The W12 and V8 motor in the front of the Flying Spur has received a new engine management system, including different control of the turbos, which, combined with the eight-speed auto, improves the Spur’s emissions by 13 per cent over the outgoing model’s.
Fuel consumption is still 19.2mpg (combined), mind, and CO2 emissions are 343g/km – figures that are lumpy for two very good reasons. First, this is a 2545kg car. Second, it’s capable of reaching 60mph from rest in 4.5sec and 100mph in 10.4sec, and it can cover a standing quarter mile in 13.0sec dead. This is a quick car.
It’s also one with excellent drivetrain refinement and ambience. From outside, at idle, one tester noted that it sounds like a powerful tug boat (in the nicest sense): woofly and effortlessly powerful.
The Bentley's engines make their peak power at 6000rpm, true, but that the W12's 590lb ft and the V8's 488lb ft are available from only 2000rpm and 1750rpm respectively, so the engines are responsive over a broad range. It doesn’t much matter which gear you’re in, in other words.
It’s just as well the ZF unit shifts intelligently and smoothly, because the manual paddles are an awkward stretch, high up on the steering column. It’s best left to its own devices, whereupon it drives the Flying Spur forward with the kind of thrust in keeping with its reputation – and price – near the top of the luxury saloon pile.
We’re less taken with the brakes. They’re fine under most normal conditions, but this car has 200mph potential. From high speeds, the pedal feels dead and initial retardation could be stronger. Taking 2.99sec to stop from 60mph in ideal conditions, while far from dangerous, isn’t anything to write home about, either.
Carbon-ceramic brakes are optional, but you’d have to weigh up their pedal feel versus their resistance to fade to decide if they’re worth it.