Full 2012 Bentley Continental Flying Spur Review
What's New for 2012
For 2012, the Bentley Continental Flying Spur gets a new touchscreen infotainment system as well as a customization option known as "Series 51". The latter allows buyers to individualize their Spur via a choice of two-tone exterior paint schemes and 14 unique tri-color interior treatments.
If you're looking for the land-bound equivalent of a Gulfstream business jet, you can stop at the 2012 Bentley Continental Flying Spur. In addition to the ability to accelerate like an exotic sports car and cruise effortlessly at autobahn-level speeds, the Flying Spur also offers four doors and a welcoming cabin to comfortably transport its fortunate occupants.
This year, the Flying Spur benefits from an improved infotainment display and interface that offers a hard-drive-based navigation system as well as iPod integration and 15GB for music storage. There is also a new multifunction display screen in the main instrument display, along with improved Bluetooth pairing functionality. And for those looking for even more exclusivity, this year brings the Series 51 option that allows buyers to choose from an expansive array of unique paint and interior color schemes.
Although there's no denying the allure of this classy and speedy sedan, there are, of course, other options for the well-heeled to consider. Those who'd prefer more modern styling and sharper handling to the Spur's old-world British charm should look at the 2012 Aston Martin Rapide and 2012 Porsche Panamera. And those who can make a substantial financial leap beyond the Flying Spur's price tag might also consider the ultra-prestigious Rolls-Royce Ghost. As expected, there's not a bad choice in the bunch. We could think of worse ways to spend a few weekend afternoons than test-driving the lot of them to help us decide.
Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2012 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, iPod integration, 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 and a 15-speaker Naim sound system.
There is also the available Series 51 package that includes a two-tone body scheme with unique wheels and a choice of no fewer than 14 different tri-tone interior schemes with unique wood trim. Further options include a leather child seat and leather scatter cushions (throw pillows to you and me).
Powertrains and Performance
The 2012 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 this Bentley to 60 mph in a scant 4.9 seconds. Fuel economy is expectedly low, at an EPA-estimated 14 mpg combined (11 city/19 highway).
Standard safety features on the 2012 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. And this year's new, more user-friendly infotainment interface and display takes care of one of the few gripes we had with the previous Spur's outdated unit.
The 2012 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 thrilling, though, the Flying Spur should certainly deliver.