We took the new Bentley Flying Spur for a spin through Monte Carlo
This has been quite the year for Bentley. With 2019 marking their Centennial there’s a lot to celebrate, and in true Bentley fashion, they rang in the occasion by raising the bar. Historical milestones are a reason to celebrate the past, but the best brands use the past to focus on the future. Bentley’s done both, from recreating iconic cars like the 1939 Corniche, to envisioning the future with the EXP 100 GT (covered in our Summer issue). But it’s not all about the one-offs and special releases, however; Bentley has been working on their entire lineup to mark the occasion. Like the already award-winning Continental GT V8 and the completely redesigned Flying Spur, Bentley’s latest release and the highlight of an exceptional test drive through Monte Carlo.
The Flying Spur was introduced to us in 2005 as the four-door alternative to the continental GT platform, and while it’s received a few facelifts over the years, the 2019 model marks the first full-up redesign of the vehicle since its inception. With the redesign came a load of technical improvements and a presence that is felt. While key Bentley design language remains throughout, the features and stance have been modernized to create a more sporty, but elegant looking grand touring sedan. The slotted grill, crystal effect headlights and retractable hood ornament highlight the updates on the front end. Come around the side of the car and you may notice the wheelbase has been extended by over 5 inches allowing for a more dramatic side profile with minimum overhang. The rear gains confidence from the muscular lines over the rear haunches and is finished in “B” themed tail lamps.
To truly appreciate the car’s versatility, Bentley insisted we not only drive the car but also experience the limousine side of ownership. We started our experience in the back seat as we set off from the airport to our hotel and what became Bentley headquarters for the next few days. As soon as you hear the click of the soft close doors you’re transported to your own personal study complete with all the privacy and comfort you would expect from Bentley with an added touch of modern features like a modular tablet that can be used effortlessly for productivity or entertainment. In addition to the touch screen tablet, the digital remote allows you to control everything you may require like the shades, lighting, navigation, seats, media and of course a bottom for raising and lowering your Flying Spur hood ornament. The ride is smooth, thanks to the new Bentley Dynamic Ride system controlling a three-chamber air spring suspension. Arriving at the Hotel de Paris in style, we relaxed and prepared to take the wheel the next day.
Our driving route took us on a journey down the south of France, using service roads and cutting through tiny French villages. Windy one lane roads doubled back and overlooked the valleys below. For this part, we dialed in the sport driving profile. The front seat of the cabin is focused around the driver. Behind the wheel of the Bentley Flying Spur, you own the road. The perfect mix of analog and digital controls puts everything you may need right at your fingertips and thanks to a rotating center display, can hide them away just as fast — leaving you to focus solely on the drive.
The twin-turbocharged 626hp 6.0L W12 is mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox effortlessly shooting the two and a half-ton vehicle to 60mph in 3.8 seconds. All that power is amplified and refined with an active four-wheel-drive system and four-wheel steering. Once you have the car up to speed, you can easily forget you are driving a large sedan. The massive network of systems and sensors work seamlessly to provide the driver with a unique driving experience, whether that be a sporty country drive or an effortless trip around town.
The new Flying Spur delivers world-class comfort, next-generation technology and confident style that will make almost any drive enjoyable. Before we left Monaco, Bentley boldly asked, “Is this the best luxury performance sedan in the market?” We’re having a hard time saying no […]
Words by Frank Torok