Bentley establishes a new luxury performance sedan benchmark with the launch of the new Flying Spur.
With its unrivaled blend of effortless drivability, exquisite luxury and craftsmanship, sculpted design and state-of-the-art technology, the new Flying Spur takes the worldwide success of its iconic predecessor further. Bentley is the leading manufacturer of luxury vehicles in the world, and despite the fact the market shrank in 2012, their sales continued to grow with 22 percent growth to 8,510 cars sold worldwide. The Americas finished 2012 as Bentley’s largest global market, with 2,457 cars delivered to customers, followed closely by China with 2,253 cars delivered. Since 2005, Bentley has sold almost 20,000 Flying Spurs, which introduced a new generation of luxury car buyers to the brand.
Bentley engineers have worked tirelessly to ensure that the Flying Spur is the perfect combination of power, comfort, refinement and handcrafted quality, and that showed on the roads of the People’s Republic of China for the first drive of the new Flying Spur.
Licensed To Drive
I was among the more than one hundred journalists from around the world invited to test drive the new Flying Spur in China. As soon as I landed from San Francisco at Beijing Capital International Airport, I had to obtain a Chinese driver’s license. Thanks to Bentley’s team, it was a quick process that took me to the airport police station to get photographed, and in a few minutes I got the card I needed to drive the next day.
Upon my arrival at the Pangu 7 Star Hotel, China’s newest icon, I stepped into a world that is exquisite, rare and uniquely Chinese. Following a quick night due to difficulties adapting our minds to a 15-hour time difference between the West Coast and Beijing, we attended a briefing where the roadbook for the 350-mile road trip was unveiled. I was paired with Andrey Zolotov, the Editor of GQ Russia, and then it was time to finally be assigned to our own car for the day.
“The Great Wall Stretches Across 4,163 Miles Of China And Is Truly One Of The Greatest Wonders Of The World.”
Bentley’s styling team has developed an athletic design for the new Flying Spur that combines traditional Bentley styling cues with a sporting stance and contemporary details. Sharp feature lines complement muscular rear haunches, while LED daytime running lights, dipped headlights and taillights characterize the front and rear profiles. The interior designers have created a luxurious, spacious cabin that dresses advanced acoustic and electronic technologies in exquisite handcrafted leather hides and wood veneers.
When I put myself behind the wheel of that new Spur, I was totally impressed by the level of luxury of the driving cabin. Immediately after leaving the hotel, we were in the Beijing’s traffic and had our first experience with Chinese drivers’ conduct!
With a population of over 20 million, Beijing is one of the most populous cities in the world. Forty miles north of Beijing, the road cleared and we made our first attempt to put the pedal to the metal. Powering the new Flying Spur is Bentley’s renowned 6.0-litre, twin turbo W12 engine, coupled to a ZF eight-speed transmission. The new Flying Spur features more power than any other Bentley four-door in history. A 14 percent improvement in the power-to-weight ratio over the outgoing model delivers a breath-taking 0-60 mph time of 4.3 seconds and a top-speed of 200 mph. The new Flying Spur can be extensively personalized with a wide range of specifications and options. It is available in two separate models: W12 and W12 Mulliner.
“When I Put Myself Behind The Wheel Of That New Spur, I Was Totally Impressed By The Level Of Luxury Of The Driving Cabin.”
Although well-paved, the route from Beijing to Jinshanling is often treacherous, especially given the hulking, 5,500-plus-pound ultra-luxury sedan I was driving. Every so often we had a chance to fling the Spur into a corner or two, and despite its largish dimensions and heft, the massive sedan proved to be relatively entertaining. The steering feel is very heavy and direct, never wandering. When we needed to haul it down, the braking system proved to be strong.
After a four-hour drive, we arrived at the Great Wall of China and were allowed to park by the wall which allowed us to take exclusive pics of the cars. The Great Wall stretches across 4,163 miles of China and is truly one of the greatest wonders of the world.
On our way back, I let my colleague drive and I enjoyed being seated for a while in the back seat. The sumptuous interior of the new Flying Spur includes 600 new parts. Class-leading entertainment and information technologies are married with traditional handcrafted materials and stunning contemporary design to create the ultimate high-luxury sedan cabin.
Available in both four- and five-seat configurations, the new Flying Spur features redesigned front and rear seats trimmed in natural premium-quality leather. The new seats use a softer, yet more durable hide unique to Bentley and available in twelve different colors.
Fitted with the very latest technology, the new Flying Spur is equipped both for business and relaxation while remaining a car to enjoy from behind the wheel. Driver and passengers alike interface with the car and the outside world through touch-screen infotainment, mobile connectivity including Wi-Fi, a rear seat entertainment suite and a new hand-held touch screen remote which allows rear-cabin occupants to control an extensive range of features from the comfort of their seat. An eight-channel, eight-speaker audio system with balanced mode radiators provides high-quality sound clarity, with the 1100W Naim® for Bentley premium system available as an option.
By 5:00 PM we were back in Beijing and enjoyed our first well-deserved glass of wine of the day. The next day, Bentley took us to visit some of the “must see” places in Beijing, Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden City. Only 65 hours after making my first-ever steps on Chinese soil, it was already time to return to America with unforgettable memories and the knowledge that the Bentley’s new Flying Spur is really the ultimate luxury performance sedan.