2014 Bentley Flying Spur First Test
A sedan that runs from 0-60 mph in four-second territory isn't as surprising as it used to be. It is slightly shocking, however, in the case of the 2014 Bentley Flying Spur, mostly because of its size and weight. After navigating the 17.4-foot-long brute onto the scale, the final number we jotted down was 5644 pounds. It even outweighs the 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, our newly crowned Truck of the Year.
Still, the big Bentley rockets to 60 mph in just 4.3 seconds, and does so with little effort or drama. That time makes it just one-tenth of a second slower than a Porsche 911 S convertible with a seven-speed manual. And the Flying Spur will have no issue keeping pace with the sprightlier Lotus Evora S through the quarter mile, as both cars complete the distance in just 12.9 seconds. Another number the two British cars share is 9.2, which is how many pounds per horsepower they lug around. For the Bentley, that equates to 616 hp, thanks to the 6.0-liter twin-turbo W-12 engine under the massive hood.
Redline is reached at 6250 rpm, but the brutish W-12 unleashes much of its fury at half those revs. The Flying Spur's peak torque of 590 lb-ft, for example, is at your disposal at just 2000 rpm. The W-12 is essentially a carryover engine, though a few tweaks make the 2014 Bentley Flying Spur more powerful and efficient (12/20 mpg city/highway) than its predecessor. Additionally, Bentley has ditched the six-speed automatic in favor of a new eight-speed unit sending power to the Flying Spur's all-wheel-drive system. In this application, the ZF-sourced gearbox further solidifies its reputation as one of the quickest and most versatile transmissions on the market.
If you enjoy supercar acceleration in near silence, the Flying Spur won't disappoint. Aside from the W-12's muted growl, the cabin remains eerily quiet, even when the speedometer needle approaches triple digits. (Top speed is 200 mph.) Bentley revised the adjustable air suspension to improve comfort and handling, and while the Flying Spur glides through the road most of the time, there were a few occasions when the sedan couldn't completely mask potholes and bumps. We'll chalk that up to the large, two-piece, 21-inch rims and low-profile Pirelli P Zero tires. By the way, those polished rims were our tester's most expensive option, adding $13,985.
When it came time to tackle the figure-eight course, the big Bentley did so in 26.2 seconds at 0.71 g. Those numbers are slightly better than the 2012 Continental Flying Spur Series 51 we tested, though back then the W-12 was "only" putting out 552 hp and was mated to the old six-speed gearbox. The 2012 Continental Flying Spur Speed, however, posted a faster figure-eight time at 25.7 seconds, though the engine was pumped up to 600 hp and the sedan was riding on a lowered and stiffer suspension setup.
Overall, the 2014 Flying Spur is relatively stable with responsive steering, though the last-generation Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG feels a bit more crisp and planted. Benz's twelve-cylinder beast tied the Bentley to 60 mph, but was 0.1 seconds faster around the figure eight (though the hand-built AMG mill makes 148 lb-ft more torque). And thanks to the Bentley's mammoth brakes (15.9- and 13.2-inch discs at the front and back, respectively) stopping from 60 mph only takes 106 feet, just one foot more than our departed long-term Nissan GT-R Black.
And while the Flying Spur's performance hardware is impressive, Bentley certainly didn't cut corners for the interior. Like your grandparents' antique armoire, the Flying Spur's cabin is a showcase of quality materials and solid construction. Our tester's interior was wrapped with leather in two shades named Damson and Linen, which are essentially eggplant and cream. Tamer or more garish colors are available, of course, as are multiple choices of wood and metal accents. A few ergonomic flaws include paddle shifters that seem just a tad out of reach and the front-center armrests that partially block the cupholders. And while Bentley made improvements to the infotainment system, it still feels much more antiquated compared to the competition.
Our car's list of options was long, but two of the priciest items included the Naim audio system and rear seat multimedia unit, which cost $7480 and $7300 respectively. Altogether, our tester rang in at $249,240, which is almost $50,000 above the base price. For that amount of cash, a car had better be special. And if your idea of special is punishing Mustangs while relishing old-school craftsmanship and comfort, then the Flying Spur is your car.
|2014 Bentley Flying Spur|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$249,240|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door sedan|
|ENGINE||6.0L/616-hp/590-lb-ft twin-turbo DOHC 48-valve W-12|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||5644 lb (55/45%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||208.5 x 77.8 x 58.6 in|
|0-60 MPH||4.3 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||12.9 sec @ 107.0 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||106 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.86 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||26.2 sec @ 0.71 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY FUEL ECON||12/20 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY||281/169 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS||1.33 lb/mile|