2020 Bentley Flying Spur first drive: Exquisitely familiar

    Whether you like the time period saloon or sedan, the normal, four-door, three-box automotive it refers to appears to be a dying breed. With so many new automotive patrons choosing SUVs and crossovers, it might appear the saloon automotive ought to quickly qualify for the endangered species checklist. Luxury automakers, nonetheless, are nonetheless holding robust. Be it a BMW 7 Series or a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, when you’ve got a good bit of money to spend, there are nonetheless a variety of nice sedans to select from. And on the tippy-top of the premium house, there are automobiles just like the Bentley Flying Spur, which has been fully redesigned for 2020. With this new mannequin, Bentley desires you to recollect not simply that sedans nonetheless have their place within the fashionable automotive market, however that they’ll additionally characterize the very best of all worlds.
    Previous Flying Spurs suffered barely from lifting too many design touches from the two-door Continental, making it appear like a stretched model of that coupe. (It did not assist that, for some time, the automotive was referred to as the Continental Flying Spur.) Its uninspiring appears to be like — to not point out the information that it was based mostly on the Volkswagen Phaeton — did little to boost the heart beat.The new Flying Spur, nonetheless, not solely makes higher use of Bentley’s new design language, first launched on the Continental GT, however takes the freedom of actually making use of the corporate’s newest signatures to a form extra recognizable as sedan, and a good-looking one at that. The energy strains down the aspect draw your eye to muscular haunches on the rear, ending off an unapologetically sturdy silhouette. Spec the non-obligatory 22-inch wheels and the automotive has an imposing presence, whether or not curbside or creeping up in your rearview mirror. The Flying Spur retains its exterior badging delicate, with a neatly hidden W12 emblem alongside the aspect, and the corporate’s emblem accompanied by elegantly lettered “Bentley” in script on the rear. Up entrance there is a restyled Flying B hood decoration that now, for the primary time, can retract into the hood the identical approach the Spirit of Ecstasy can retreat right into a Rolls-Royce. Although removed from a sleeper automotive, the styling is adequately subtle to go underneath the radar of the informal observer.
    The inside styling is, as one would anticipate, much less delicate. The identical luxurious leather-based, metallic and wooden which were the hallmarks of Bentley for 100 years are absolutely current. My check automotive has the brand new, non-obligatory “3D leather” within the doorways, a end that provides depth and curves to an in any other case flat floor. It’s firmer to the contact than I’d like, but it surely’s actually an fascinating possibility — particularly if you wish to have one thing that no different Bentley at the moment presents.If you discover that, occasionally, you’d favor to be pushed in your Flying Spur somewhat than drive it your self, the rear-seat expertise is equally beautiful. If something, the rear seats are much more snug than the entrance, with headrests so mushy they really feel like they’re full of angel feathers. In addition to detachable tablets mounted on the headrests, there is a new detachable touchscreen distant management that may modify lots of the automotive’s principal settings, together with navigation knowledge and the elevating and decreasing of the hood decoration. An onscreen animation reveals you what place the decoration is in, which is sweet, since you possibly can’t really see the symbol from wherever contained in the automotive. The infotainment system appears to be like wonderful, with a big touchscreen interface controlling nearly every thing. It’s the identical setup as you may discover within the Continental GT — itself a reworked model of the Porsche Communication Management infotainment tech you may discover in a Cayenne or Panamera. Of course, the Bentley one-ups its Porsche siblings with the three-sided, revolving fascia that may ship a so-called “digital detox,” hiding the display screen away in favor of a end to match the remainder of the dashboard, or a set of analog dials.
    Richard Pardon/Bentley
    Another acquainted bit is the engine. The 6.0-liter, twin-turbocharged W12 delivers 626 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque, which is actually needed contemplating the Flying Spur’s not-insignificant 5,373 kilos of mass. From a standing begin the Flying Spur can speed up to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, and it’ll carry on going all the way in which as much as 207 mph. Power is delivered to all 4 wheels by means of a ZF-sourced, eight-speed, dual-clutch computerized transmission — one which’s additionally used within the Continental GT, and the identical because the PDK gearbox you get within the Porsche Panamera. That’s not the one similarity to its Stuttgart sibling, thoughts you. The Panamera, Continental GT and Flying Spur all share the identical chassis. The Flying Spur will get the 48-volt energetic anti-roll tech first seen on the Bentayga SUV and later the Continental GT, in addition to a brand new, three-chamber air suspension. On the entire, then, the Flying Spur appears to be like to have little or no {hardware} developed only for itself, and somewhat has taken all the greatest bits of its stablemates with a purpose to reinvent this four-door package deal. In the Continental GT, these enhancements have made a constructive enchancment to the driving expertise, and I’m glad to report the identical goes for the bigger Flying Spur. My drive began in Casino Square within the coronary heart of Monte Carlo. Possibly probably the most becoming place to drive a $200,000-plus luxurious sedan. The Flying Spur seamlessly matches in amongst the unbelievable wealth on show. The deep burble of the W12 engine broadcasts your presence with out shouting about it an excessive amount of, and the unbelievable sound insulation retains the chatter of the vacationers out of the cabin.
    Richard Pardon/Bentley
    The Flying Spur is pretty massive, at over 17 ft in size, however the rear-wheel steering — a primary for Bentley and one function that’s distinctive to the Spur — helps out massively when negotiating the extremely cramped and twisty roads of the tiny principality. With the rear wheels counter-steering at sluggish pace, the automotive really feels not than the Continental GT, successfully hiding the majority of the Flying Spur. Once out within the mountains, the rear-wheel steering makes hairpins a breeze. It appears ironic: The one factor that is really distinctive to the Flying Spur really makes it really feel extra like a Continental. The engine’s ample torque can hurtle the Flying Spur off the road towards the horizon effortlessly, and the burden of the automotive is all however forgotten till it is time to hit the brakes. There’s a motive this automotive comes with the biggest metal brakes ever fitted to a manufacturing automotive; the Flying Spur makes use of each final little bit of its stoppers to effectively carry its bulk to a halt. The 48-volt anti-roll tech retains the Flying Spur managed although quicker, tight corners, however my choice is to dial again the suspension to one among its softer modes to assist handle the shift of mass when actually driving laborious. The steering has sufficient weight to make a difficult drive really feel nicely managed, but it surely’s gentle sufficient underneath regular driving to make the expertise easy. Under every thing however probably the most spirited of drives, the B drive mode (“B” for Bentley) provides a wonderfully balanced and comfy journey. Leave the automotive in that setting and you will hardly ever be dissatisfied, because the Flying Spur reacts to your inputs and provides you Bentley’s greatest interpretation of what you want.
    Richard Pardon/Bentley
    The transition from Continental GT coupe to Flying Spur sedan reveals a slight lack of dynamic functionality. There’s rather less response from the steering, a bit extra labor underneath braking. In normal, nonetheless, it is outstanding how comparable the 2 automobiles really feel — which is perhaps the most important praise I can provide. The Flying Spur has lifted most of its new options from the remainder of the Bentley steady, and the result’s a automotive that feels extraordinarily acquainted. This cannot be seen as something lower than a superb factor, when the automobiles it borrows from — the Continental GT, Bentayga and Porsche Panamera — are all so nice. But whereas these three automobiles do really feel very distinct from one anther, the Flying Spur looks like it is making an attempt to ship the identical stability between a dynamic journey and excessive luxurious consolation because the Continental GT. And whereas it falls barely in need of absolutely reaching that, the added benefits of an expensive rear seating expertise greater than make up for it. The selection between the Continental GT and Flying Spur would appear be purely down as to whether or not you would wish to utilize its rear seats. But with newfound athleticism and a method all its personal, the 2020 Flying Spur makes a stronger case for itself than ever earlier than.
    Richard Pardon/Bentley
    Editors’ observe: Travel prices associated to this function have been lined by the producer. This is frequent within the auto business, as it’s miles extra economical to ship journalists to automobiles than to ship automobiles to journalists. While Roadshow accepts multiday car loans from producers with a purpose to present scored editorial evaluations, all scored car evaluations are accomplished on our turf and on our phrases. The judgments and opinions of Roadshow’s editorial staff are our personal and we don’t settle for paid editorial content material.

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