Long known for costly British-built motorcars, Bentley turned to a lower-priced model in 2004: the Continental GT coupe. For the 2006 model year, a companion Continental Flying Spur sedan entered the picture. Changes for the 2007 sedan are few. They include enhanced navigation and telecommunication technology, additional rear seat accoutrements and a new Mulliner Driving Specification package.
First seen at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland, the Continental Flying Spur is the fastest four-door Bentley to date. Inspired by the company's Continental Flying Spur sedan of 1957, the sedan is called a "grand tourer born of a coupe." The sedan essentially has everything offered in the Continental GT, including a 552-horsepower turbocharged W-12, along with enhanced luxury and space.
Like the Continental GT coupe, the Continental Flying Spur has all-wheel drive. Bentley claims acceleration from zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds.
The Continental Flying Spur's design is understated, in the Bentley tradition. The company refers to the sedan as "evocative, timeless and unostentatious."
Flowing body lines on the Continental Flying Spur include rounded C-pillars — called the "hockey stick" curve — like those found on many early Bentleys. A mesh-pattern grille is installed up front between recessed round headlights. At the rear, a humped trunk lid sits above integrated oval exhaust pipes. Chrome detailing is similar to that of the company's Arnage sedan. The additional body length emphasizes the car's waistline.
Bentley says the Continental Flying Spur is more aerodynamic than the Continental GT coupe; it has a slightly better coefficient of drag. An adjustable air suspension is installed. One-piece 19-inch alloy wheels are used, and the automaker claims the car's front disc brakes are the largest on a production passenger car. For 2007, 20-inch wheels come as part of the Mulliner edition.
Leather surfaces and wood veneers provide a sumptuous feel to the inside of the Continental Flying Spur, which can be equipped with either a four- or five-occupant interior. Leather hides come from Northern Europe, and each car uses about 11 of them. Rear occupants can expect abundant legroom. Naturally, the Continental Flying Spur is amply equipped.
Changes for 2007 include a faster DVD-based navigation system, which replaces the previous CD-based navigation. Front and rear seats can now receive separate Bluetooth telephone systems that link cell phone information — such as address books — with the vehicle's computer interface.
Other options include veneered fold-down tables for backseat passengers, a rear-seat DVD system and a refrigerated bottle cooler.
The Mulliner Driving Specification package adds drilled alloy pedals, a chrome gearshift lever, an upgraded headliner and embroidered seats with diamond-quilted leather.
Under the Hood
Breathing with the assistance of twin turbochargers, the Continental Flying Spur's 6.0-liter W-12 cranks out 552 hp and 479 pounds-feet of torque at a low 1,600 rpm. The six-speed automatic transmission features a manual-shift provision that's operated by the gearshift lever or paddles behind the steering wheel. All-wheel drive is standard.
Eight airbags, including full-length side curtain airbags and side-impact airbags for both front and rear outboard occupants, are installed. An electronic stability system is standard.