Prior to the third generation Bentley Flying Spur, we were presented with models that relied heavily on their VW DNA, tucked well under their luxury shells. Sure, it was the DNA of the VW Phaeton, but in the world of super exquisite and extremely demanding buyers, this may have been an unwanted fact. However, this is no longer a problem. The 2021 Bentley Flying Spur now shares its platform with the Porsche Panamera.
Furthermore, the platform change is not just about branding. Indeed, the new foundations make the 2021 Bentley Flying Spur the best, and arguably the best sedan Bentley has built in recent times.
Artistically sculpted exterior
The third generation Flying Spur is extraordinarily beautiful. Its external aesthetic balances an appearance of graceful elegance and imposing performance. Compared to the previous version, the front wheels have been pulled forward allowing the windshield to tilt at a less abrupt angle. From the side, all the proportions look right and the chassis appears to sit comfortably on its majestic 21 “wheels.
Visually the weakest link in the Bentley’s design is its exaggerated grille. As with modern BMWs, bigger isn’t necessarily better. However, the brilliance of the rest of its design makes this unattractive grille almost indistinguishable when the car is taken as a whole.
Apparently, Bentley wants to shift the focus of the Flying Spur sedan from driven to driver. In other words, previous versions of the car were somewhat heavy in terms of both looks and handling, making it more comfortable to sit behind rather than behind the wheel.
While the car’s midsection is borrowed from the long-wheelbase Porsche Panamera Executive, Bentley has provided a unique design for the rear. This allowed the Flying Spur 2021 to provide a suspension configuration that improves comfort and at the same time offers plenty of space in the trunk. This may not be the ideal car for a family cross country trip, but it’s still good to know that there is room for some luggage (golf clubs and Hermès Birkin bags). You need more, get the Bentayga.
In addition to vehicles that boast a Rolls-Royce badge, Bentley offers unparalleled quality, luxury and comfort. Bentley allows the buyer to choose the look and feel of the interior. Bentley users can even customize the dashboard to suit their mood or needs. Press a button to reveal three regal gauges reminiscent of Bentley yesteryear, press it again to reveal a 12.3-inch high-definition touchscreen, or press it again to simply show a smooth wooden dash for an oasis of calm.
Since this is a legit executive vehicle, let’s start at the rear. The rear seats offer plenty of legroom and several toys to fiddle with while on the go to negotiate a multi-million dollar deal. The 2020 Bentley Flying Spur comes standard with 14-way adjustable electric seats with integrated heating and cooling, massage options and a removable touchscreen. Optionally, buyers can add ambient mood lighting, a refrigerator, and complex sound systems designed by Bang & Olufsen or Naim ($ 8,990).
Buyers can also opt for classic door ornaments or the first 3D quilt. This unique quilted effect will likely appeal to many buyers with a range of style preferences as it speaks a modern design language without depriving it of its traditional luxury feel.
Up front, the influence of the Bentley Continental GT is strongly felt. Probably the main difference is that the bullseye center vents are being replaced by more modern iterations. There are also many functions, buttons and settings to explore. Thankfully, no matter what you want to adjust, the controls are extremely intuitive and make it easier for drivers to fix their privileged eyes on the road.
Bentley integrates quality woods, leathers and metal pieces so beautifully that you won’t even notice some of the Volkswagen-sourced parts. Overall, the interior ambience of the 2021 Bentley Flying Spur does not stand out for its impressive technology. You could get the same gadgets on an executive BMW for several thousand dollars less. However, you wouldn’t find the same amount of class and style in a BMW.
Performance – In abundance
We generally don’t see executive cars pushed to their limits while driving, unless they’re part of some swagger music video. However, in the case of the Flying Spur 2021, the performance is there if you want it. And the best part? No comfort is sacrificed when the accelerator pedal is on the ground.
The Flying Spur inspires absolute confidence as it glides on the road. It shares the Continental GT’s powerful 6-liter twin-turbo W12 engine and adds just 10hp over the original powertrain, now rated at 626hp and 663lb.-ft. of couple. With the axles now about 130mm apart, there’s a 48-volt electrical system that manages the four-wheel steering and the active torsion bar. As you’d expect, there’s more rear bias on the AWD system, which delivers power to the wheels via a silky dual-clutch 8-speed automatic transmission.
Although statistically, efficiency has increased by 19% over the old Flying Spur, the combined 19.1 mph and 337g / km of CO2 emissions aren’t really benchmarks for Bentley to promote.
Since previous generations of the Flying Spur had the engine mounted in front of the front axle, their heavy nose made the tires screech when taking tighter corners. Fortunately, the new generation is not only lighter overall, but the longer wheelbase also allows for a 54/46 weight distribution over the original 56/44.
However, configuring the 6-liter W12 to fit the AWD system within the MSB platform required several engineering gimmicks. For one, the front axle goes directly through the oil pan.
The 2021 Bentley Flying Spur feels more agile when cornering. While this large luxury sedan treats curves more gracefully than its predecessors, it cannot replace today’s supercars. The best part? It all happens without sacrificing even a little comfort.
Just like the Flying Spurs of the 1950s, the latest generation is made for open and fast roads. It takes just over 3.5 seconds to hit 60 mph and reaches 100 in just 4.5 seconds. This luxury sedan is capable of reaching 207 mph, an impressive feat considering its large stature. With this top speed record, the Flying Spur establishes itself as the fastest production 4-door in the world (for now) and even beats the 680hp Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid.
When you need to stop, the giant 16.5-inch front rotors and equally impressive 15-inch rear discs will quickly decelerate the car with a force that feels like an aircraft carrier’s stopping gear.
Like the Rolls-Royce Phantom, the Bentley Flying Spur’s back seat is the place to be. However, unlike the Phantom, you’ll enjoy the Flying Spur best from the driver’s seat. Not because the back seat is insufficient, but because it drives so well, so engaging and practically begs you to push it harder. This aligns perfectly with the British brand’s philosophy of creating luxury vehicles for those who like to drive and not be driven.
The 2021 Bentley Flying Spur boasts a combination of sports sedan performance and over-the-top luxury that may even lead Rolls-Royce fans to question their loyalty. The Flying Spur starts at $ 216,700, and with this six-figure price tag, it’s fair to say it’s a steal for a Bentley.