By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
Like a fine wine or vintage piece of art, the 2014 Bentley Flying Spur sedan is that rare vehicle coveted by its owner and lusted after by those who can only dream of owning one. The newest Flying Spur gains a number of improvements to further distance it from the competition, including a handsome new silhouette, more power and an enhanced interior, plus a place all its own within the Bentley lineup. Those seeking comfort, prestige and power will find the Flying Spur delivers all three in abundance. Its twin-turbocharged 12-cylinder engine should be more than enough to please the most demanding enthusiast and send shivers through the showrooms of rivals such as Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin and Mercedes-Benz.
If you know and understand what makes the finer things in life truly worth paying for, you'll have no problem shelling out the big bucks for the 2014 Bentley Flying Spur. More than just mere transportation, the Flying Spur represents the finest in engineering and art.
If Warren Buffet can be happy driving a $50,000 Cadillac and feel no shame, you too can be quite content behind the wheel of a nice BMW, Audi or Lexus, all of which cost far less than a Flying Spur.
Once part of Bentley's Continental line, the 2014 Flying Spur becomes its own model. A new exterior design, suspension, engine and interior make the newest Flying Spur sedan also the quickest, most sophisticated and most expense to date. Later in the model year, a twin-turbocharged V8 version will debut.
Driving Impressions Because it's a sedan, the Bentley Flying Spur for 2014 must straddle the line between sports-car-like handling to satisfy the driver, and a smooth, refined ride...... for anyone occupying the rear seats. Bentley's calibration of the Flying Spur's suspension achieves this goal, with a slightly softer spring rate than the previous car, yet not so soft as to induce wallow or bounce. We like the way this big sedan rides, but we love the way it accelerates. Mash the accelerator to the floor and the Flying Spur's 12-cylinder engine springs into action, propelling the 5,550 pound 4-door to 60 mph in a scant 4.3 seconds. Leave your foot in place, and the Flying Spur will flirt with 200 mph. The Flying Spur's standard all-wheel-drive system splits the front/rear torque in a 40/60 rear bias allowing it to power out of sharp turns like a rear drive vehicle, but hold better to the road when the surface gets slippery.
Naim is one of Britain's premier audio manufactures and the 1,100-watt system they've designed for the Flying Spur is beyond reproach. Separately tuned twin subwoofers enhance bass throughout the sedan's cabin, while specially designed speakers that serve as both tweeter and midrange limit the number of unsightly speaker grilles.
So few luxury cars permit their owners much say in choosing colors or fabrics, but not the Flying Spur. With 12 different interior colors and 100 exterior choices, as well as varying seat sew patterns and wood trim, the Flying Spur can be perfectly tailored to suit its owner's sense of style.
A $200,000 price tag is partially justified by a hand-crafted interior made up of the finest leather, wood and technological gadgets available. The Flying Spur's sumptuous interior is spacious and relaxing, with available climate-controlled seating front and rear and even the option of a rear-seat console and massaging seats. Standard power side-window shades ensure privacy when needed, but sunlight can still fill the cabin via the no-charge glass sunroof. Little touches abound, such as the available diamond stitched pattern that adorns the seats and door trim, or the Breitling analog clock in the center stack.Exterior
In remaking the Flying Spur for 2014, Bentley clearly looked to its Mulsanne flagship sedan for inspiration. Long flowing lines that sweep back to a wide and raked rear pillar convey an image of solidity, strength and grace. There's a maturity in the design that shuns the need for overly ornate add-ons or embellishments. All this beauty masks an incredibly complex and rigid chassis, designed to be both lightweight at exceedingly strong. And although extensive use of aluminum throughout the exterior panels has shaved off 100 pounds compared to last year's model, the Flying Spur is still a substantially large and heavy automobile.
Needless to say, every Flying Spur is an exceedingly well-equipped sedan. Some of the more prominent features include a high-resolution touchscreen command center with navigation, massive 21-inch wheels (19-inch on V8 models), bi-xenon projector headlights, an 8-speaker sound system, power side-window shades and a power trunk. Rain-sensing wipers, power door latching and keyless entry and ignition are also standard fare. Though parking sensors are standard, surprisingly, a rearview camera is not. But even the wealthy need something to gripe about, so there it is.
Options of note include the premium Naim audio system, heated steering wheel, radar-based adaptive cruise control, carbon-ceramic brakes, and lambswool rugs. Wheel choices range from 19 to 21 inches, while the number of exterior color choices can be expanded to 100 possibilities. Other features of note include individual rear seat-entertainment systems with two 10-inch screens mounted at the back of the front seats, Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity, and a touch-pad remote controller that allows access to climate, seat heating and cooling, satellite navigation and multimedia system control.
Power for all 2014 Bentley Flying Spurs comes from two sources. The Flying Spur W12 employs a 616-horsepower twin-turbocharged W12 engine mated to an 8-speed ZF automatic transmission. The twin-turbocharged V8 – arriving during the second quarter of 2014 – is a powerhouse in its own right, making 500 horsepower and offering improved fuel economy compared with the 12-cylinder engines. All Bentley Flying Spurs feature all-wheel drive, which enhances traction.
Bentley Flying Spur V8
4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8
500 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
486 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700 rpm
EPA city/high fuel economy: 14/24 mpg
Bentley Flying Spur W12
6.0-liter twin-turbocharged W12
616 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
590 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/20 mpg
Regardless of which 2014 Bentley Flying Spur you choose, be prepared to write a sizable check. The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the W12 starts right around $206,000. Toss in the Mulliner package, Convenience package, ceramic brakes, veneered picnic table, heated leather and wood steering wheel and the $31,000 custom Satin paint job, and your Flying Spur sedan easily surges passed the $300,000 mark. Pricing for the V8 model will come closer to its late-spring release. At these prices the Bentley Flying Spur is less expensive than a Rolls Royce Ghost, on par with the Aston Martin Rapide S and far more expensive than a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Audi A8 or Maserati Quattroporte. As such a niche vehicle, precise resale values are difficult to predict for the 2014 Bentley Flying Spur.