The new Bentley Flying Spur: ‘Ladies and gentleman, this is one bloody good car’

The launch of a new Bentley is always cause for celebration among those who love motor cars — and the New Flying Spur had our motoring correspondent purring like the car's 6-litre W12 engine.

Bentley don’t mince their words when it comes to describing their New Flying Spur: ‘the ultimate luxury Grand Touring sedan’, they call it, ‘offering the perfect fusion of performance-orientated agility and exclusive four-door, limousine-style comfort.’

That’s a big claim in an era when every top-end car manufacturer in the world is trying to produce cars which are increasingly fast, spacious and comfortable. How nice, though, that for once that that effort doesn’t involve another giant SUV, but instead a ‘proper’ grand tourer of the kind which roared across the Continent in the 1950s.

Bentley Flying Spur

The original Flying Spur dates back to that era as an offshoot of the Continental, something which the re-invented version of 2005 had in common: it was essentially a four-door version of the Continental GT.

2019’s take on the Flying Spur is different. It shares nothing but the name with its forbear, and is essentially a brand new car created from scratch by the designers at Bentley’s Crewe factory.

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It’s modern in all the best ways. The engine is an almost absurdly powerful, six-litre W12 which whisks this hefty limousine to 60mph in 3.7 seconds. Inside there’s a choice of sound systems from the likes of Bang & Olufsen or Naim; the latter pumping out 2,220W, which is probably only slightly less powerful than the sort of speakers they use when heavy metal bands play Wembley Stadium.

Bentley Flying Spur

For all the power — both horse and music — on display, traditionalists will instantly clock this as a Bentley, from the hand-stitched seats and distinctive flowing lines to the ‘Flying B’ mascot proudly displayed on the bonnet. The latter is something which the last few models haven’t had, but which returns now that there’s a retractable version which meets all the safety standards.

Bentley Flying Spur

What’s it like to climb inside and actually go for a run? Our motoring correspondent Charles Rangeley-Wilson went to the launch event in the south of France to find out (a dirty job etc) and sent us his first impressions.

‘It’s hard to say what was most impressive about the new Flying Spur from Bentley,’ he told us.

‘The whisper-quiet refinement and view from the rear as I was chauffeured along the Mediterranean coast to the petrol-head’s ultimate pilgrimage in Monaco; the thoroughbred styling and classy kerbside presence which turned heads even in Casino Square — quite some feat I can tell you; or the feel from behind the wheel of what was definitely a four-door, luxury sedan every time I looked back to double-check, but which belied its heft and morphed into a lithe, balletic, magic-carpet at every twist and turn in the road.

‘Ladies and gentleman, this is one bloody good car.’

Charles’s full review will appear in the coming weeks… and we’re already looking forward to seeing what new, inventive superlatives he comes up with.

An original Bentley Flying Spur advert from 1957. Credit: Country Life Picture Library