As large and heavy as the Bentley Flying Spur may be, you are left in no doubt that it’s a driver’s car once you settle down into its multi-adjustable, double-fluted driver’s seat and have heard the soft-close door click home.
This is a low and enveloping cabin, making it unlike plenty of other super-luxury saloons. Although you’ve loads of shoulder room in either row, the roofline and windows sweep in close to your head. Visibility is somewhat limited. Wide pillars – particularly the B- and C-pillars – eat into your view of the world outside and the pillarbox-like rear screen seems a long way away in the rear-view mirror.
Just how much of that outside world you will feel inclined to see, once within this car’s wonderful bubble of lavishness, can be debated. The Spur’s interior is very similar to the Continental GT’s. It has a high transmission tunnel and beltline into both of which you feel thoroughly well sunken down. There’s the same cluster of switches and buttons around the gearlever and same 12.3in infotainment screen that the GT has.
This car’s point of difference comes in the design of the lower centre stack. Although Crewe’s trademark round aluminium air vents are retained on the outer extremes of the fascia, new rectangular ‘sculptural’ air vents feature in the middle. The space opened up below them, newly free for device storage, invites you to linger after you’ve stashed your phone thanks to the cool metallic feel of the adjacent vents’ brightwork.
There is a clear sense of lavish material authenticity about this interior, then, although it isn’t all-encompassing. The chrome looks, always and everywhere, just as it should. So you have to touch it to know whether it’s really metal or not, which is when you find that only about half of the polished fixings actually feel like what they look like; and that’s perhaps just a little bit disappointing.
The leathers and veneers are handled as superbly as ever, though. And the way that Bentley now blends traditional luxury material tropes with the very latest and best on-board technology is truly impressive; unrecognisable, really, from the way in-car tech was handled, somewhat suspiciously, by the firm 20 years ago.
Second-row comfort will be enough to make the vast majority feel very fortunate, even if taller occupants aren’t afforded as much head room as you might expect (our test car’s panoramic sunroof definitely being a limiting factor). The pillowy rear headrests are lovely, but we were surprised not to find extending foot rests or a ‘sleeping seat’ option listed for the car as you do in other modern limousines.
Bentley Flying Spur infotainment and sat-nav
There is very little not to like about the 12.3in touchscreen infotainment system of the Flying Spur. It’s very navigable, either by the fixed shortcut buttons just below the screen or the line of shortcut ‘zones’ on the far right of the screen itself. And if its mere presence offends, or you don’t want the glare at night, you can rotate it behind the fascia and forget it’s even there.
Bentley gives you a small rotary knob to move the cursor if you prefer to keep the screen as clean as possible, but zooming and scrolling the navigation map with your fingertips is easy.
Rear passengers get a removable 5.0in screen with which they can control entertainment and on-board lighting settings, as well as window blinds and seat massagers. A pair of fully networked 10.2in touchscreens, which effectively work like tablet PCs, are an option.
Our test car had the entry level of three available audio systems (the upper-level ones are by Bang & Olufsen and Naim). But even though it had ‘only’ 10 speakers and 650W, you wouldn’t complain about its power or clarity.