These days, there are many Bentleys to choose from. There’s the GT, a hardtop or convertible, most of which are available in several flavors (V-8s, W-12s, Speed models plus the new LeMans editions). At the other end of the price spectrum, there’s the Mulsanne (which also has a LeMans variant). But what if you want a four-door Bentley and don’t want to part with over three large? Thankfully, the 2013 Bentley Flying Spur (no longer with “GT” in its name) comes to the rescue.
Priced at around $200,000 and thoroughly redesigned for 2013, the car is beautiful. I had the most enjoyable hour-long visit with Bentley’s “Head of Exterior Design”, Sangyup Lee, going over every angle, nook and cranny, discussing the whys and wherefores of this svelte stunner, which allowed me to appreciate what care went into making this car so attractive. Mr. Lee was the designer of the acclaimed Chevrolet Camaro, then left GM after ten years to become the Chief Designer of Exterior at the Volkswagen/Audi Advanced studio in California before moving on to the Bentley design group. And what a great move it has been for all of us
With regard to the design, let’s start with “svelte”. To my eye, the prior GT Flying Spur was a dichomotous car – beautiful on the inside and a true joy to drive (at 160MPH on the track, it was incredible) but outside I saw it as pretty much of a ho-hummer. Not so the Flying Spur of today. This definitely is not your father’s, or even your older sibling’s, Flying Spur. The car is sleek and interesting from every viewpoint. Starting with the height of the roof and the angles of the windshield and rear windows, this car is going places even when parked. Bentley uses words like “athletic” and “sporting stance” to describe this car and I agree. The flame-sculpted body panels flow from one to the next yet the familiar muscular haunches favored by recent Bentleys are very much present.
Boasting a six litre, twin-turbo W-12 engine and an eight-speed automatic, power is both everpresent and seamlessly delivered, thanks in part to Bentley’s all-wheel drive. Even though this car tips (crushes?) the scales at about 5,450 pounds, the oomph of 616 horsepower and 590 pounds of torque motivate this luxury cruiser to 60 MPH in an astonishing 4.3 seconds, and then just keep on pushing/pulling to 200 MPH. Bentley says that their new Flying Spur features more power than any other Bentley four-door in history and it really feels like it.
Sure it’s fast but what about comfort? The cabin features new levels of quiet, thanks to improved sound-deadening technology and even a special tire design. The seats, in sumptuous leathers, are available in four- and five-passenger layouts. The four-passenger version has a center console running to the rear, dividing the two back seats, and has room for the optional bottle cooler (of course), which can chill nine bottles of your favorite quaff (pass the Cristal, please). The presence of electrically-actuated side rear window blinds add to the commodious nature of this car.
When it comes to a stylish, luxurious, exhilarating ride, the Flying Spur excels. It is powerful, well-designed, quiet, comfortable and even handles nimbly. Great looking and sedate, its motto should be “Keep Calm And Go Like Hell.”