A luxury saloon with a thumping 616bhp under the hood! This is the new Bentley Flying Spur.
Where it is still certainly worthy of being called ‘Continental’ is under the hood. There is currently only one powerplant for this car, and that is the full-fat 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12, wound up to a faintly ridiculous 616bhp and 81.6kgm of torque – in a luxury saloon! Bentley says that’s enough to yank nearly 2.5 tonnes of luxury to 100kph in just 4.6 seconds, and though we didn’t get a chance to run it against our testing gear, we doubt that’s far off the mark. This is no doubt helped by AWD and ZF’s fantastic eight-speed automatic. Feeling it take off the way it does for the first time can catch you off guard. It’s actually easier with the gearlever in Sport, because the response to throttle inputs here is more immediate. In normal Drive mode, it eases off the line gently, but then the torque suddenly comes in strong and that takes a little getting used to. From then on, it’s a seemingly unending surge to the redline. At 5.3m long and 1.9m wide, this is no lithe GT car – it’s an out and out limousine. But it must be said that it steers in a very composed and predictable manner for something its size; something it likely owes to its ‘Continental’ roots.
But of course, what matters most in a car like this is how well you’re pampered in the cabin. All four individual heated, cooled, reclining, massaging seats are superbly plush – wrapped in finely stitched leather with a pillow-soft top layer of cushioning. However, it must be mentioned, they are lacking slightly in thigh support. The cabin is a feast of leather, wood and metal, with fantastic details like push-pull metal switches for the air-con vents and the knurled metal on the gearlever, but this makes the few lower-quality bits stand out like sore thumbs. Things like the steering buttons, front touchscreen, and especially the suspension and seat heating buttons on the centre console, look like quick grabs from the VW parts bin. Continued..