Exterior Design: ****
The Spur offends finely-honed aesthetic sensibilities in detail only: weirdly-shaped rear three-quarter windows, oddly over-sized taillights, incongruous chrome side window surrounds and deadly dull wheels. The Rolls Royce Phantom is the only place you ll find more automotive charisma, and it costs twice as much.
Yowzir! Zero to sixty in 4.9 seconds is more than good enough for most people— although in this much space, no one can hear you scream. The Spur s W12 powerplant produces so much torque so low down in the rev range that you are never, ever short of grunt— and if you are, just swap for a lower cog and away you bloody well go. The Spur adds speed with brutal consistency all the way to its 208mph v-max.
The world s fastest four-door gets the world s biggest passenger car brakes, with dinner plate-sized rotors (15.9 and 13.2 ). And a damn fine job the anchors do to, repeatedly shedding speed at triple digit velocities as if parachute assisted. They re also tireless workers, with no appreciable diminution in braking efficacy or pedal feel.
Mercedes invented air suspension; Bentley perfected it. Even without dithering about with multiple suspension settings, the Spur provides both comfort and poise. Whether cruising through the rougher parts of town (searching for God knows what) or racing a twin engine Piper Cub down a Nevada highway, the Spur s ride never ceases to feel reassuring, and reassuringly expensive.
A fine-handling luxobarge never means having to listen to your passengers complain as you double the posted speed limit in all situations. The Spur has an ability to negotiate a curve that puts its Continental GT sister-under-the-skin to shame, and gives plutocrats a reason to leave. I wouldn t want to blast through a series of switchbacks at speed, but otherwise, hakuna matata in extremis.
The Flying Spur s ZF six-speed is everything you want in an autobox— and less (intrusive). Although the Spur doesn t have a fly-by-wire throttle, the Bakelite-style paddle shifters work a treat, placing a mega-tsunami of torque at your fingertips.
You can order your Bentley Continental Flying Spur with whatever gadgetry strikes your fancy: built-in DVD player, laptop table with power points, hidden digital camera, etc. As standard, the Spur comes with what the Brits call Sweet FA. The stereo benefits from the hushed cabin, but the head unit lacks MP3 compatibility or access to satellite radio. At least the Phaeton-sourced buttonology is easy to use.
Again, it s all a la carte, by negotiation. The standard sat nav is a bit dim-witted and Bluetoothery is notable by its absence. Still, the Spur s rear cabin is a jolly pleasant place for a quiet confab, or a Quaker meeting.
The big Bentley s boot offers enough room for chronic over-packers, although it s a bit more horizontally capable than vertically accommodating.
Overall rating: *****
[by Robert Farago]
Jalopnik Reviews: 2006 Bentley Continental Flying Spur, Part 1; Part 3 [internal]