Although in some circles a V8 powered car is no longer seen as a good thing, Bentley’s Flying Spur would beg to differ. Hand-built by a team of workers across 84 stages and up to 100 hours in build time, the Bentley Flying Spur packs a 4.0L petrol engine with a pair of turbos to develop 542 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of torque. This is enough to see a sprint time of 4.0 seconds to 60mph and a top speed of 198mph.
That peak torque is table flat from 2,000rpm to 4,500rpm, thanks to the twin-scroll turbos. Each has two separate, parallel flow channels in the turbine housing. This design means at low speeds the turbos spin out the right pressure to produce that massive torque. The turbos themselves are buried in the V of the engine. This proximity of the turbos to the engine minimizes the distance the gases need to travel which means rapid response and high-efficiency.
The result is high torque available at low speeds. The turbos are located inside the ‘V’ of the engine, minimizing the distance the exhaust gases travel from the engine to the turbochargers, promoting rapid response and high–efficiency. The light throttle has boost pressure being stored, rather than being built up constantly. On a heavier throttle application, that pressure is on tap and ready for use. The economy sees 22.2mpg and a range of around 440 miles.
Cylinder deactivation helps in the economic stakes too. If the throttle sensor reads a light application, the engine speed is below 3,000rpm, and torque is below 235Nm, the engine shuts down four of the eight cylinders and can do so in 20 milliseconds. The V8 is around 100 kilograms or 220 pounds lighter than the previously used W16 which also benefits the economy.
The handcrafting of a Bentley has been part of the Crewe, U.K., based team for decades. It takes 141 craftspeople using three kilometers or 1.86 miles of thread to combine 350 unique leather pieces to make the 60 components that form the interior. Buyers can specify a four or five-seater configuration as well, with the four-seater version getting some extras. The center console splits the rear seats and houses a 5.0-inch touchscreen remote controller, a pair of cup holders, and a wireless smartphone pad can be fitted.
There is a range of options available, such as the Rear Seat Entertainment tablets, a refrigerated bottle cooler (between the rear seats behind the center armrest), and Naim audio. The cooler can operate from plus to minus six degrees Celcius and can fit six 330mL bottles, four 500mL bottles, or even two 750mL bottles of champagne. The redesign of the cooler lessens intrusion into the 420L boot space.
Rear seat passengers also can access motorized picnic tables that gently lower from the rear of the front seats’ upper sections. A soft press button lowers the units which when flat reveals a leather-covered surface complete with a nook for a pen. Holding the button sees the table lift just as smoothly and quietly.
My Bentley is connected to car service, accessed via a data-SIM. Features are continually in development and accessible by Apple and Android devices. Live traffic and weather updates are available, cabin environment pre-entry changes are available, and photo quality satnav displays tie in with the live traffic news.
The Flying Spur is also a driver-friendly machine; there is rear-wheel steering, available as an option, that turns the rear wheels in an opposite direction to the front wheels at low speed, effectively shortening the wheelbase and tightening turning circles. Ride quality is adjustable via the Dynamic Ride system. It controls ride comfort and lateral roll, and is instrumental in cushioning passengers from excessive movement through the decoupling of the wheels across the axles. The system has the ability on the fly to up to 1300 Nm/959 lb-ft of anti-roll torque in 0.3 seconds when cornering, ensuring the body is kept as flat and stable as possible.
Famous, like its British sibling Rolls-Royce, for “wafting” on the road, the Bentley Flying Spur’s air suspension uses three-chamber air springs. In comparison to the previous model, there is 60% more air volume. This brings extra flexibility to the adjustment of the ride, so a driver can select taut sportiness to gentle and cushioning absorption.
Deliveries of the 2021 Bentley Flying Spur are underway now.