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First Drive: 2020 Bentley Flying Spur First Edition

Tyler Heatley

03 Nov 2020

The new third-generation Bentley Flying Spur aims to be more than just a four-door continental. We test this 626bhp super limo to see if it has earned its Bentley wings.

Bentley has a very proud history that now spans over 100 years. Illustrious Le Mans victories, immortalised tales of the Bentley Boys and historic road models all form a rich tapestry. The rebirth and roaring success of modern-day Bentley also has to be added to its many accolades, that said, a century of history does not guarantee success in the next 100 years. That’s why the new third-generation Flying Spur is more than just the latest model, it’s a true statement of intent.

Looking as stoic as the traditional English countryside surrounding it, the Flying Spur combines tradition with modern design in many respects. The three-box silhouette of this Bentley is synonymous with opulent automobiles, however, a rakish windscreen and chamfered edges applies a veneer of sophisticated performance. A proud and upright grille is worn with distinction, while a quintet of seemingly crystallised crowded lights are embedded in the front facia. The front half of this Bentley is quite sculptural, but a sharp shoulder line asserts itself towards the rear – a distinctive trait indeed.

This specific Flying Spur is a First Edition car, and that means it gets a set of unique 22-inch alloy wheels, a deployable and illuminated winged B on its nose, not to mention the obligatory smattering of highly polished badging. It’s certainly looks regal, but there’s a sporting suggestion in its stance, something that’s a hallmark of Bentley. More importantly, this new Flying Spur has its own identity separate from just being a four-door Continental.

Part of the reason for repositioning the Flying Spur is the loss of Bentley’s flagship Mulsanne – that grand old-lady retired this year after a brief stay of execution due to COVID. This new car needs to serve as a potential chauffeur-driven machines during the week, while being sporty enough for the owner to get behind the wheel at the weekend.

Just like its sibling, the Continental, the interior is a masterclass is exquisite material selection and unique design. Our test car was upholstered in lovely textural blue and tan leathers that were perfectly complimented with rich wood finishes. Bentley has always done brightwork very well, and the signature ‘organ stops’ and knurling are all up to the very high standards we all expect. Infinitely adjustable diamond-quilted leather seats, heated and cooled, delicately hold you in what in simply one of the finest cabins of any car.

The fine craftsmanship spills into the rear quarters that now has a renewed sense of purpose. A high window line ensures privacy as ample leg room and reclining seats invite occupants to relax. Mesmerising 3D leather patterns nestle in the door cards and infotainment displays present themselves as modern-day car design combines with traditions of old. The glass panoramic roof is also a great means of brightening the interior.

The Bentley Flying Spur’s infotainment system is a bit of a show-stopper, as when you enter the car it appears totally absent. Start the engine and the central unit revolves on a triangular prism to reveal a 12.3-inch display, but push a button and it transforms once more to a trio of analogue dials and clocks. The system is rather easy to use and quick to respond, if not the most graphically impressive. A large digital instrumentation panel is afforded to the driver, something that highlights how this is not your grandfather’s Bentley.

The Flying Spur’s cruising abilities are immediately apparent in this buttery-smooth W12 model. Set to comfort the car absorbs road undulations and soothes with its tranquility. There’s a little bit of road noise, but the commanding control this Bentley appears to have of the road beneath it is the sort of characteristic that bodes well for any cross-continental journey. There is a slight shudder that penetrates the cabin over high frequency bumps, but this is likely due to the larger alloy wheels and not the pillowy soft air-suspension.

But what about the other side of the demanding equation that this Bentley must satisfy? Well, with 626bhp on tap from that twin-turbocharged W12 engine, it was never going to be slow. 900Nm of torque relentlessly surges the car on from 0-62mph in just 3.8 seconds, and then onto a top speed of 207mph. Those figures qualify this machine as a genuine four-door supercar!

As you would expect, the driver does feel a bit detached from what’s going on, it’s simply the nature of a luxury car. However, weighty and precise steering in Sport Mode allows you to exploit the performance available. With the help of a rapid eight-speed automatic gearbox and all-wheel drive, this car crosses country with utter confidence. Up to 40% of available power can be sent to the front wheels to ensure maximum traction. Even in wet greasy conditions the Spur effortlessly deploys rapid performance. Excessive roll is kept at bay by a clever 48-volt systems that resists lateral body motion in a bid to keep passengers from spilling their vintage champagne.

Want your Bentley Flying Spur to stand out when parked in Casino Square? If one of the 60 optional colours fails to catch your eye, Mulliner can help. Bentley’s coachwork division can customise your new car in just about any way your bank balance affords you. Every Flying Spur possesses 1.7 miles of thread, but there’s no upper limit.

The new Bentley Flying Spur is a fantastically accomplished mile muncher, impressive performance machine and a worthy means of starting Bentley’s next 100 years. There is a V8 engine option that likely will handle a little sweeter due to less weight, but when all is said and done, there is no replacement for displacement. The W12 Flying Spur is one of the finest automobiles to grace Tarmac in 2020.

Facts and figures

Model tested: Bentley Flying Spur First Edition

Price: £200,000

Engine: Twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre W12

Transmission: 8-speed automatic

Power / Torque: 626bhp / 900Nm

0-62mph: 3.8 seconds

Top speed: 207mph

Seating: 4

Boot space: 475-litres

MPG: 19.1mpg

CO2: 337g/km

Tyler Heatley

03 Nov 2020