Driven: Bentley Flying Spur

Bentley has been enjoying a resurgence worldwide, and the latest addition to their range in Australia is the Flying Spur. Bentley recently brought two examples, plus a Continental GT and their 2003 Le Mans winning race car to Perth and a drive day gave insight to the company's very special road cars.

The Flying Spur is effectively a 4-door version of the much admired Continental GT. That means it shares the glorious twin-turbocharged W12 engine - 6 litres - four wheel drive and an extended version of the floorpan. There's 411kW of power and 650Nm of torque. So the performance is exceptional. Acceleration is relentless from any speed. Zero to 100km/h is dealt with in a whisker over 5 seconds, which is mighty impressive given that the Spur is a full sized, 2500kg car.

The 6-speed gearbox is as smooth as silk, even when the gear flippers or gearstick are used to select gears. In Sport mode, there's a just-audible burble from the exhaust on lift-off - lovely. The transmission runs a very advanced adaptive programme which has to be one of the greatest achievements of the 600-strong engineering team at Bentley.

Inside the serene cabin are the expected polished and leather finishes, all beautifully done. There's the option of separate rear seats, which is rather nice and myriad bespoke Mulliner options are available to make your Bentley suit your most exacting tastes.

Vast 20-inch alloy wheels are optional and looked striking on one of the Spurs we drove - standard are 19-inch wheels.

I think my preference leans more towards the Flying Spur than the 2-door GT - though the convertible GTC version I first saw displayed at Monaco Grand Prix looked pretty special...

Prices for the Flying Spur start around $380,000 on road, which is a good $25,000 less than the GT. Consider, that in most markets the prices are the same for both cars, and an Australian buyer gets a relative bargain!

Engine type: 6-litre 12-cylinder, turbocharged
Power: 411kW
Torque: 650Nm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Performance: 0-100km/h 5.2 seconds
Price: $353,000 + on-road costs at time of review
Photo left & text - Paul Blank (copyright)