Used 2006 Bentley Continental Flying Spur Review

Edmunds expert review

Thanks to its impressive power and prestigious brand image, the Bentley Continental Flying Spur is an intriguing alternative to more mainstream ultraluxury sedans.




What's new for 2006

The 2006 Bentley Continental Flying Spur is an all-new ultraluxury sedan.

Vehicle overview

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.




Trim levels & features

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.



Performance & mpg

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.

Safety

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.

Driving

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.

Interior

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.

Edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.