From £133,200
The Flying Spur saloon gets more power and some styling tweaks

Our Verdict

Bentley Continental Flying Spur

The Bentley Continental Flying Spur is a vast and potent luxury car, but its refinement isn't good enough

Steve Cropley Autocar
9 June 2008

What is it?

The Flying Spur Speed is a new, hotter update of Bentley’s Continental saloon, with more power and a claimed 200mph top speed. The Speed gets the same uprated version of Bentley’s 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged W12 that we’ve already seen in the Speed version of the coupe, with 600bhp and 553lb ft of torque.

Performance is more than adequate: Bentley claims that, despite a near-three ton kerbweight, the Spur Speed can crack 60mph from rest in 4.5seconds and get north of 100mph in just 10.5seconds.

Visually, the Speed is distinguished by a dark tinted front grille, a 10mm lower ride height and new 20-inch alloys. It costs £16,000 more than the standard Flying Spur.

What’s it like?

Bentley has given the Flying Spur a mid-life facelift at the same time as introducing the Speed package, bringing some mild updates to the VW-based saloon that was launched in 2006.

The radiator grille is slightly steeper and the bumpers are new, while the interior has been tweaked with piping and a new standard multi-spoke wheel. Fresh options include a brilliant Naim premium audio system.

The headline improvement is to the mechanicals. The Speed engine gets a series of detail improvements that together raise power from the previous 550 bhp (a level retained in the standard car) to 600 bhp, while also boosting economy by 3.5 percent.

Both models get refinement updates (thicker glass, an acoustic chief underneath) plus a thorough revision of suspension bushes, spring and damper rates, and anti-roll bars.

The Speed gets its steering rack rigidly mounted to the chassis, giving it a noticeably more accurate and communicative helm – but it’s still quieter and smoother than its predecessor.

On public roads its hard to pick up the performance difference between the Speed and the standard Flying Spur, but the more powerful car has more exhaust rumble, including a deliciously throaty burble on the overrun.

The bottom line is that the Speed combines more refinement and luxury with an even sharper performance edge.

So, should I buy one?

If you can hack the fuel consumption (which hovers around 16-18mpg for everyday use) – and afford to pay the scarily high running costs – the Spur Speed makes a strong case for itself. It possesses an extra helping of exclusivity compared to lesser big saloons – and it loses nothing in refinement.

Join the debate


11 June 2008

This has got be the ugliest Toyota Camry looking, VW Phaeton based, Korean styled "Bentley" ever. And then they put more bling on it!!

The only thing that makes it anything out of the ordinary is the performance. The whole Continental GT and the other derivatives are good for people who want to buy a badge...footballers and Costa Del D&G types are most welcome to this.

Me? I would rather have the Quattroporte or MB S63 and keep the change for a New Noble or Artega!

if it's heavy, it ain't happenin' 

11 June 2008

I don't find it ugly, but cannot see the point of a more powerful version of an already powerful current luxury car.

Totally with you on the Quattroporte though, stunning car.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Volvo V90
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The Volvo V90 is a big estate ploughing its own furrow. We’re about to see if it is refreshing or misguided
  • Kia Stonic
    First Drive
    18 October 2017
    Handsome entrant into the bulging small crossover market has a strong engine and agile handling, but isn’t as comfortable or complete as rivals
  • Hyundai Kona
    First Drive
    18 October 2017
    Hyundai's funky-looking Kona crossover with a peppy three-cylinder engine makes all the right noises for the car to be a success in a crowded segment
  • Citroën C3 Aircross
    First Drive
    17 October 2017
    The Citroen C3 Aircross has got funky looks and a charming interior, but it's another small SUV, and another dynamic miss. Numb steering is just one thing keeping it from class best
  • Skoda-Karoq 2.0 TDI 4x4
    First Drive
    16 October 2017
    Diesel version of Skoda’s junior SUV is unobtrusive and undemanding, but we’d still go for the silkier petrol version of the Karoq