2014 Bentley Flying Spur Review

Has it finally figured out what it is now?

By Shahzad Sheikh

2014 Bentley Flying Spur in Dubai

I was never a big fan of the previous Bentley Continental Flying Spur. The Conti GTs yes. The GT Coupe, the GTC, the Speed all make sense to me – grand, grand tourers with a sporting edge, the two-door configurations confirming them as luxury cars for the self-driver. Although the SuperSports was perhaps too extreme for the brand.

2014 Bentley Flying Spur in Dubai

The Flying Spur though, was the four-door version – one that arrived later I might add, and as such, always felt a little forced. The stretched GT styling was a little too close to a Kia Opirus for comfort and even the Chrysler 300C at the time did Bentley better than the Flying Spur did!

2014 Bentley Flying Spur in Dubai

In the metal it was elegant enough though, and the size gave it presence. But from behind the wheel there was more confusion, it still tried too hard to be ‘sporty’ and there seemed to be compromises in quality and finishing that were unbecoming of the marque.

2014 Bentley Flying Spur in Dubai

When the new Mulsanne arrived in 2010, it addressed all my concerns and was a truly modern interpretation of a elegance, speed and comfort in classic style. That’s how to do it. I could now just ignore the Flying Spur.

2014 Bentley Flying Spur in Dubai

But Bentley could not, and it has extensively reworked the Flying Spur for 2014. Most apparent is the restyle, which makes it appear lower and wider, yet more distinctive and discerning – no longer just a four-door Conti GT (interestingly enough the ‘Continental’ part of the name seems to have been dropped, evidently to clearly demarcate this now as a standalone ‘Flying Spur’).

2014 Bentley Flying Spur in Dubai

Whilst the front is still recognisable and familiar, from the front wheelarches back it’s a different car, the side vent gives it purpose, the dip and kink in the waistline pays tribute to the classic Bentley saloons, and the flared rear fender gives at a muscular poise.

2014 Bentley Flying Spur in Dubai

The rear’s come in for some criticism for being too angular and sharp edged compared to the gently tapering sides, but I like it so much better than the overly contrived previous iteration, it’s more contemporary and clean and brings a more satisfying conclusion to the shoulder lines.

2014 Bentley Flying Spur in Dubai

Similarly, inside the car it’s familiar, but so much better. I still keep trying to indicate with the plasticky paddleshifts (why didn’t they transplant the exquisite knurled metal shifters from the Mulsanne?) but otherwise the fact that there are 600 new parts in here is subtly evident.

2014 Bentley Flying Spur in Dubai

The finishing, the fit, the quality is improved, the tactile sensations more appealing. The seats are more sumptuous and the rear cabin is comfy and features powered individual seats, a large fridge and a removable little digital tablet-style remote to control the entertainment, cooling, blinds and seats.

2014 Bentley Flying Spur in Dubai

It’s a much nicer place to ride in now, moreso, because the ride is vastly improved. The suspension and roll bars have been softened and there’s far less unexpected jarring and jolting, with no pretension at being a pseudo road racer apparent.

2014 Bentley Flying Spur in Dubai

The steering is lighter and has lost some of its feedback too. It feels like a bigger, more substantial car though, and not one you’d be inclined to hurl around, it’s harder to place, more ponderous in corners, less alacritous than before.

2014 Bentley Flying Spur in Dubai

Now you may be thinking this is all a bad – but all of the above must be put into relative terms. When it comes to straight-line speed, this beast is still fast, it may appear less urgent, but it’s not sparing the horses at all as the carried-over 6.0-litre W12’s 616bhp propels the Spur from rest to 100 in just 4.3 seconds and on to over 321kph.

2014 Bentley Flying Spur in Dubai

And it does this in a very composed and controlled manner, rather than rampant hot-rod style. It’s all very cool, calm and collected. Talking of which, address cornering in those same terms and you won’t have any issues either. Employ the substantive brakes, ease the beast in, and squeeze the throttle to execute direction changes with unflustered importunity, and all’s well with the world.

2014 Bentley Flying Spur in Dubai

Frankly speaking, I like the new, more grown-up, less impetuous, more refined and less vulgar character of the new Flying Spur. It feels to me now that this is the car it should have been to start with. If I’m driving passengers around, or being driven around, I want to be carried along in a sublime and stately gait, not blasted around like a belligerent business magnate on the way to an aggressive corporate takeover.

2014 Bentley Flying Spur in Dubai

It makes so much more sense now that it’s a luxury high-speed comfy cruiser that almost impeaches upon the ground set by the majestic Mulsanne – though I’d still rather take the big brother, even if it rather more expensive at AED1.4m (plus) – better keep saving then!

Specs
2014 Flying Spur
Price: AED894k (base price, but no one buys that! Model tested was the Mulliner at AED1.1m – $300k)
Engine: 6.0-litre W12, 616bhp @ 6000rpm, 590lb ft @ 2000rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, all wheel drive
Fuel Economy: 14.7/100km
Performance: 0-100kph 4.3 seconds, Top speed 321kph
Weight: 2475kg

Flying Spur or Mulsanne? Which one for you? Tell us below

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