Full 2009 Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed Review
What's New for 2009
The Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed is new for 2009 as a higher-specification model based on the Continental Flying Spur.
In the spirit of "Nothing exceeds like excess," Bentley has introduced the 2009 Continental Flying Spur Speed, a more athletic and extravagantly appointed variant of the four-door Continental Flying Spur. Priced around $218,000, the Speed adds about $27,000 on top of the "regular" Flying Spur's price tag. In the game of ultraluxury one-upmanship, this new Bentley is charging out of the gates.
For the extra coin, buyers receive more power and sharper handling. The Flying Spur Speed generates 600 horsepower (47 hp more than the standard Flying Spur), thanks to lightweight lower-friction engine components and a new engine management system. Cornering prowess has been advanced thanks to a lower ride height, higher-performance Pirelli P Zero tires and a stiffer suspension. The Speed also receives subtle external styling cues to differentiate it from the Flying Spur, with dark-tinted chrome grilles and wider sports exhaust tailpipes. The exhaust is also tuned for a more sporty growl.
At the lofty, narrow end of the luxury car spectrum, the 2009 Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed slots in above the more agile Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG. Both are drivers' cars, but the Bentley bests the Benz in terms of sheer opulence and prestige. Also included in this exclusive group are the Maybach 57 and Rolls-Royce Phantom, but these modern limousines lack the Speed's performance and are significantly more expensive. Given that all of these ultraluxury sedans feature the best of German engineering, there is really no loser among them, leaving a buyer's decision down to which interpretation of luxury is preferred.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2009 Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed is a high-performance ultraluxury sedan that is offered in one very well-appointed trim level. Standard features include 20-inch wheels; an adjustable air suspension; bi-xenon headlamps; four-zone automatic climate control; heated rear seats with lumbar massage; 16-way power front seats with heating, cooling and lumbar massage; keyless ignition and entry; a sunroof and "Speed" scuff plates on each doorsill. Also standard are a 12-speaker sound system with a six-CD changer, satellite radio, a navigation system, Bluetooth phone connectivity and diamond-quilted leather upholstery that requires a herd-thinning 11 cowhides.
In addition to the above-listed features, the Flying Spur Speed also incorporates items from the Flying Spur's Mulliner Driving Specification package, which includes contrasting stitching, nostalgic seat piping, drilled alloy sport pedals, a rear seat refrigerated bottle cooler and lamb's-wool carpeting.
Options include power-adjustable rear seats with a full rear center console, a three-passenger rear seat, a rear seat entertainment system with dual screens, flip-down wooden picnic tables for rear passengers, a heated steering wheel, a back-up camera, a power opening and closing trunk, adaptive cruise control, a 15-speaker Naim sound system and iPod integration.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2009 Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed is powered by a 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 that produces an astounding 600 hp and 553 pound-feet of torque. Just as impressive as the output numbers is the fact that peak torque is reached at an incredibly low 1,750 rpm. Power is channeled through a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control. These features, along with the Speed's all-wheel-drive system, combine to propel all 5,379 pounds of this Bentley to 60 mph in a scant 4.6 seconds. Equally impressive is the top speed of 200 mph.
Taking into account the considerable performance, safety equipment is fittingly formidable. Bentley equipped the 2009 Continental Flying Spur Speed with a full complement of safety features that include side and side curtain airbags for front and rear seats and a rear passenger sensing system that automatically raises the headrests to ensure the best possible protection against whiplash injuries. Antilock brakes and stability control are also standard. Carbon ceramic brakes are available as an option.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Continental Flying Spur Speed's leather-and-lumber-lined cabin won't win any awards from environmentalists or animal rights activists, but it's still one of the most exquisitely constructed automotive interiors on the market today. There's a charming old-world feel to the whole affair, highlighted by push-pull vent controls, a Breitling timepiece, and switches and levers constructed of real metal. Unfortunately, the infotainment system is old-world as well -- it's a bit dated, and it shows in the undersized display screen and nonintuitive interface. The rear seats lack the adjustment and advanced features (such as cooling) available in competing sedans. Rear legroom, too, is comparatively scarce.
With sharper handling and more power, the 2009 Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed outperforms the already impressive standard Flying Spur in every way. It delivers the sensation of low-level flight rather than cruising down a long stretch of highway, thanks to its road-smoothing suspension and nearly silent cabin. Improbably, it also tackles back-road curves like a much smaller car.