It would be quite churlish to label as “entry-level” the latest addition to Bentley’s Flying Spur limousine lineup, equipped with a new 4-litre twin-turbo V8 engine to supplement the existing 6-litre W12 variant. Yes, the Flying Spur V8 may be one of the most affordable routes to Bentley ownership, and the marque admits as much, saying it’s hoping to attract upgraders from “regular” premium saloons with it. But frankly, a car that costs on the wrong side of three-quarters of a million dollars in Singapore would hardly be considered cheap to most people.
However, that price is just the beginning. If you decide to, in the words of Bentley, commission one (as you would a piece of fine art or a sculpture), it could inflate the Flying Spur V8’s price to rival or even exceed that of its more “elevated” brethren. If the seven standard exterior colours on offer don’t tickle your fancy, you could choose from an extended palette of 110 colours. If those shades still aren’t to your lordship’s liking, Bentley offers “infinite bespoke” customisation. This means if you can dream it up, Bentley can (unless it’s illegal) build it for you – something that extends to the interior upholstery, cabin trim and equipment (a fridge to hold a bottle of champagne, along with matching flutes, is just the beginning) as well.But all this isn’t exactly news. This is the same Flying Spur that was launched last year, albeit with the inclusion of that aforementioned V8 engine. In case you’re not yet acquainted with the car as a whole, here’s a quick recap – the second-generation Flying Spur is a departure from its immediate predecessor, dropping the “Continental” moniker and shifting its focus from being a four-door grand tourer to becoming a junior version of Bentley’s flagship Mulsanne. That’s something achieved mainly through the softening of its suspension and other chassis settings.
Of course, as with its price tag, the Flying Spur’s “junior” status is relative – at 5295mm in length (against the Mulsanne’s 5575mm), it’s a large car by any measure.What’s news, though, is its engine. Yes, the Flying Spur’s new V8 motor gives up two litres in displacement, four cylinders, 116bhp and 140Nm vis-a-vis the W12, but we think even the most power-mad lunatic will find little cause for complaint with the V8’s 500bhp and 660Nm.
That motor, in conjunction with a creamy-smooth and lightning-quick 8-speed automatic gearbox, punts this 2425kg land barge from a standstill to 100km/h in 5.2 seconds, and given a suitably long stretch of road (without such pesky things like speed limits), it’ll go on to hit a top speed of 295km/h.
But even more than that is how the Flying Spur V8 doesn’t feel a whole lot different compared to its W12-equipped bigger brother, as the V8-powered car is still in possession of a tremendous amount of in-gear punch and mile-gobbling ability. Just to give you an idea of how long-legged it is, the car will not yet have shifted into its top gear while travelling at 80km/h (it will be in seventh gear).
The Flying Spur V8 not only has that tremendous potential for long-haul cruising, it’ll also do so with superlative levels of acoustic refinement and ride comfort. The former is provided for by an arsenal of sound-deadening measures that include an acoustically optimised chassis underfloor and window glass, along with doors that resemble those used in bank vaults.The whole experience is not unlike being borne along on a cloud – something that’s quite appropriate, given how the Flying Spur’s suspension features air-filled adaptive dampers. Even putting them in their most aggressive setting makes the ride feel barely different, staunchly remaining unruffled by some cracked sections of English tarmac.
Indeed, telling the V8 and W12 Flying Spurs apart, short of looking under the bonnet, is a bit of a task. The few differentiators include red centres for the car’s winged B badge, and twin tailpipes with a stylised figure-of-eight design (over a black-centred badge and oval tailpipes in the Flying Spur W12).
These aesthetic differences, along with the dynamic differences, are subtle at best. The churlish thing to do, like calling it a “base model”, would be to call it “derivative”, because save for its smaller price tag (for a given value of “smaller”), the Flying Spur V8 gives up precious little over the W12 flagship.That said, a Flying Spur that looks and drives virtually the same as its bigger brother, albeit with a slightly more palatable price tag, is just the thing the lineup needs. After all, this subtlety is a good thing. You would not want your golf kakis thinking you have gone and plumped for a “lesser” Bentley, now, would you?
ENGINE 3993cc, 32-valves, V8, turbocharged
MAX POWER 500bhp at 6000rpm
MAX TORQUE 660Nm at 1750rpm
GEARBOX 8-speed automatic with manual select
0-100KM/H 5.2 seconds
TOP SPEED 295km/h
CONSUMPTION 9.2km/L (combined)
CO2 EMISSION 254g/km
PRICE INCL. COE
To be announced