Looking at the new 2020 Bentley Flying Spur, from the back seat it is easy to make a case for it. Stepping into the new sedan is like walking into a luxury yacht on land with the leather, wood, fluffy carpet, and metal that dominate one’s view.
The car has enough legroom to accommodate anyone well-endowed in the right places, and the extra-pillowed headrests are blissful. The kind of plush the car exudes is what you will be treated to at any five-star hotel. The posh offered by the sedan makes it easy to regard it as a mostly chauffeur-driven vehicle.
For this all-new 2020 model, the third-generation Flying Spur, Bentley revisited what it means to experience the car from behind the wheel. The new Flying Spur surpasses the traditional Bentley rubric and sets itself against a set of driving criteria that is expected in a vehicle of this class.
However, the new Flying Spur is still a proper Bentley fundamentally. This time, the brand adds more interesting visual flair to the assortment. The first-generation Flying Spur released in the mid-to-late 2000s was an ultra-luxury sedan that resembled a Continental GT with two extra doors. This DNA lived on through the second-generation car released in 2013. However, for the third generation, Bentley designers came up with a new concept that genuinely differentiates the design of the vehicle from that of its two-door sibling.
The interior is traditionally Bentley in all the right ways. As expected, premium looking and feeling materials cover everything within reach from large sections of leather, to etched metal buttons. Some of the designs feature the optional $13,160 Mulliner Driving Specification, which adds leather headliner and three-dimensional leather to the door panels. The labour-intensive process results in a diamond-like surface on the leather-lined door inserts that physically pops out from the door panel.
There are 15 standard leather colours to pick from, including a standard two-tone theme. There is also the wood trim. Also, you can choose from the eight optional dual-tone veneer colours. And if you want a design more tasty than the standard, Bentley’s in-house designer will be happy to make that happen for you.
The Flying Spur is relatively severe in the tech department, too. A 12.3-inch centre touchscreen display is standard, which for $6,365 can play hide and seek, just like in the Continental GT. Interacting with the screen is a mostly easygoing process, with quick response times and intuitive menu layouts. However, the screen, like so many others, collects fingerprints faster than a kid collects candy. Just keep a cloth handy.
A removable touchscreen remote serves as the primary interface for rear passengers. It retracts automatically from the centre console with a tap of the screen. It allows users to adjust a vast range of items in the vehicle, including the seats’ massage, ventilation, and heating functions, as well as the climate controls, media, and navigation settings.
You can even retract the Flying B ornament into the bodywork at the touch of a button. Some of the designs feature the rear-seat entertainment package, which includes two Android tablets affixed to the back of the front headrests. At $7,700, this is a pricey option, with technology that will surely be replaced by a newer kit sooner rather than later. Skip it on the options sheet, and put the money somewhere more useful, like the 19-speaker Naim audio system, which has earned a reputation as one of the best in the industry.
Tucked beneath the massive hood, or bonnet, as Bentley calls it, is a twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre W12 that produces 626 horsepower and an enormous 664 pound-feet of torque. The figures it provides are double-take worthy: The Flying Spur sprints to 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds and onward to a top speed of 207 miles per hour (and it can go faster). That’s 0.2 seconds quicker to 60 than a Toyota Supra, while its top speed betters that of a and higher top speed than a Lamborghini Huracan Evo.
While the performance figures are undoubtedly the attention grabber from a dynamic point of view, some brilliant things are going on beneath the sheet metal that makes the Flying Spur a better performer on the curving tarmac. The car now includes a standard rear-wheel steering system, which turns the rear wheels counter to the front wheels at low speeds, and in the same direction at high speeds to improve agility and stability, respectively.
Additionally, there is an active anti-roll system that relies on a 48-volt electrical system to quickly connect and disconnect the anti-roll bars. It improves lateral performance and limits body motion without disturbing the sedan’s ride quality. Finally, the air suspension now boasts air chambers with 60 per cent more volume, giving the suspension a much higher ability to switch from cushy to sporty.