What's New for 2006
The 2006 Bentley Continental Flying Spur is an all-new ultraluxury sedan.
There are luxury sedans, and then there are luxury sedans. For those consumers who have been through regular luxury sedan ownership (if owning a Jaguar XJ can be considered regular) and have subsequently achieved enough financial success that they are ready to move up, a new vehicle awaits: the 2006 Bentley Continental Flying Spur. The price required for Continental Flying Spur ownership is about double that of a premium V8 luxury sedan, though still only half of that required for a Maybach 57.
As the name sharing suggests, the four-door Flying Spur is similar to Bentley's Continental GT coupe. The two cars utilize the same basic architecture, drivetrain and styling cues. In terms of size, the Flying Spur is about 20 inches longer than the GT. The additional length has been put to good use for providing the rear-seat occupants with ample room to stretch out. Bentley says it made an extra effort to minimize the Flying Spur's weight increase; indeed, the car weighs only about 200 pounds more than the GT, although, at about 5,500 pounds, it's never going to be considered a feisty sport sedan.
The Bentley Continental Flying Spur does pack plenty of power, though. In line with the company's performance-themed tradition, the Spur's 552-horsepower, twin-turbo W12 can propel the car forward at rates similar to those of a BMW M3. In the higher ranges, the Flying Spur will leave most sports cars in the dust as it accelerates to its near 200-mph top speed. Braking distances and resistance to fade are equally impressive. Meanwhile, occupants are treated to a finely detailed interior and the latest luxury- and technology-oriented features. The Flying Spur is indeed a rare bird. Its performance is a step ahead most other ultrapremium luxury sedans, and it can actually be fun to drive. But this does come with a bit of compromise. In terms of pure luxury, ride quality and presence, it's outclassed by vehicles like the Rolls-Royce Phantom. Those potential buyers willing to accept the trade-off will no doubt enjoy their purchase to the utmost.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The Bentley Continental Flying Spur is a new, performance-oriented, ultraluxury sedan. Only one trim level is available. Standard equipment highlights include bi-HID headlights, adjustable suspension damping, 19-inch wheels, automatic door latching, four-zone automatic climate control, 16-way power front seats with three-position memory, DVD navigation, a premium audio system with a glovebox-mounted CD changer and Bluetooth wireless connectivity. A full-length center console is available as an option; when ordered, it reduces rear-seat capacity from three people to two. Other options include special 19- or 20-inch wheels and a wide range of customization choices for the exterior paint, leather upholstery and wood trim.
Powertrains and Performance
Powering the Flying Spur is a 6.0-liter, turbocharged W12. Peak output is 552 horsepower at 6,100 rpm and 479 lb-ft of torque starting at a low 1,600 rpm. A six-speed automatic transmission sends power to all four wheels. Steering-wheel-mounted paddles allow drivers to shift gears. In terms of acceleration, the Flying Spur can clear the quarter-mile in the low 13-second range. Top speed is officially stated at 195 mph.
To protect its occupants, the Continental Flying Spur is equipped with a full suite of safety equipment. There are side and side curtain airbags for front and rear outboard passengers. A passenger occupant sensing system in the rear seats automatically raises the rear headrests to ensure the best possible protection against whiplash injuries. Antilock brakes, traction control and stability control are also standard equipment.
Interior Design and Special Features
Entering the Flying Spur means being hit by a flood of premium leather that covers everything from the seats and door panels to the rear parcel shelf and headliner. That which isn't leather appears to be wood -- unbleached, unstained and mirror-matched (door-to-door) burled walnut, with other veneers available. When outfitted with the full-length center console, the two rear seats provide ample room but don't offer some high-end features, such as rear-seat cooling. The Flying Spur's trunk can hold 16.7 cubic feet of cargo.
The W12 engine sends the Flying Spur powerfully forward in any gear. Like a lot of big and stable sedans, the Spur doesn't seem overtly fast; only a check of the speedometer or a glance at the scenery whizzing by will do that. The suspension is very effective at managing the car's mass, and this is an ultraluxury sedan that can be fun to drive a bit aggressively. Huge brakes (almost 16 inches in diamater in front) provide fade- and fear-free stopping from any speed.