- Not that different from the regular sedan
- Bigger front vents
- Black trim
- Honeycomb grille
- Lowered suspension
- Black window trim
- Quad exhaust pipes
- Bespoke wheels
- Extra paint options
- Two-tone version
With no Speed model offered with the second-gen sedan, thereâs no successor to talk about in order to estimate how the new model will look like.
Now, the Speed version of the latest Continental GT has yet to be unveiled, but it wonât be notably more aggressive than the standard version. And you should expect the same from the Flying Spur Speed.
Luckily enough, our paparazzi caught a prototype of the upcoming Speed in the wild and the sedan seems to include some production-ready features.
Changes are pretty obvious, especially up front. Speed models usually feature larger vents in the bumper, so expect the side intakes to grow a bit. Both the intakes and the slim, horizontal vent will retain the standard carâs honeycomb mesh, but the chrome trim will become black. Carbon-fiber is also a possibility for this area, but youâll probably find it on the options list. The main grille will benefit from the biggest changes, as the vertical slats will be replaced by a honeycomb mesh. The frame will also become black or carbon-fiber instead of chrome.
The regular Flying Spur is already available with blacked-out headlamps sockets, the usual feature on higher performance models, but Bentley will probably offer a unique option here, like either matte-black or carbon-fiber. The badge on the hood could also have a different color or finish, as will the central fin that connects the nose to the windshield.
Unlike the front fascia, the profile will remain mostly unchanged. Look for black window frames, a black badge on the front fender, and black trim above the side skirts, but everything else will remain the same as far as bodywork goes. Bentley will offer unique, multi-spoke wheels for this model, and will probably lower the suspension by a half-inch.
Around the back, look for the Speed to feature only mild changes compared to the standard Flying Spur. Bentley might add a spoiler on the trunk lid, but it will definitely change the chrome trim on the bumper and around the taillights from chrome to black (or carbon-fiber, optionally). Finally, Bentley ditched the oval exhaust pipes in favor of round quad outlets.
Other novelties will include a bespoke color palette extended beyond the 17 hues available on the standard model. Just like the rest of the Bentley lineup, the Flying Spur Speed will be available with a wide range of options from the Mulliner division, including two-tone paint jobs.
The interior is predictably roomy for front and rear occupants. The Spur is, of course, available with a champagne fridge, a wide color range of leather hides (somehow «hides» sounds less morbid in an English accent), and various wood veneers. The Spur’s infotainment features, including full control from the rear seats, is fully up to date. And Bentley has gone to some lengths to make sure its necessary digital elements are incorporated into the old-world-style cabin as unobtrusively as possible. As in the Continental GT, the Spur’s infotainment screen is mounted to a rotating chunk of dash that can, at the push of a button, conceal the screen in favor of three conventional, although largely superfluous small gauges. Recall the old episodes of Wheel of Fortune in which Vanna White physically turned the letters on the big board and you pretty much have an idea of how this $6365 rotating display works.
Ah yes, price. That is something we should talk about, just in case you’re trying to figure out if you can swing the monthly cost. We don’t have final pricing on the vehicle since Bentley doesn’t yet know what the destination charge will be or if the car will be subject to a gas-guzzler tax. Without those add-ons, the Flying Spur carries a base price of $214,600. The one we drove, however, rang in at a not-insubstantial $261,550. Adoration does not come cheap.
2020 Bentley Flying Spur
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 4- or 5-passenger, 4-door sedan
ESTIMATED BASE PRICE
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 48-valve W-12, aluminum block and heads, port and direct fuel injectionDisplacement
363 cu in, 5952 ccPower
626 hp @ 6000 rpmTorque
664 lb-ft @ 1350 rpm
8-speed dual-clutch automatic
Wheelbase: 125.7 in
Length: 209.3 in
Width: 77.9 in
Height: 58.4 in
Trunk volume: 15 cu ft
Curb weight (C/D est): 5500 lb
PERFORMANCE (C/D EST)
Zero to 60 mph: 3.6 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 7.9 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 11.8 sec
Top speed (mfr’s claim): 207 mph
EPA FUEL ECONOMY (C/D EST)
Combined/city/highway: 16/13/21 mpg
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- Beefed-up W-12 engine
- Could also be a hybrid
- Around 675 horsepower
- 0 to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds
- Top speed of 207 mph
- Quicker than the competition
- 8-speed automatic gearbox
- Air suspension
Just like its predecessor before 2013 and Speed versions of the Continental GT, the beefed-up sedan should feature a more powerful version of the Flying Spurâs standard engine.
The first-generation Speed, for instance, was 50 horses (almost 10 percent) more powerful than the standard model. The old Continental GT Speed was 51 horsepower more powerful than the standard W-12 coupe, so I guess we could expect something similar here. If this is the case,
It will also make it the second most powerful Bentley ever, below only the previous Continental GT Supersports, rated at 700 horsepower.
However, our photographers claim that the Speed test car they spotted features an extra «fuel» cap on the left fender. This could mean that the sedan could actually feature a hybrid drivetrain. And this isnât a far-fetched idea. Not only does Bentley already offer a hybrid version of the Bentayga, but it also has access to a high-performance hybrid drivetrain. Specifically, the Flying Spur now shares underpinnings with the Porsche Panamera and Bentley can borrow drivetrains from the German sedan. And the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid is quite the monster, as the twin-turbo V-8 and the electric motor generate a massive 671 horsepower and 627 pound-feet of torque. Thatâs 45 horses more than the standard Flying Spur, and although the hybrid would some 37 pound-feet below its regular sibling, it would still be enough to drive faster.
But whatever the drivetrain Bentley chose for the sedan, the Flying Spur Speed will be at least a tenth-second quicker to 60 mph than the standard four-door. The latter hits 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, so expect the Speed to get there in 3.6 clicks. This benchmark will make it a half-second quicker than the Mercedes-Maybach S-Class and a full second quicker than the Rolls-Royce Ghost. Quite impressive. In terms of top speed, the Speed will trump the competition by a big margin.
The engine or the hybrid drivetrain will most likely make to a revised version of the ZF eight-speed transmission from the Continental GT. This gearbox has faster gearshifts thanks to a feature that pre-selects the next gear and shortens the interruption of torque to the wheels. Top speed is reached in sixth gear, with the seventh and eighth steps acting as overdrive gears for fuel-efficient driving.
The Speed will come with all-wheel-drive system as standard. The new AWD features active, clutched system that sends all the power to the rear axle until road conditions and wheel slip demand traction for the front axle as well. The sedan will also feature electronic all-wheel steering, three-chamber air spring suspension, and massive 16.5-inch front brakes for optimum stopping power.
- Very similar to standard model
- Black chrome trim
- Optional carbon fiber trim
- New instrument cluster graphics
- New upholstery options
- New wood veneer
- Highly customizable
- Comfortable rear seats
- Trunk smaller than the competition
The good news is that Flying Spur is new for the 2020 model year, so itâs as fresh as they get. If youâve seen the standard model, youâve basically seen the upcoming Speed as well.
The dashboard is a work of art. It features a massive piece of wood veneer that extends horizontally on each side of the instrument cluster and into the upper door panels. Depending on what options you get, it can be a two-tone element with wood on the upper section and Piano Black finish on the lower section.
The third-gen Flying Spur comes with a big 12.3-inch infotainment display as standard. It provides access to Bentleyâs latest infotainment system with new apps and faster and easier operation. But the really cool thing here is that the infotainment is integrated into a Rotating Display system with three sides that revolve in the center stack. The 12.3-inch display is one of them, while the other two are made of wood veneer that matches the rest of the dashboard or three analogue dials that show outside temperature, a compass, and a chronometer. The wood veneer shows when the car is not in use, so the dashboard looks like an uninterrupted wood element.
The package will also include ambient lighting with seven different colors, and a Touch Screen Remote for rear-seat passengers. It will integrate almost seamlessly into the center console but you will be able to remove it at the touch of a button for remote use. It allows access to a variety of applications, including control of all blinds, rear-seat massage function, and rear climate control.
Speaking of blinds, the Speed will be offered with a full-size, glass-to-glass panoramic sunroof. It includes a front panel that tilts and slides rearward and Alcantara blinds that deploy electrically. These are color-matched to the interior upholstery in the standard model and it should be the same in the Speed version as well.
The same choice of three audio system should be offered with the Speed. There will be a standard 10-speaker, 650-watt system and an optional 16-speaker, 1,500-watt Bang & Olufsen unit. Audiophiles can go with the even fancier, 2,200-watt Naim audio system that comes with 19 speakers, active bass transducers built into the front seats, and eight sound modes.
Trunk space will remain the same as in the standard Flying Spur, but this isnât good news. This sedan can swallow only 14.8 cubic feet of luggage, and thatâs notably lower than the competition. The Mercedes-Maybach S-Class, for instance, comes with an 18.7-cubic-foot trunk, while the Rolls-Royce Ghost offers 17.3 cubic feet of room.
So what kind of extra features will you find in the Speed? Well, nothing that will blow you away. Expect things like special upholstery colors and combinations, exclusive stitching options, a couple of extra wood veneers, and new trim. The Speed will probably ditch chrome trim in favor of a darker finish, but it wonât be black, expect a dark shade of chrome as standard and carbon-fiber on the options list. Bentley could even replace the Black Piano trim in the lower dashboard with carbon, which would look really cool and unique. The instrument cluster should also feature custom graphics like red dials and needless and a special menu for performance-related numbers.
The Speed isnât a lot more powerful than the regular Flying Spur, so it will against the same competitors. Thatâs also because there arenât many high-power sedans in this segment. But the Speed will have the oomph required to give the range-topping Mercedes-Maybach S-Class a run for its money. Specifically, the S650 features a 6.0-liter V-12 rated at 621 horsepower and 740 pound-feet of twist. Thatâs less power than the Speed, but notably more torque. But while the Maybach has more torque, itâs actually notably slower to 60 mph, needing 4.1 seconds to get there. While the exterior of the Mercedes-Maybach is identical to the S-Class, the cabin is a different story, sporting the most luxurious features Mercedes-Benz has to offer. The wheelbase is also longer, providing more room for rear-seat passengers. Itâs more affordable that the Flying Spur Speed, with the range-topping S650 starting from $199,900 in the U.S. However, Maybach offers plenty of options to take that sticker beyond the $250,000 mark.
Read our full review of the 2019 Mercedes-Maybach S-Class.
The Ghost is the Flying Spurâs traditional rival, but while it can match the Bentley in terms of opulence, itâs not powerful enough. Whatâs more, the Ghost has been on the market for nine years as of 2019, so itâs a bit long in the tooth. The next-gen Phantom was unveiled in 2018, so itâs safe to assume that a new Ghost will follow in 2020, but in the meantime Rolls-Royceâs sedan is no match for the current Flying Spur. The Ghost comes with a twin-turbo 6.6-liter V-12 under the hood. The standard version benefits from 562 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque, while the V Specification model cranks out 592 horses. The next-gen model should come with a revised V-12, but a hybrid is on the table too. Likely to retail from around $300,000, the Ghost will be a much more expensive proposition, especially when compared with the less powerful, non-W-12 Flying Spurs.
Read our full story on the 2019 Rolls-Royce Ghost.
All previous Flying Spurs were all-wheel-drive cars, too, splitting nominal torque delivery nearly evenly between front and rear axles. The new car is effectively rear-wheel drive in most circumstances, with the front wheels receiving torque when rear slip is predicted or detected. The amount of juice sent forward is dependent on which drive mode the driver has chosen. The aim is to give the new Spur a more sporting demeanor with crisper turn-in. And on the narrow mountain paths outside of Monaco, the Spur, while comically large for this venue, does indeed feel surprisingly willing to pivot and play.
It’s not just the all-wheel-drive system, though. Two other standard systems aid in the Spur’s improved handiness. The 48-volt adaptive anti-roll bars keep body roll in check. And rear-wheel steering makes this massive ingot of leather-bedecked aluminum surprisingly maneuverable at low speeds and nimble and stable at higher velocities. Air springs and adaptive dampers deliver the hushed, unperturbed ride quality you should expect of a Bentley sedan, even while riding on the big 21- and 22-inch wheel options. The Spur glides.
Like its Continental GT coupe sibling, the Flying Spur is fitted with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. If ever there was a car suited to a conventional automatic transmission, the Spur would be it. But the dual clutch does a surprisingly good job of playing the unobtrusive gear-swapper. Particularly impressive is its behavior pulling away from a stop. It is silky smooth and consistent, which isn’t always the case with dual-clutch units. This choice of transmission was an unnecessary challenge for the Bentley engineers—a ZF eight-speed auto would have been an easy, smart choice—but it’s a challenge they’ve accepted and surmounted. The transmission only stumbles during quick on/off throttle applications, such as during aggressive passing maneuvers. Otherwise, it’s a gem.
Perhaps predictably, Bentley’s signature twin-turbo W-12 engine is the only available power source, although the 542-hp twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 will be offered sometime in the future. The W-12 now incorporates a cylinder-deactivation system to improve efficiency by a claimed 15 percent. We don’t know yet what that will translate to in EPA fuel-economy testing. In fact, there is much we don’t know for sure since the Spur is not yet certified for sale in the United States. Neither is the W-12 version of the Continental GT. For now, we’re told to expect that the new W-12, with both direct and port injection, will make 626 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque. Whether those numbers change slightly by the time the car goes on sale here early next year won’t much matter, since the Continental will remain a very powerful machine. The sprint to 60 mph should be about 0.3-second slower than the lighter GT, or 3.6 seconds, thanks, in part, to the dual-clutch transmission and a launch-control program. The Spur will power on to a top speed of 207 mph, Bentley says, at which point the multi-ton Spur will have roughly the momentum of the Earth.
It’s clear that the stately Flying Spur has passed its first trial on the trail to deification: It looks like money. This third iteration of the lesser Bentley sedan appears more imposing than earlier versions. Its massive upright grille telegraphs grand English luxury in a way the earlier examples did not. Look at the original Continental Flying Spur from 2005 and marvel at how its little grille looks almost apologetic compared to the lock-jawed arrogance of the new model. The nose now gets that other archaic signifier of old-world class, a gleaming hood ornament. The nose candy reflects Bentley’s redesigned «Flying B» logo, which looks a bit like the flying skull logo of the Hells Angels. We’re guessing that resemblance is strictly coincidental.
Rolls-Royce has, of course, made a business out of blunt, bugger-off front ends. But the Flying Spur’s face looks much more like that of Bentley’s own massive Mulsanne sedan. And the rest of the Flying Spur continues this traditional styling bent. You would be hard-pressed to tell that the Spur is based on the same basic platform as the Porsche Panamera, another member of the vast Volkswagen Group. The Flying Spur is upright and blockish, where the Panamera is swoopy and taut. The Spur is a handsome top hat of a vehicle. And the new version rides on a 125.7-inch wheelbase, roughly five inches longer than the outgoing model. Most of that extra space has been given over to what Bentley calls the «prestige mass.» That would be the area between the leading edge of the front doors and front wheel wells, which pretty much everyone else in the industry would call «dash to axle.» Point is, this longer prestige mass combined with a shorter front overhang makes the Spur look more like a traditional rear-drive sedan, although all Flying Spurs power all four wheels.