The top speed, reached in sixth, is 207 mph, and we're fairly certain that the Flying Spur Speed still feels rock solid at that extreme velocity.
Bentley has made sure that the Flying Spur Speed isn't only impressive in a straight line. It says that the understeer experienced with many AWD systems is eliminated in part thanks to a clutched system that delivers drive to the rear axle but, depending on conditions and wheel slip, power is sent to the front axle as required. In Sport Mode, no more than 206 lb-ft of torque is directed to the front axle to retain a more dynamic feel. Electric all-wheel steering and a torque-vectoring-by-brake system improve responsiveness and maneuverability.
To help maintain balanced and keep body roll at bay when cornering, the Bentley Dynamic Ride System features a 48-volt system with an electronic actuator unit. This manages the anti-roll bar's stiffness. When it comes time to stop, drivers can depend on 16.5-inch front discs, said to be the largest iron brakes in the world and shared with the Continental GT Speed.
EPA specs are not yet available, but Bentley has published gas mileage figures of 12/20/15 mpg city/highway/combined. A 23.78-gallon gas tank will translate to a combined cruising range of approximately 356 miles.
It wouldn't be worthy of the badge if the Bentley Flying Spur Speed's interior weren't beautiful to look at and operate. Thankfully, the Speed delivers - and then some. The use of several analog gauges and multiple physical controllers now feels refreshingly old-school; touchscreens have gradually replaced physical buttons at the expense of style and, at times, user-friendliness.
The sumptuous Bentley Flying Spur Speed seats are the first clue that this isn't a regular Flying Spur. Here, they're trimmed in sporty Dinamica Pure - it's crafted from 73% recycled polyester, unlike normal Dinamica. 24-way power-adjustable seats are standard for those in front, and those in the second row get 14-way adjusters. Regardless of which seat you're occupying, you'll get to enjoy seat heating, ventilation, and massaging.
No less than 15 leather colors are available - and in both single-tone and two-tone splits - and the default Piano Black veneer can be replaced with Crown Cut Walnut, Dark Fiddleback Eucalyptus, or Dark Stained Burr Walnut at no additional cost. As with the exterior, interior color choices are vast and include the likes of Cyber Yellow by Mulliner, Saddle, and Mandarin.
Other elements that set the Speed apart from the standard Flying Spur include special performance graphics for the driver information panel, subtle Speed branding, and sports pedals.
Despite the car's size, the Bentley Bentayga Flying Spur Speed's cargo space is good rather than exceptional at 14.83 cubic feet.