Bentley Flying Spur

“We’re doing just a whisker over eighty” says the voice in my left ear as I find one of the more open stretches of the M4. Needless to say I back-off a little. I’ve no desire to become Surrey Traffic Police’s latest benefactor. The voice though doesn’t belong to one of the local constabulary, instead it belongs to Stephen Davies, Bentley’s Project leader for the new Flying Spur, he’s one of my passengers for this afternoon, and he’s sitting in the back.

The truth is Stephen isn’t directing his comments directly at me. He’s actually demonstrating what he calls the TSR (that’s touch screen remote to you and I) to Anne, a business journalist from The Stoke Sentinel who’s also along for the ride. By simply using the hand held device he can show her not only how fast we’re going, but how much fuel we’re using, how far we’ve been, how far we’ve left to go, and every other function you usually associate with a car’s trip computer.  The TSR – it’s about the same size as an Ipod – can also be used to control the Flying Spur’s 64GB hard-drive, its individual DVD players, the sat-nav, the climate-control, the seat settings both front and rear, and the car’s WiFi. Because the new Flying Spur I’m currently driving is so quiet at speed I can hear Stephen as clearly as if he were speaking on the car’s 1000 watt Naim hi-fi. You’ve guessed it; he can use the TSR to operate that too.

Earlier in the day I’d picked Bentley’s latest incarnation of its ever-so stylish Four Seater Sedan from Jack Barclay London; probably their most famous and longest established dealer. It’s next door incidentally, to where a certain Elizabeth Windsor II was born.

My evening’s destination was The Limewood Hotel on the edge The New Forest, but first I had Monday morning’s traffic to contend with. No pressure then, just 616bhp and 590lbft of torque coupled to an 8 speed auto ‘box all wrapped up in a hand-stitched-leather, hand-polished-walnut-lined limo that’s capable of 200mph and costs more than the average 2up-2down. I’m beginning to realise why Anne chose to let me drive first.

Pull the selector in to Drive and nose the Flying Spur’s chrome grille out in to Mayfair’s Berkley Square.

It soon becomes apparent that despite some rather thick A pillars - thankfully they hide the traffic warden who appears desperate to stick a ticket on a Bentley; either that or he’s simply admiring the Flying Spur’s new smoother nose and elegant yet more muscular super-formed lines – there’s no need to be intimidated at all. At low speeds the steering is light and the gear-changes imperceptible. There’s no sense that the car is “straining at the lease” or that it’s uncomfortable sitting in traffic. There might 12 cylinders displacing 6 litres just a couple of feet ahead of me but as we slip up Piccadilly and past The Ritz, where once no-doubt the famous Bentley Boy’s, Barnato, Benjafield, Birkin et al enjoyed more than just the odd cocktail or two, they’re working at little more than tick-over.

All that changes of course, once we’re of out the traffic. Bury the Flying Spur’s big aluminium throttle pedal deep into its lamb’s wool carpets and it’ll go like a scalded cat. Despite weighing the better part of 2½ tonnes the Flying Spur will still hit 60 from a standstill in 4.3 seconds, 100 in just 9.3. This is Bentley’s most powerful and fastest four-seater yet and a short piece of empty road is all you need to prove it.

But again, it never feels intimidating. The ride is magic-carpet smooth, the steering weights up nicely as the pace quickens and the whole car seems to shrink around you. The torque seems endless, the power delivery effortless. Should you wish to you can firm up the dampers via the touch screen and shift gears yourself using the slender paddles mounted on the steering column. But whatever way you choose to drive the Flying Spur it blends the characteristics of both a luxury limousine capable of carrying both you and your passengers in the most serene of surroundings, and those of a gentleman’s GT capable of crossing continents at astonishing speeds, seamlessly and with ease.

But sadly for me, today we’re merely just crossing a county or two and all too soon it’s time for me to hand over the driving. Like so many of those fortunate to have the means to purchase a Flying Spur I decide to sit, or should I say luxuriate, in the back.

I’ll to admit I’ve never been the best of passengers, even when chauffeured I’m a bit of a backseat driver. In the Flying spur, thanks to the TSR though I feel very much in control.

Bentley Flying Spur W12

Engine: 5998cc 12Cyl 48V twin-turbo petrol
Transmission: 8 speed Manual, four wheel drive.
Power:  616 bhp @ 6000pm
Torque: 590 lbft @ 2000rpm
0-62MPH: 4.3Sec
Max Speed: 200 mph
CO2: 343 g/km
MPG: 19.2 combined
Price: from £140,900

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Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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