Full 2011 Bentley Continental Flying Spur Review
What's New for 2011
The 2011 Bentley Continental Flying Spur is unchanged from last year.
It is hard to find fault with anything as finely crafted as the 2011 Bentley Continental Flying Spur. From its sumptuous interior to its brawny 12-cylinder engine, this ultra-luxury sedan has little in the way of competition. Yet we would caution interested buyers that a likely forthcoming model refresh should address its few faults.
The upcoming 2012 Continental GT is the first to get the new treatment, with a minor styling update, sharper handling and more rear-seat legroom and an improved infotainment display and interface. We expect the larger Flying Spur to follow suit, so prospective owners may want to postpone their purchase until the next model arrives.
If waiting isn't an option, however, buyers can still rest easy knowing they possess a truly fine automobile. Exclusivity is all but guaranteed with the Flying Spur's $180,000 starting price and for that considerable sum, owners will likely enjoy the Bentley's understated styling and old-world charm just as much as the next version's.
But for now, those seeking a bit more modernity should check out the upper-echelon models of the Audi A8, Jaguar XJ and Mercedes-Benz S-Class. The Aston Martin Rapide and Porsche Panamera are also worth consideration. The Rolls-Royce Ghost is also within the Bentley's price range and offers even more prestige. Fortunately for the well-heeled buyer, there's not a bad choice in the bunch, as none of these ultra-luxury sedans will disappoint.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2011 Bentley Continental Flying Spur is a high-performance ultra-luxury sedan that is offered in one very well-appointed trim level.
Standard features include 19-inch wheels, a sunroof, keyless ignition/entry, an adjustable air suspension, bi-xenon headlamps, front and rear parking sensors, four-zone automatic climate control, heated and ventilated front and rear seats, 16-way power front seats with lumbar massage, rear-seat lumbar massage, and leather upholstery that requires a herd-thinning 11 cowhides. Also standard is a 12-speaker sound system with six-CD changer, satellite radio, a navigation system and Bluetooth phone connectivity.
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 backseat, 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, special seat piping and drilled alloy sport pedals. 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 2011 Bentley Continental Flying Spur is powered by a twin-turbo 6.0-liter W12 that produces 552 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque. 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 5,567 pounds of this Bentley to 60 mph in a scant 4.9 seconds. Fuel economy is expectedly low, at an EPA-estimated 11 mpg city/18 mpg highway and 13 combined.
Standard safety features on the 2011 Flying Spur include side and side curtain airbags in both 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 available.
Interior Design and Special Features
Of all the luxury cars on the market, few can challenge the Bentley Continental Flying Spur's exquisite interior. Only the finest leathers and wood veneers are selected, while time-honored craftsmanship shows in every detail. Push-pull vent controls, a Breitling timepiece and real metal switchgear give the cabin an old-world charm. So, too, does the outdated infotainment display, and this is not a good thing. It has many of the high-tech features one now expects in a luxury car, but using those features is a pain since it lacks the functionality of newer systems.
The 2011 Bentley Continental Flying Spur, with its nearly silent cabin, adjustable suspension and turbine-like W12 is capable of delivering the sensation of low-level flight rather than merely that of cruising down a long stretch of highway. Improbably, it also tackles back-road curves like a much smaller car. But compared to other large luxury sedans, the Bentley's bulk is undeniable, and it's just not as energetic to drive as cars like the Jaguar XJ or Porsche Panamera. If you're looking for transport that's more stately than energetic, though, the Flying Spur should certainly deliver.