Geneva Motor Show 2013: Bentley Flying Spur

Keith Adams

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The Bentley Flying Spur is a very clever car. We know what you’re thinking – how can anything that offers a range that only includes W12 and V8 engines be anything other than folly in this day and age? And yes, there’s mileage in that – but what makes the new ‘Spur so intelligent is that it’s not an all-new car at all, but a very thorough facelift of the old model… Bet you’d never have guessed.

But it’s good that Bentley is putting some love into its saloon line. Lately, the company has become better known for its two-door Continental GT models. Impressive though they are, the Crewe-based manufacturer used to build more four-door saloons than two-door coupes, so fans of the old days will be pleased at the announcement of the latest all-new Flying Spur model.

It’s unmistakably a Bentley, with large, round twin-headlights and purposeful yet understated styling. It’s been restyled with the major emphasis being placed at the rear of the car – out goes the slightly angular look of the old model, and in comes a swooping tail with more than a hint of the new Mulsanne about it. We like it. The ‘Spur has the power it needs to be a true Bentley, too – the 6.0-litre W12 produces 616bhp and 590lb ft. That’s sufficient for a 200mph top speed and a 0-60mph time of 4.3 seconds.

All models have all-wheel drive and are fitted with a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission. Improvements have been made to fuel economy over the outgoing model, but don’t expect frugality – combined cycle economy is 19.2mpg and emissions are 343g/km.

The cabin is as sumptuous as you’d expect – there’s soft leather, seat heating and ventilation for all occupants and there’s lots of seat adjustment to maximise comfort. All of the wood veneer – almost ten square metres per car – is hand crafted and seven variations are offered. It’s also offered in four- or five-seat form. The former features an extra storage area with a stowage case trimmed in veneer to match the interior of the car. There are electronically operated rear privacy blinds fitted as standard to both four- and five-seat models.

It’s not all traditional, though – there’s an eight-inch touch screen with sat nav, voice control and Bluetooth. Rear seat passengers can control the touch-screen with a remote, while hard workers can specify a Bentley Connectivity Unit, which adds 10-inch screens to the rear headrests and web-connectivity.

Sales commence in the middle of the year and prices will start at around £150,000.

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Keith Adams

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