For years Bentley has competed against the Mercedes-Benz S-Class by matching Mercedes’ powerful, top-of-the-line V-12 offering with its own W-12, called the Flying Spur. For 2015, the luxury automaker—owned these days by the Volkswagen Group—has broadened the appeal of the Flying Spur by introducing a V-8 model. Bentley’s four-passenger, all-wheel-drive V-8 knocks $20,000 off the W-12’s base price, bringing it to $195K. (After adding in a number of extras, though, the sticker on our tester topped $248K.) The new model is about 330 pounds lighter than its big brother, too. Inside the cockpit, the watchword is full-on plush, with leather bucket seats; a 3-spoke, hide-trimmed steering wheel; a first-class infotainment system; and fine wood everywhere you look. Indeed, “It’s like a dream-date car imagined by every teenager,” one passenger remarked. “The only thing it doesn’t come with is the date.”
1. The Flying Spur V-8 engine is actually an Audi powerplant (Audi’s also owned by the Volkswagen Group). Paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission, the twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 generates 495 horsepower and 488 pound-feet of torque—about 120 and 100 less than the W-12, respectively. So oomph’s no problem, with 0 to 60 covered in 4.9 seconds and a top speed of 183 mph. Fuel economy’s rated at 14 city/24 highway.
2. The Flying Spur cockpit is top-drawer all the way. Think quilted leather hand-sewn padding; highly lacquered wood veneers; plenty of legroom fore and aft; and a rear-seat “media hub” with CD/DVD players and USB ports plus—get this—two fold-down walnut mini “picnic tables” handy for snacks. Washed down with Dom Perignon, no doubt.
3. A big reason the Flying Spur’s so pricey: Each car is built mainly by hand—and to spec—at the automaker’s factory in Crewe, England. It takes more than 1,500 workers over 130 man-hours to crank out just one. Bentley offers a choice of 17 standard exterior colors, plus 17 colors of leather made from bull hides. (Bull leather doesn’t stretch as much as cowhide, they say.)
4. The trunk on the new Flying Spur is generous, to say the least. By measurement it’s 15.6 cubic feet—big and deep enough to stash four sets of golf clubs back there. It even has carpeting in it (add on $555 for that).