If the BMW Group has Rolls-Royce in its ranks and Mercedes-Benz has Mercedes-Maybach, the Volkswagen Group is represented in the top luxury car market by no less than Bugatti, Lamborghini and Bentley. The latter two may not reach the level of exclusivity of the former, but they are also a billionaire's dream.

After testing the 650 PS V8 Urus, I had another fantastic opportunity to drive an ultra-exclusive car from the German giant. In this case, the Bentley Flying Spur, or in other words, the Crewe-based British firm's 5.31-metre-long four-door saloon.

Prueba Bentley Flying Spur S 2024

Granted, it's neither as successful as the Bentayga nor as iconic as the Continental GT, and some might say its format is a little dated, but I'm sure those critics would shut up if they saw the car in person. It was a truly unique and exciting experience to test drive it... despite not being powered by the W12 engine (which is about to disappear) but 'only' the in-house twin-turbo V8 engine.

In this test, my aim is for you to feel and experience this car as closely as possible, just as this writer savoured it. To be more precise, the car was in S trim with the Blackline package - impossible to take your eyes off it!

The Bentley Flying Spur, in five key points:

Gallery: Bentley Flying Spur S 2024 test review

Design

This is an imposing car with a really well-crafted line. Who wouldn't like a saloon like this? Of course, a car like this has to make an impression, and it certainly does, not only because of its colossal dimensions, but also because of its breathtaking design.

The Blackline pack fits it like a glove and, in my opinion, accentuates the sportiness of the car as opposed to the more classic chrome elements. Bentley's signature circular headlights with matrix technology are a much appreciated corporate feature, as is the grille, which I would have preferred completely open, as the partial fairing detracts from its appeal.

The same is not true of the dramatic lower bumper, which offers a full opening for proper mechanical and brake cooling. Want even more exclusivity? Nothing like adding carbon components to the lower part of the car, such as the splitter or the sills. But be careful with ramps and speed bumps because the damage can be considerable from an economic point of view.

Prueba Bentley Flying Spur S 2024
Prueba Bentley Flying Spur S 2024
Prueba Bentley Flying Spur S 2024

The bonnet, which is oversized in the middle, has a slat that might 'overload' the car a bit (I'm sure the Chinese customers love it), so it's a matter of personal taste. It also comes with the company's logo, which can be automatically hidden via a digital control inside.

Of course, the alloy wheels can reach quite remarkable dimensions. In our case, the set was 22 inches, both front and rear, although the Pirelli P Zero tyres offered different sizes: 275/35 for the front and 315/30 for the rear.

The black brake calipers are in keeping with the dark theme of the model and it is surprising that the ventilated discs are not drilled, although the braking power is beyond question, as I was able to feel.

Prueba Bentley Flying Spur S 2024
Prueba Bentley Flying Spur S 2024

More aesthetic details (there are so many!), such as the door handles that are not flush with the bodywork (this car is not all about efficiency) or the glass with integrated upper door frame, which results in minimal aerodynamic noise.

The sporty touches are not few and far between, and to all the above I can add the sharp lines of the sides and rear wheel arches, the lights with black trim, the four exhaust outlets grouped in pairs (a scheme that distinguishes the V8 version from the W12), the carbon spoiler blade and the exclusive matt paintwork. 

As a point for improvement, visibility through the rear window is limited if the car following us is not well separated from us. In any case, the lines of the car are breathtaking (my superiors won't let me swear) and the quality of the car is of the highest quality, as is also the case in the interior.

Prueba Bentley Flying Spur S 2024
Prueba Bentley Flying Spur S 2024

Interior

Absolute luxury ambience and outstanding ergonomics can sum up what you experience in the Flying Spur's cabin. Yes, because soft-touch materials are used even in the most hidden areas, where even the eye can't usually reach. But you also get to grips with the controls and the various sub-menus (fewer than you might expect) on the 12.3-inch central screen in no time at all. At this point, you can feel the German hand in the car.

What's more, there are some components shared with Audi models, such as the format of the configurable digital instrumentation, the multi-function steering wheel controls or certain digital icons on the central monitor. Not to mention that the welcome sound is also similar, as in the Urus itself or the Volkswagen Touareg

Prueba Bentley Flying Spur S 2024

As is usual in a vehicle of this type, the centre console has a bulky design and clearly separates the space for the two front occupants. Fortunately, there is a mix of screens and traditional controls, which, I will not tire of repeating, is the best configuration for reducing distractions at the wheel. Even the selector is not minimalist, which is becoming increasingly common and is of no practical advantage.

The analogue clock seems the most appropriate thing to adorn the cockpit, as do various chrome components, but there are even more striking details to this end. For example, the metal handles that open and close the air vents. No simple plastic knobs.

Prueba Bentley Flying Spur S 2024
Prueba Bentley Flying Spur S 2024

More details that blow your mind? The centre display is completely hidden when the car is switched off and the sound of the doors closing is very loud. However, there are also annoying reflections on the small circular displays that indicate the climate control temperature.

The multimedia system is only compatible with Apple CarPlay, but then again, what Bentley customer doesn't use an iPhone? By the way, the audio system is almost cinema-like. OK, I'm exaggerating, but the sound quality certainly doesn't leave you indifferent. 

Prueba Bentley Flying Spur S 2024
Prueba Bentley Flying Spur S 2024
Prueba Bentley Flying Spur S 2024

A car like this is also worth enjoying in the rear seats, because you travel 'like a king'. What comfort the two individual seats offer! But there's also a mind-blowing audio-visual entertainment system available, with screens integrated into the front headrests.

Between the two seats is a practical and comprehensive glove box, also made of fine materials, of course. No wonder the car's owner decides to hire a chauffeur for days at a time and let himself be chauffeured around.

As for the boot, it is accessed through a lid and is irregularly shaped, with a rather modest volume (420 litres) considering the length of the car. Even here, however, the quality of the upholstery is superb, and the boot has not been reduced in any way.

Prueba Bentley Flying Spur S 2024

Powertrain

Referring to a V8 engine as the entry-level engine might give the impression that I'm joking, but of course, we're talking about a car that's well over £200,000 to qualify for it.

That eight-cylinder block has a 4-litre cubic capacity, two turbochargers and delivers 550 PS and 770 Nm of torque. To stop the petrol 'bleeding' somewhat, it has selective four-cylinder deactivation and coasting, but no light hybridisation.

Prueba Bentley Flying Spur S 2024

Despite the high tonnage of the package, performance is on a par with many supercars, with 0-60 in 4.1 seconds and a top speed of no less than 198 mph. At the slightest hint of the car's power, the car's performance is on a par with many supercars. At the slightest touch of the accelerator pedal, the horsepower propels the Flying Spur in such a way that you'll be fearing for your driving licence points almost constantly.

We can talk about fuel consumption, of course, but that's secondary for a multi-millionaire. Except for very favourable intercity driving, it's very difficult to get over 28 mpg-UK (10 litres per 100 km), and a few more mpgs in mixed use is the norm (the approved figure is 22.2 mpg-UK / 12.7 litres).

For such a high-performance engine, there's nothing better than an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission with paddle shifters and Sport mode, which is perfectly suited to all types of driving. How well it does its job!

Prueba Bentley Flying Spur S 2024

We also think the multi-plate clutch engageable all-wheel drive system is perfect, sending torque to the front when the rear is unable to transfer full mechanical power to the road. Granted, it's not a permanent 4WD, but this choice saves weight and reduces technical complexity. 

Needless to say, the engine is a joy to drive over a very wide range of revs and you will rarely be able to push it into the red zone (6,500 revs) because before that you will already be exceeding the maximum speed of the road in an almost obscene way. How much you miss an Autobahn or a circuit in cases like this!

Unlike other luxury saloons in which the Sport mode is rather toned down, in the Flying Spur the sporty sensations are piled on for the lucky driver. The adaptive air suspension is stiffened considerably, without being radical, and a much more powerful and deeper sound emanates from the exhausts. Even the gurgling at idle increases, and there's a crackle when downshifting - addictive!

Prueba Bentley Flying Spur S 2024

On the move

Which car do you want to drive: a comfortable, quiet limousine or a big saloon with a GT soul and surprisingly responsive handling? You can have all this and more at the controls of the Flying Spur.

The secret lies in the great work done on the chassis and the components that make up the chassis. In addition to the air-sprung suspension, there is the rear suspension with steering or the active anti-roll bars with a 48V network.

The car cannot hide the fact that it belongs to the Volkswagen Group, given how simple and natural it is to drive. In no time at all, you will be perfectly at ease in a vehicle that is easy to control and with logical and predictable reactions... not easy to achieve in a 2.2 tonne 'buggy' when unladen. 

Prueba Bentley Flying Spur S 2024

Certainly, in Comfort mode, the vehicle's vertical movements (suspension extension and compression) are very noticeable in order to deal with irregularities without our noticing them. If we want less body movement, there is nothing better than activating the Bentley programme, which would be equivalent to Normal in other cars, or of course Sport. There is also a configurable Custom mode.

The rear suspension steering provides a lot of agility when cornering slower. In slower corners, the car suffers little when you consider its size and weight, to the point where it feels like a mid-size saloon.

The all-wheel drive also does its job perfectly, keeping the car in place and helping to negotiate tricky corners. The feeling of safety and poise is absolute, as is the feeling of travelling at a much higher real-world speed than you'd expect behind the wheel. As I often say in these cases, it's a bad joke to drive a car like this at 75 mph because it literally feels like you're standing still.

Prueba Bentley Flying Spur S 2024

Equipment and pricing

The official Bentley configurator does not offer pricing for the Flying Spur S V8 and the brand has not provided us with the exact price of our test unit, but after some searching I discovered the base price for this model without the Blackline package is £196,500 excluding options.

The British luxury saloon, also overshadowed by the SUVs, proves that a traditional format can be exciting in every way: aesthetics, performance and dynamism, so multi-millionaires looking to break away from the current SUV trend have a simply sensational option here.

Bentley Flying Spur S

Engine V8, twin-turbo, petrol, 3,996 cc
Output 550 PS a 6.000 rpm
Maximum torque 770 Nm between 1,960 and 4,500 rpm
Transmission Dual-clutch automatic, 8-speed
Speed 0-100 KPH 4.1 seconds
Maximum speed 198 mph
Efficiency 22.2 mpg-UK (12.7 l/100 km)
Drive Type Integral
Length 5.31 m
Width 1.98 m
Height 1.48 m
Weight 2,255 kg
Seating Capacity 4
Cargo Volume 420 l
Base Price £196,500