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Behind the Wheel: 2014 Bentley Flying Spur
The application to work at Bentley must go something like this: here’s some wood, some metal and a cow…go make a car. Bentley arguably sets the industry standard for this wild world of luxury vehicles, and it’s mind blowing how much work goes into their hand-crafted, hand-assembled chariots. As the Flying Spur is essentially a stretched Continental GT, it had carried that namesake since its inception — but the 2014 Bentley Flying Spur ($200,000) drops the prefix and gets a boost in power and a fully refreshed exterior that separates it from its two-door brethren. In the end, it’s still the same bar-setting luxury experience you’d expect.
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The fit and finish of the car’s interior is overwhelming. The leather has been signed by the craftsmen who tanned, stitched and fitted it; the wood has been cured for 72 hours and then treated with five layers of clear lacquer before being placed on the dash or on the tray tables Bentley calls “picnic tables” for the rear seats. Each diamond-stitched seat offers heating and cooling as well as a massage setting to keep everyone utterly content. Naim audio pushes massive sound through the 13-channel, 1100-watt system that the rear passengers can control; they can also handle the nav via the touch screen remote control, in case in chauffeur is slacking.
After serving up this huge helping of lavish luxury, the coach builders called upon some serious power to guide this machine. A 616 horsepower twin-turbo W12 does the trick by miraculously taking this 5500-pound “car” to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. Stomp the accelerator and there’s a good second of delay before the powerhouse is invoked — it’s annoying at first, but truly is a small price to pay. Paddles on the stalk proffer control of the eight-speed gearbox that brings the car to life as if it just woke from a snooze at the opera. The air ride suspension helps wrangle this mass in the corners and makes the driver wonder if the DOT has been stepping up their paving game for your commute.
The 2014 Bentley Flying Spur isn’t necessarily an exhilarating car, but it’s not intended to be. It’s made to sit somewhere between exuberant opulence and practical sedan; more importantly, it’s that rare kind of car that’s equally enjoyable to drive and be driven in. The menacing front grill and lights, the voracious powerplant and new-level luxury interior put this four-door in a class all by itself…a class that costs about $200,000 to attend.