Old-world charm meets modern engineering? The 2017 Bentley Flying Spur combines both into one elite executive luxury sedan. Hand-finished leather, wood and metal cover up the machinery and computers needed to make the nearly 5,500 pounds of Bentley go calmly down the road — or power up to a top speed of 199 mph (for the W12; 183 mph for the V8; 202 mph for the W12 S and 190 mph for the V8 S).
Both V8 and V12 engines feature variable displacement, which is the technology that cuts ignition and fuel to half the cylinders in order to be more efficient during cruising and deceleration. The suspension is adjustable and can raise or lower depending on conditions. S models feature their own unique tune that stiffens up the chassis for quicker reactions on twisty roads. All models are equipped with an eight-speed transmission that can be shifted with paddle shifters.
On the outside, the standard Flying Spur features 20-inch wheels, with the W12 S getting 21-inch wheels. The Flying Spur V8, meanwhile, gets a more comfort-oriented 19-inch wheel package; the V8 S receives 20-inch wheels. Both S models get blacked-out grilles and diffusers, along with S-specific badging.
But the interior is where all the magic happens. Each version of the Flying Spur has its own standard trim, but like most other cars in this price category, a simple request is usually all that's needed to get Bentley to put something else in its place. Same goes for the leather, too. The standard Flying Spur features more than a dozen leather color options, with additional color combinations (what Bentley calls "colour splits") available. Heated and vented massaging seats for all passengers are also standard. Rear passengers can interact with the seat controls, climate and window blinds through a small remote control. It's gimmicky, but then this high-premium category is partially defined by how well these vehicles can bring awe to their owners and passengers.
You can certainly get this level of performance for much less money. And you can also spend more money to get even more flash. But the Flying Spur occupies a unique segment of the market that combines performance, heritage and usability. With all these options and choices, let Edmunds help you build the perfect 2017 Bentley Flying Spur.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.