Bentley Flying Spur W12: With flying colors

Flying Spur Monaco Dark Sapphire 16
(Photos: Bentley Motors Limited)
Taking over as Bentley’s sole ultra-luxury saloon, the Flying Spur replaces its last two iterations and the 103-year-old British brand’s former Mulsanne flagship. The W12 engine Flying Spur is a more modern take on the large Bentley saloon than the Mulsanne land yacht and its continually developed historic 6.75-liter V8. It is also more luxurious and sportier than its direct modern predecessors and their Audi-based front-biased weighting and architecture. The Flying Spur is instead built on a more rear-oriented Porsche Panamera-derived platform.اضافة اعلان

With a longer wheelbase and distance between front wheel arches and A-pillars, the new Flying Spur’s more classical proportions also feature a shorter front overhang, a more rearwards cabin, and a lower tapered boot-line. Such proportions are a reflection of its drive-line configuration underneath, where the engine has been pushed further back for better, more traditional driving dynamics, balance and agility, and improved cabin legroom. That said, it still retains a four-wheel-drive system for similarly sure-footed road-holding and traction.

With a better-reconciled and more elegant design, the extravagant Flying Spur employs a lower, more flowing roofline than its predecessor, and features greater surfacing detail. It also features a greater horizontal emphasis, utilizing a broader vertically slatted front grille, wider headlight positioning, larger integrated oval tailpipes, and bigger, more sculpted lower intakes. The Flying Spur also gains muscular rear hips, paying homage to classic 1960s predecessors. Under its now longer bonnet, the Flying Spur is meanwhile powered by an improved iteration of the brand’s modern signature twin-turbocharged 6-liter W12 engine.

Swift, smooth, and silent
Driving all four wheels through a slick and quick-shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox, the Flying Spur’s Volkswagen Audi-era developed W12 engine combines vast displacement and mighty output with comparatively compact packaging. Wide, longitudinal, and incorporating four-cylinder banks, the engine’s “W” configuration is akin to two side-to-side V6 engines mated to the same crankshaft. With eight gear ratios to optimize performance, versatility, and efficiency, it also utilizes a 48V mild hybrid system, and automatic de-activation of six cylinders when cruising to return relatively restrained 14.8l/100km combined cycle consumption.

Improving on its predecessor, the Flying Spur’s epic W12 produces 635HP at 6,000rpm and 900Nm torque over a wide and easily accessible 1,350–4,500rpm band for a remarkable performance envelope. From standstill, the Flying Spur’s four driven wheels tenaciously claw at the tarmac and its turbos spool up swiftly as it launches with an alacrity that belies its portly 2,437kg. Charging through the 0-100km/h acceleration benchmark in just 3.8 seconds, it meanwhile blasts through 0-160km/h in 8.1 seconds, and on to a supercar-like 333km/h top speed.

A phenomenally fast full-size saloon, the Flying Spur lunges from standstill with startling immediacy and surges though its mid-range in near-silence. The Flying Spur is in its element as a continent-shrinking ultra-luxury express, and is effortlessly versatile, picking up speed on the move. Punching through air resistance with indefatigable defiance at higher speeds as its engine digs deep into its reservoirs, the velvety-smooth Flying Spur’s discrete decibels harden to a subdued wail as engine speed rises and power urgently accumulates.

Comfort and confidence
Decisively settled, deceptively quick, and effortlessly confident at speed, the Flying Spur’s four-wheel-drive and vast staggered tires meanwhile develop reassuring road-holding on low-traction surfaces and through corners. It is better balanced than its predecessor albeit still slightly front-biased. However, four-wheel-steering allows a nimble cornering turn-in that defies its size, weight, and comfortable character. Effectively reducing its wheelbase, the Flying Spur’s rear wheels turn opposite to the front at lower speeds for enhanced cornering agility and maneuverability. At higher speeds, rear wheels turn in the same direction for improved lane-change stability.

Equipped with extensive driver assistance and safety features, the Flying Spur’s sophisticated steering and suspension systems manage its size and weight to effectively deliver otherwise conflicting ride and handling qualities. With adaptive air springs and continuous damping control assisted by its 48V-powered active anti-roll bars, the Flying Spur irons out bumps, potholes, and other road texture imperfections in its stride. It reconciles its supple ride with superb cornering body lean control by automatically relaxing or tightening its suspension for forgivingly absorbent comfort, and alternatively, a sportier and more buttoned-down ride.

Complementing its wafting ride quality, the Flying Spur’s indulgent interior is testament to Bentley’s rich tradition of fine craftsmanship, with its classy design, soft textures, and quality leathers and woods. The Flying Spur’s cabin is welcoming and cosseting, with old-world charm tastefully intermingled with sporting flavors in its upright dashboard and round dials. Little rivaled for luxury, the enormous Flying Spur’s spacious cabin meanwhile provides a highly adjustable and supportive driving position, but slightly more rear headroom and luggage volume would have been welcome.

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