2010 Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed | road test

Posted on Apr 22, 2010 by
The Flying Spur Speed boasts understated good looks

The Flying Spur Speed boasts understated good looks

AT A GLANCE

FOR

  • Really fast
  • Handcrafted feel
  • Wonderful engineering

AGAINST

  • Really heavy
  • Plastic buttons jar with rest of interior
  • Is it worth the extra money?

SUMMARY

The Flying Spur Speed is, as you’d expect for the money, a fantastic piece of engineering with understated good looks and lashings of luxury. It’s also very fast, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that power equals sportiness – it weighs more than two and a half tonnes. We really like it as a car, but we can’t help wondering if the 48 extra horsepower is really worth the 80,000AED cost over the standard Flying Spur.

Big 20-inch alloys and wider exhausts differentiate the Speed model from the standard Flying Spur

Big 20-inch alloys and wider exhausts differentiate the Speed model from the standard Flying Spur

PERFORMANCE

For 920,000AED and with the word Speed in the car’s name, you’d expect the performance to be pretty darn good. And you’d be right. The engine is a twin-turbocharged, 6.0-litre V12 and it’s very, very powerful. The 600bhp it pushes out propels the Flying Spur to 100kph from standstill in less than five seconds, which is mind-blowing when you consider that it weighs more than two and a half tonnes. Even with five people inside it’ll rocket along with no trouble, thanks in large part to the four-wheel drive.

The gearbox is a six-speed automatic and it’s very good indeed. Drive around town or cruise around the highways and you’ll barely notice it, but press harder with your right foot and it’ll react quickly and smoothly. There are paddles on the steering column should you want to change gears manually, although we’re not sure why you’d need to.

HANDLING AND RIDE

Although it has savage amounts of power, the FS Speed is not really the kind of car to be driven in anger. It features adjustable sports suspension – which can be tweaked through a dashboard switch – but no amount of engineering can hide the weight of the car. Take this into account and you’ll find that the big handles very well indeed, taking corners with an admirable lack of body roll yet maintaining a pliant and comfortable ride. The difference between the suspension settings is noticeable but even with the dampers at their stiffest, bumps in the road are admirably soaked up. Speed bumps, potholes et al are all coped with very well. Even a gravel track posed no discomfort at all.

The steering is perfectly weighted, and we don’t say that very often. Those used to US cars, which tend to have very light steering action, might find it a bit heavy, but we reckon cars should have some heft to their controls, some feeling of connection to the front wheels, and the Bentley is beautifully engineered in that respect.

The interior is beautifully finished, apart from the plastic buttons around the sat nav

The interior is beautifully finished, apart from the plastic buttons around the sat nav

COMFORT

Think Bentley and you think luxury and as expected the Flying Spur is exceedingly comfortable to drive or be driven in. The driving position is excellent and the heated and cooled driver’s seat adjusts in a plethora of angles to ensure you find your perfect set up. The test car we had had a massage function in both the front and reclining back seats (which, incidentally, are also supremely comfortable and come with acres of leg room).

The quality of materials used is superb. Bentleys are eminently customisable, but ours came with huge amounts of leather, wood and aluminium liberally splashed about the cabin. It really has an expert, hand-crafted feel to it and only a couple of little touches seem out of place, such as the shiny black plastic buttons lifted from parent company Audi’s parts bin on the multimedia unit.

PRACTICALITY

One mildly baffling omission from the front of the Speed is cup holders – open a beverage while driving and you’ll have nowhere to put it. Annoying. There are some in the back though. There are other storage spaces in the front; fold out door pockets and a box under the centre armrest, but considering the sheer size of the Flying Spur, there’s a bit of a lack of places to put stuff. With so much room in the back you could always throw your belongings onto the back seat, but we’d much rather see some more purpose-built areas for stowing things. The boot is massive, at least.

A Breitling clock is one of many features in the Flying Spur Speed

A Breitling clock is one of many features in the Flying Spur Speed

FEATURES

If you’re in the market for a Bentley you’ll no doubt want the latest and best technology available, so consequently the Flying Spur Speed comes with electric and automatic everything, along with four-zone air conditioning and ride height adjustability. The list of standard equipment includes bi-xenon headlights, a six-CD changer and Bluetooth phone connectivity, as well as a very smart Breitling clock.

Options include carbon ceramic brakes, an electric boot open and close function and an uprated stereo – the Naim sound system is fantastic, with iPod connectivity and a crisp, clear output, particularly in the back. Adaptive cruise control is also available, which maintains a distance behind slower cars ahead, down to a stop.

The Speed model differs from the standard Flying Spur through 20-inch alloy wheels, tinted air intake grilles and wider exhausts.

There's plenty of room in the back of the Flying Spur Speed

There's plenty of room in the back of the Flying Spur Speed

SAFETY

The Flying Spur Speed comes as standard with six airbags, as well as ABS, traction control and electronic stability control. LATCH child seat attachment points are standard fitment in the rear of the car.

No crash test information was available for the car at the time of writing.

COSTS

At 920,000AED, the Flying Spur Speed is far from cheap, but it does cost less than the forthcoming Rolls-Royce Ghost, which fetches more than a million dirhams. However, the standard Flying Spur is no slouch, with 552bhp, but it costs 80,000AED less at 840,000AED.

Fuel economy is not likely to be a worry for buyers, but for the record, you can expect a combined figure of around 16.6litres/100km, which is pretty thirsty. The fuel tank will hold 90 litres, giving the car a range of around 542km on a single tank.

Bentley offers a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty on the Flying Spur Speed. The first major service is  due after four years or 40,000km and will cost around 9,000AED at the time of writing.

2010 Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed

Engine: 6.0-litre W12
Max power (bhp/rpm): 600/6,000
Max torque (Nm/rpm): 750/1,700-5,600
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Driven wheels: All wheel drive
Kerb weight: 2,525
Price (AED): 920,000

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