What's New for 2010
As it enters its sophomore year, the 2010 Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed sees only minor changes in the form of color and wheel choices.
The 2010 Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed is a classic example of one-upsmanship. The "regular" Flying Spur is already an impressive ultraluxury sedan, but the Speed version takes performance just a bit farther. The problem we have with this uprated version is the cost-to-performance ratio. Ringing in at almost $25,000 more than the Flying Spur, the Speed only delivers marginal improvements in driving dynamics.
The Flying Spur Speed can hit 60 mph about 0.3 second quicker than the base Flying Spur, and increases top speed by 6 mph. Yes, we've all heard that time is money, but this takes it to ludicrous levels. More significant gains can be found when the road gets curvy, as the Speed benefits from a lower ride height, higher-performance Pirelli P Zero tires and a stiffer suspension. But really, how many Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed owners will wring out this large luxury sedan on winding back roads?
Heady performance aside, the 2010 Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed looks the part of a large ultraluxury sedan, though it's worth noting that it is beginning to show its age among newer competing models. With sportier four-door "coupes" pulling at the heartstrings of well-to-do motorists, the Flying Spur appears more like the elder statesman. Oversized proportions, placid styling and a frumpy rear end are the main culprits for the Spur's staid demeanor.
In general, the Flying Spur is an impressive ultraluxury performance sedan, but it's also beginning to show its age among newer competing models. The new Aston Martin Rapide and Porsche Panamera Turbo, for instance, offer more performance and modernity, and the Mercedes S65 AMG, though less prestigious, offers more all-around performance and sharper styling. Certainly, there's no loser in this bunch, and the Flying Spur represents understated old-world luxury. But buyers in this rarefied segment certainly have more to choose from than ever before.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2010 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, a sunroof, an adjustable air suspension, bi-xenon headlamps, four-zone automatic climate control, 16-way power front seats with heating and cooling, heated rear seats with lumbar massage and keyless ignition/entry. 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.
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 2010 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.
Bentley equips the 2010 Continental Flying Spur Speed with a full complement of safety features that include side and side curtain airbags for the 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 cabin is one of the most exquisitely constructed automotive interiors on the market today, with an abundance of supple leather and rich wood veneers surrounding every passenger. 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 2010 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. Despite its heavy weight and large proportions, it also tackles back-road curves like a much smaller car.