Full 2010 Bentley Continental Flying Spur Review
What's New for 2010
With the exception of some new colors and wheel choices, the 2010 Bentley Continental Flying Spur remains unchanged from last year.
At the upper reaches of the luxury sedan segment, there are a handful of cars that are meant to be chauffeured and some that are best enjoyed from the driver seat. The 2010 Bentley Continental Flying Spur falls into the latter, just as nearly every other Bentley has in history.
The Flying Spur -- a four-door adaptation of the smaller Continental GT -- lays down some truly impressive performance figures that we're more accustomed to seeing from sports cars. With a massive 6.0-liter W12 engine churning out 552 hp, huge brakes and an unusually athletic suspension, it's easy to see how it achieves such performance.
Alternately, if you're looking for a luxurious ride that doesn't draw too much attention, the 2010 Flying Spur fits that role quite well. As with any vehicle of this stature and price, the Flying Spur bathes its occupants in sumptuous wood and leather that covers nearly every surface. Unfortunately, the electronic interface for navigation and audio could use an update, as its non-intuitive setup and small screen are behind the times.
In general, the Flying Spur is also beginning to show its age among newer competing models. The new Aston Martin Rapide and Porsche Panamera, for instance, offer more performance and modernity, while the new Rolls-Royce Ghost is within the Bentley's price range and is more luxurious and arguably more prestigious. 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 is a high-performance ultraluxury sedan that is offered in one very well-appointed trim level. Standard features include 19-inch wheels, an adjustable air suspension, bi-xenon headlamps, front and rear parking sensors, 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, and a sunroof. Also standard is a 12-speaker sound system with six-CD changer, satellite radio, a navigation system, Bluetooth phone connectivity and leather upholstery that requires a herd-thinning 11 cowhides.
Options include power-adjustable rear seats with a full rear center console, flip-down wooden picnic tables for rear passengers, a full-length three-passenger rear seat, a heated steering wheel, a back-up camera, a rear-seat entertainment system with twin display screens, a power-opening and -closing trunk, adaptive cruise control, a refrigerated bottle cooler, a 15-speaker Naim sound system and iPod integration.
The Mulliner Driving Specification package includes special 20-inch wheels, diamond-quilted leather, contrasting stitching, nostalgic seat piping, drilled alloy sport pedals, twin LCD screens for the rear passengers, a rear-seat bottle cooler and lamb's-wool carpeting. Buyers of non-Mulliner models can choose from 17 different leather hues, seven wood veneers and a dizzying array of exterior paints.
Powertrains and Performance
The 2010 Bentley Continental Flying Spur is powered by a 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 that produces an astounding 552 hp and 479 pound-feet of torque. Just as impressive as the output numbers is the fact that peak torque is reached at an incredibly low 1,600 rpm. Power is channeled through a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control. These features, along with the Flying Spur's all-wheel-drive system, combine to propel all 5,379 pounds of this Bentley to 60 mph in a scant 4.9 seconds. Equally impressive is the top speed of 194 mph. Fuel economy is expectedly low, at an EPA-estimated at 10 mpg city/17 highway and 12 combined.
The Flying Spur comes standard with side and side curtain airbags front and rear. A passenger-sensing system in the rear seats automatically raises the rear headrests to ensure the best possible protection against whiplash injuries. Antilock disc brakes, traction control and stability control are also standard equipment. Optional carbon-ceramic brakes are also available.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Flying Spur'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.
The 2010 Bentley Continental Flying Spur, with its nearly silent cabin, adjustable suspension and jet turbinelike W12 is capable of delivering the sensation of low-level flight rather than cruising down a long stretch of highway. Improbably, it also tackles back-road curves like a much smaller car. But compared to the Rapide and Panamera, however, the Bentley bulk is undeniable, and it's just not as energetic to drive as those two cars.