Used 2016 Bentley Flying Spur Review
Edmunds expert review
The 2016 Bentley Flying Spur's combination of power, technology and style are compelling, even among its peers at this end of the vehicle spectrum.
What's new for 2016
This four-door, all-wheel-drive sedan may sit below the flagship Mulsanne in Bentley's lineup, but the Flying Spur is still a luxury car that sits in rarefied air. Yet this is not a stuffy, old-school luxury car since it has modern touches to go with the classic ambience. Redesigned in 2014 and gaining an "entry level" V8-powered variant in 2015, the Bentley Flying Spur luxury sedan embodies contemporary-traditional luxury.
Bentley's membership in the Volkswagen group has revitalized the exclusive marque. Modern Bentley models are beneficiaries of the corporate juggernaut's technology warehouse. As such, there are two engine options available in the Flying Spur (both of them fully modern power plants), a touchscreen multimedia interface that includes Audi-style Google Earth integration, a remote touchscreen for rear passengers and two DVD players. The Flying Spur is a 200 mph living room.
But Bentley Motors hasn't forgotten its roots. Nearly every aspect of the Flying Spur's cabin is hand-rubbed wood, hand-sewn leather and (presumably not hand-formed) metal. Inside and out, it's classically styled, not trendy. The Flying Spur has road presence and has convincingly differentiated itself from the Continental coupe with which it shares its architecture, rather than being simply a four-door version of that car.
There are other prestigious luxury sedans on the market, of course, but not many. Excluding the range-topping Mulsanne and Rolls-Royce Phantom, which exist on yet higher strata, there are only two others. The Rolls-Royce Ghost is a V12-motivated vault on wheels, and the new Mercedes-Benz Maybach is an impressive display of the brand's best technology and refinement. But when modern prestige and road-going spirit is the goal, the Flying Spur occupies an enviable niche.
Trim levels & features
The 2016 Bentley Flying Spur is a high-performance ultra-luxury sedan offered in two well-equipped variants. The Flying Spur V8 is the base model, while the Flying Spur brings a 12-cylinder engine.
Standard features on the Flying Spur include 20-inch wheels (19-inch wheels for the V8), an adjustable air suspension, automatic bi-xenon headlamps, LED running lights and taillights, power-folding heated mirrors with integrated turn signals, a power trunk lid, keyless ignition and entry, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, a Breitling analog dashboard clock, front and rear parking sensors, four-zone automatic climate control, heated and ventilated multi-way power front and rear seats (with adjustable lumbar and massage functions), power rear sunshades and leather upholstery.
Also standard are an 8-inch front touchscreen, a navigation system, a rearview camera, voice control, a wireless remote that allows rear occupants to control various infotainment functions, Bluetooth connectivity and an eight-speaker CD/DVD audio system with a digital media interface, an SD card reader and satellite radio.
The Mulliner specification adds 21-inch wheels (or any other kind of wheel you'd like, Bentley says), a chrome lower front bumper with wing insert, a choice of 17 diamond-quilted perforated interior hides (including a presumably non-literal "Porpoise" decor option) and six wood veneers, an indented leather headliner, a knurled shift knob, drilled alloy pedals and a special gas tank cap.
A sunroof is a no-cost option; carbon-ceramic brakes, meanwhile, are a five-figure option. Other options include various wheel designs from 19-21 inches, special paint, flip-down wooden picnic tables for rear passengers (with or without vanity mirrors), upgraded stitching, a two-passenger rear compartment with a full-length center console, a three-spoke steering wheel, lambswool carpeting, adaptive cruise control, a refrigerator, a rear entertainment system with twin display screens, WiFi connectivity and a 13-speaker Naim sound system.
Performance & mpg
The Flying Spur is powered by a turbocharged 6.0-liter W12 engine rated at 616 horsepower and 590 pound-feet of torque. The transmission is an eight-speed automatic, and all-wheel drive is standard. According to Bentley, launching from zero to 60 mph consumes 4.3 seconds.
The Flying Spur V8 model also employs an eight-speed automatic with AWD, but slots in a turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 that generates 500 hp and 487 lb-ft of torque. It's capable of reaching 60 in 4.9 seconds.
EPA fuel economy estimates check in at 15 mpg combined (12 city/20 highway) for W12 models and 17 (14 city/24 highway) for V8 models.
The 2016 Bentley Flying Spur is equipped with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, a driver knee airbag, full-length side curtain airbags and both front and rear side airbags. Oddly, the Flying Spur is relatively bereft of the latest high-tech safety features, though adaptive cruise control is available.
With oodles of torque and an all-wheel-drive system that biases engine torque to the rear wheels to improve handling, the 2016 Bentley Flying Spur promises a relatively sporty driving experience by segment standards. The key word there is "relatively"; this is an amply sized, heavy sedan after all. There's little doubt that most Flying Spurs will spend their lives oozing down well-known boulevards.
However, it shares DNA with the capable Continental GT coupe, which has a modicum of driving spirit in its own right. In reality, the Flying Spur's standard air suspension provides sufficient comfort, and the car's isolation from the outside world is comprehensive. That goes for the mighty W12 engine, too, which is so silent that it might as well be electric. The Mercedes Maybach's V12 may have more character, but once the Bentley's smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission decides on the right gear, the unrelenting thrust has an undeniable appeal of its own.
Bentleys are renowned for their opulent cabins, and the Flying Spur is no exception. Rich hand-stitched leather and gorgeous lacquered wood is punctuated by cool metal accents. Some of the switchgear dotting the cabin betrays its parts-bin German roots, but only due to familiarity rather than any actual shortcoming. The vibe is undeniably that of fine motoring. What's more, there are myriad choices of veneers, colors and leather styles from which to choose, making the Flying Spur truly exclusive.
Its navigation system borrows the excellent Google Earth integration from Audi's MMI Plus system, and the responses from the crisp 8-inch touchscreen are acceptable. Aped by the new BMW 7 Series, the wireless rear touchscreen remote is clever, allowing infotainment functions to be manipulated by backseat passengers. The two outboard backseats are spacious, replete with power adjustments, though the center position is fixed. As such, the optional two-passenger rear layout is what we'd give the nod to, its comprehensive center console providing first-class ambience.
Trunk space in the Flying Spur measures an unremarkable 15.6 cubic feet.
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.