Does your credit card allow you to loan money to the World Bank? Can your account balance buy a country or three? If you'd never be caught dead in something as "common" as a BMW 7 Series or as cheap as a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, then step right this way, sir/madam. Luxury sedans that manage to be both extraordinarily opulent while remaining classy are rarely executed as well as in the Bentley Flying Spur. Wafting on air suspension from one point to another, the Flying Spur is powered by a choice of two engines, each with two levels of output. The 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 makes 500 horsepower and 487 lb-ft of torque, with the S version upping that to 521 hp and 502 lb-ft. 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 models produce 616 hp and 590 lb-ft and 626 hp and 605 lb-ft in S form. All variations share an eight-speed automatic that sends power to all four wheels.
The 2019 model year of the Bentley Flying Spur is largely unchanged from the previous year model, but for those who found the eight different wood veneer choices not interesting enough, a new California-sourced open-pore Walnut option is available through the Mulliner special vehicle division. Painted with three super-thin layers of lacquer that measures just 0.1mm thick in total, the expert finish ensures that you can feel the grain of the wood.
Thanks to plentiful, yet tastefully-applied, chrome accents, LED running lights reminiscent of a chandelier, and a single elliptical LED in each of the taillights, the V8 and W12 versions of the Flying Spur are unmistakable. The S versions the Flying Spur are similarly tasteful, but swap out most of the chrome for gloss black, particularly on the grille, while a Beluga gloss-black rear diffuser, tinted lights, oval exhaust tips, and red brake calipers further differentiate these faster variants. 17 wheel choices are available across the range, ranging from 19-inch to 21-inches in size.
In order for the Flying Spur to offer a truly luxurious rear-seat experience, it needed to be long - 208.6 inches to be exact. Height is 58.6 inches with the width measuring 78.1 inches (with the mirrors folded) and the wheelbase measuring 120.7. Curb weight is unsurprisingly meaty, ranging from 5,329lbs in the V8 models to 5,456 lbs with the heavier W12 variants.
If you don't want the color of your Flying Spur to resemble that of some plain hatchback, Bentley has you covered with 106 exterior paint choices and four finishes: solid, metallic, pearlescent, and satin. Purples, greens, grays, silvers, blues, yellows, and even some shades of pink are available, but standard choices are St James Red, Moonbeam, Glacier White, Thunder, Dark Sapphire, and Onyx. If none of these appeals to you, Bentley can match the color of any item you bring them. Perhaps you have a favored item like a unique watch or a priceless gem - Bentley's experts can precisely match the color and paint your chariot to suit. A hand-painted fine-line stripe can also be added along the side in your choice of 28 different colors. From the factory options, we're quite fond of a nostalgic green - color choice number 68: British Racing Green 4 in a solid finish.
The fastest model in the Flying Spur lineup is the W12 S, sporting a 626 hp 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 engine that allows it to accelerate effortlessly from 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds, and on to a tremendous top speed of 202 mph. Fear not if you don't want the sporty associations of an S variant - the "normal" W12 is just 0.1 seconds slower from zero to sixty and tops out at 199 mph. Even the 4.0-liter V8 versions have no trouble with getting up to speed either; the base V8 takes 4.9 seconds from 0 to 60 and tops out at 183 mph, while the S version manages 4.6 seconds and 190 mph. Thanks to a supremely smooth eight-speed auto and all-wheel drive, the Flying Spur is incredibly comfortable and capable, and will get you into triple-figure speeds before you can say "Sorry officer, I hardly noticed that my driver is a little too enthusiastic with his right foot." Despite Bentley's current customer base and their heritage of opulent machinery, great emphasis is still placed on driving, and when you give Jeeves the week off, you'll appreciate the nimble deftness that surprises those in smaller cars time and time again.
Shifting your own gears via a lever? Having to use a third pedal? Such is the work of common folk - the eight-speed Quickshift automatic presents gears on a silver platter via the paddles or, if left to its own devices, will shift for you in an almost undetectable manner. Even with the base 4.0-liter V8 twin-turbo that you'll find in a pocket-change car like the Audi RS7, 500 hp is sufficient motivation to overtake and out-launch almost anything on the road. Stepping up to the W12 will unlock 616 hp and a deeper growl, but once again, without any drama. The W12 S puts 626 hp and 605 lb-ft at your disposal, but even in this version, the Bentley aims to insulate you from the road, simply wafting you across continents with almost imperceptible finesse. Regardless of the model specified, the Flying Spur is capable of crushing almost anything while still retaining the kind of composure that means your champagne-sipping escapades in the back seat will never be interrupted by something as banal as a lumpy gearchange.
For such a magnificent display of comfort and extravagance as in the Flying Spur, one would be forgiven for expecting a floaty or boat-like handling experience. However, thanks to brilliantly-adapted air suspension on all Flying Spur variants, bumps in the road are not transmitted to the occupants, but feel and feedback are relayed to the driver. Remember, Bentley made their name not only in exquisite coachbuilding but also in racing, having won Le Mans and numerous other racing spectacles on a number of occasions. That pedigree remains ingrained in the way this "small" Bentley limousine's rear-biased all-wheel-drive system handles corners and bends. Surprisingly agile despite its weight, the Flying Spur is like a heavyweight boxer, soaking up punishment with ease while still managing quick, darting attacks with considerable grace. Naturally, on the optional bigger wheels, one can find fault with a slight harshness in the ride, but this is barely noticeable and will only be apparent to those who have just stepped out of a model with one of the smaller wheel options. That said, comfort mode is particularly adept at hiding the slightly worse rebound effect of the larger wheels. Braking is similarly balanced between smoothness and performance, and is neither grabby nor unresponsive, allowing efficient but orderly stops every time.
If you can afford a Flying Spur, or any Bentley for that matter, the cost of filling up is of little consequence. However, in order to help gauge when you may be forced to step out of your traveling lounge suite, let's have a look at the figures. The V8 version manages 14/24/17 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles with a range of 408 miles. The V8 S performs similarly. W12-motored versions score 12/20/15 mpg on the same cycles, and with a smaller 23.8-gallon tank, will return an estimated range of around 357 miles per fill-up. By comparison, the 6.6-liter turbocharged V12 in the Rolls-Royce Ghost will only return around 333.2 miles per tank of gas.
The tech-crazed will not find the Flying Spur to be particularly cutting-edge in the gadget department, but there are still some special accouterments, most notably the optional champagne cooler and accompanying crystal flutes. A remote touchscreen controller in the rear, about the size of a regular smartphone, can be detached from the center console for easy adjustment of climate control and infotainment. Naturally, everything around you is beautifully woven with exquisite stitching and meticulous build quality, while heated and cooled massaging seats for all four are available to maximize luxury. Even the rear seats, the focus in a car like this, can recline, allowing all to stretch out in comfort. Infotainment is fairly simple, with an eight-inch touchscreen system feeding eight speakers, but twin rear displays, WiFi, and an 11-speaker Naim sound system are available.
Although the Flying Spur has a rear bench seat as standard with seating for three across, the optional four-seater layout with two lounge-like chairs in the back is not only popular, but more in line with its posh nature. In this configuration, the two back seats are lavishly appointed, allowing a wide range of reclining motion, with massage, heating, and cooling functions available. Even the tallest new-money NBA superstar would be able to find a comfortable position, but this does not just apply to the rear of the cabin. Front occupants are similarly well cared for, with ample legroom and headroom and an easy path of entry and exit. Thanks to the wide range of adjustability, a perfect driving position is easy to find, and all-round visibility is excellent. The major controls fall easily to hand if you happen to be doing driving duties.
Just as with the exterior, the word bespoke comes to mind when it comes to choosing the colors and materials that will swathe your interior. 17 different standard colors of cow-hide can be chosen from, with monotone, duo-tone, types of quilting, and various other adjustments available, and again, if none of the colors suits you, it's as simple as providing a sample (and a thick wad of cash) and Bentley will custom engineer a dye to match whatever color you like. Standard leather colors on the base model are Beluga, Imperial Blue, Porpoise and Newmarket Tan. In terms of the dash and doors and other trims, wood is the obvious choice, but which one? Eight different types are available, with piano black, two types of knurled aluminum, and carbon fiber as your supplementary options.
The 2019 Bentley Flying Spur has a 16.7 cubic-foot trunk, which should easily swallow a few golf bags or a couple of large suitcases. Thanks to the Flying Spur's focus on comfort, especially for rear occupants, it would be sacrilege to suggest folding the rear seats or encroaching on the space where champagne should be chilled by adding a pass-through, so if you need more space, one of the staff can follow in another vehicle.
There are four cup holders in the cabin, one for each occupant, but not much more in the way of small-item storage, besides the usual center armrest bins. However, these are very shallow, as are the door bins, which are more decorative than functional. That said, there is a neat case for sunglasses and a reasonable glovebox in front.
Unlike a regular car, the Flying Spur has features that the general populace would likely never even consider. A detachable touchscreen controller for climate control is one such feature, optional crystal flutes and a champagne chiller are another. In addition, each Bentley has a Breitling analog timepiece in the center of the dash. Heated, ventilated, and massaging seats for all four occupants are available, while quad-zone climate control is standard. Keyless entry and ignition, a power trunk lid, and a rearview camera are among the standard equipment. Optional features include auto headlights and wipers, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and forward-collision warning. A sunroof and electric rear blinds are also available.
Infotainment is controlled via a Naim eight-inch touch display up front or via the rear-mounted touchscreen remote. This unit features navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, SiriusXM satellite radio, a WiFi hotspot, a six-disc CD changer, and eight speakers as standard, with dual-rear screens and an 11-speaker Naim upgrade available as options. In addition, the standard system can play DVDs and has a 64GB hard drive to store all your music on. A wireless privacy phone is also included.
The 2019 Bentley Flying Spur has not yet been rated by J.D. Power for reliability, but it has not been subjected to any recalls either. A three-year/unlimited mileage warranty covers the Flying Spur from bumper to bumper and also looks after corrosion, drivetrain and roadside assistance. A three-year/30,00-mile maintenance plan is also included.
The Bentley Flying Spur has not yet been rated by the IIHS or the NHTSA, but this is common for uber-expensive cars.
The Flying Spur is not particularly well-equipped with modern safety features, and many cheaper cars with a similar focus on luxury chauffeuring include an abundance of these driver aids from the factory. In the Bentley, however, a rearview camera and dual front, dual side, and curtain airbags are about all you get as standard. Optional aids include adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and forward-collision warning. In a car this expensive, and particularly in one capable of over 200 mph, it seems a bit odd that such rudimentary features would be optional with others omitted, but this model is in its twilight, with a complete redesign coming next year.
The Bentley Flying Spur is by no means a relic, but it does have a number of features missing from its spec sheet. Make no mistake, this is a luxury barnstormer that will decimate Mustangs without the rear occupants even noticing, but this particular model has been around for quite some time now, and its lack of modern connectivity and driver aids is a glaring omission. Its infotainment system also feels less up-to-date than the systems found in rivals, some of which don't even cost $100k. On the plus side, this does mean that it is a huge bargain compared to the likes of Rolls Royce's Ghost, which has less power but starts way over $350,000. But, when you're shopping for a car like this, money should be no object. If you can easily afford one of these, you want the best of everything and you have every right to demand such. We do like the Flying Spur very much, and it is certainly not without merit, but we'd recommend holding off until next year when an all-new model with likely even more choices becomes available.
The 2019 Bentley Flying Spur starts at $189,000 for the base V8 model, with the V8 S starting at $205,000. The W12 version starts from $224,500, while the top-of-the-range version, the W12 S, costs $244,600. Fully loaded with packages and options, the W12 S will cost over $250,000. If you choose to specify some special paint or leather colors that are specially made for you or other unique customization options, that figure can climb much higher.
A destination charge of $2,725 is also applicable to all new Bentley car sales.
The 2019 Bentley Flying Spur is available in four different variants: The V8, V8 S, W12, and the W12 S.
The V8 is fitted with 19-inch wheels as standard and has a choice of seven stock paint color options. Bi-xenon headlights with LED running lamps and taillights as well as automatic lights and windscreen wipers are included. 14-way power-adjustable front seats and a Breitling analog clock on the dash are also included, along with an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation, Bluetooth and eight speakers. Four-zone climate control is also standard.
The V8 S ekes more power out of the twin-turbo V8 engine and comes with 19-inch wheels, but these are painted alloys rather than the cast version found on the V8. Also included are a number of gloss black exterior accents, and unique bumpers and exhaust tips. More wood choices are also available on this model as well as an Alcantara headliner, the option of semi-aniline leather, and the V8 S emblem on the headrests. Sportier pedals are also added, as well as a heated steering wheel.
Stepping up to the W12 model gives you the bigger engine with more power and, like the V8 S, has 17 standard color choices for the paint. This model is fitted with 20-inch wheels as standard but has access to a number of other choices, including 21-inch designs that can be either polished or painted. Burr Walnut veneer trims are included with Dark Fiddleback Eucalyptus as a no-cost option.
The W12 S has the most powerful engine in the range at 626 hp, and has 21-inch wheels from the factory with a unique interior color split option. As an S model, gloss black door mirrors help to differentiate the model, and W12 S badges can be added at no charge.
All models have access to most of the options list, including items like a champagne cooler, adaptive cruise control system, a valet key, and bespoke color engineering.
A number of packages are available for the Flying Spur, some of which are incredibly priced. One such package on the V8 is the Mulliner Driving Specification package with an alternative steering wheel at $18,880. This adds diamond-quilted seats and doors, as well as the same effect on the leather headlining, along with more leather color choices and the sport model's alloy pedals and knurled gear lever as well as Dark Stained Burr Walnut trim accents. The V8 S can be had with the Black Edition package, which adds gloss black light surrounds and door handles, 21-inch wheels, contrast stitching and black brake calipers for $8,180. The otherwise fully-specced W12 S has access to only two packages, one of which is called Rear Passenger Specification. This $7,870 package adds veneered picnic tables with vanity mirrors, a full-length center console, electrically-adjustable rear seats, and a champagne cooler.
If you're considering a Bentley of any sort, you may as well go all-out and experience the best that the British marque has to offer. We'd suggest going for the W12 S but optioning the slightly smaller 20-inch wheels for increased comfort. The Rear Passenger Specification package is also highly recommended, reducing the seating to four but maximizing comfort for all occupants. This package adds reclining and lumbar support to the rear seats too, as well as a bottle cooler. In this specification, the Flying Spur is a 200 mph lounge on wheels that is almost unrivaled in terms of handling and comfort at this level.
Although both vehicles cater to roughly the same sort of upmarket clientele, the Rolls-Royce Ghost is expensive even at this level, starting at over $350,000, while the Bentley Flying Spur in its fastest and most expensive form starts almost $100,000 cheaper. The 626-hp Bentley is also much quicker thanks to its all-wheel-drive system, as the rear-wheel-drive Rolls only develops 563 hp from a bigger and less economical engine. However, at this level, the focus on cars like these is all on luxury and comfort. Rolls-Royce's Starlight headliner is one of the touches that sets it apart, while its built-in umbrellas and lambswool carpets are truly symbols of opulence. For driving dynamics, the Bentley is superior, but in almost every other way, the Ghost leaves the Flying Spur for dead.
Mercedes' S-Class has always been the German benchmark in terms of technology and exquisite interior design, and the current model is no different. Available with a host of engines, there is also a wide variety of choices for those who are not obsessed with comfort, and it's easy to use and beautifully-illustrated infotainment system is far better than that in the 2019 Flying Spur. Rear-seat comfort is also phenomenal, but where the Merc lacks is in terms of customization, offering nowhere near as many color choices or leather variations as you find in the Bentley. Thanks to the fact that the Mercedes brand also offers commuter cars and vans, the Bentley also sets itself apart in the prestige department, and a base flying Spur will always attract more attention from discerning onlookers than a fully-loaded S-Class will. For these reasons, we consider the Bentley a more natural choice for those wanting ultimate style and luxury.