Bentley bestows some attitude on its agile, more powerful Flying Spur V8 S.
We love understated, chiseled Bentleys with attitude. Case in point: Bentley’s Flying Spur V8 S. Slotted just below the 12-cylinder Flying Spur in the luxury marque’s pecking order, Bentley’s newest “entry-level” sedan has a slightly sinister countenance thanks to the blackout treatment and moves out with more authority—there’s 521 horsepower on tap from its twin-turbocharged V8.
Pedigree has always been of interest to the Brits, so it’s appropriate to note that the newest Flying Spur’s 4-liter engine shares DNA with the V8s that powered Bentley’s Speed 8 race cars to one-two victories at the 2003 Le Mans. (We hasten to point out that bodacious motor is shared with Audi. The Volkswagen Group, after all, has stewardship of Bentley these days.) We’ll wager that most fast-trackers would much rather spend 24 hours in the Flying Spur than a race car.
Though the V8 S scoots to 60 mph in under five seconds, in the long run it’s the pampering that counts, not a 190-mph top ceiling. The Flying Spur V8 S is an executive suite on 20- or 21- inch wheels, so Bentley’s elite customers also enjoy the power of choice when it comes to decking out their luxurious cabins.
Our test loaner sported nearly 30 grand in options, bringing the sticker to just under $235K. That kind of coin can score a brand-new house in many Lone Star State metropolitan areas, so it should be no surprise that Flying Spur buyers can create a personal celebration of senses, ranging from 17 colors of top-grade leather for seats, headliner and door panels to the striking accent of one of eight veneers. (If you’re going Bentley, go big and check off the box for Bentley’s signature sunglass case with matching veneer.)
Occupants will also find tactile reward in the knurled gearshift lever and paddle shifters for the eight-speed automatic gearbox. The diamond-quilted seats, included in the Mulliner Driving Specification option, are superb. Aural impressions are courtesy of the authoritative, but never raucous, exhaust note and the Naim audiophile-grade system which packs some serious concert horsepower.
The Flying Spur V8 S is a big, bold four-place luxury sedan that feels more planted and more spirited. Kudos to the engineers who tweaked the self-leveling air suspension for sharper tuning and flatter cornering. There’s not a bad seat in the house. Occupy the driver or front passenger seat to be engaged and command the road. Or open the Flying Spur’s generous back doors and slip into rather scrumptious rear seats that recline, massage and offer a stowable desk.
A full-length rear console houses comfort controls and full-size climate-control nozzles. If you don’t feel like writing, doodling or working, just settle back and watch a movie on the rear video screen or track your portfolio in content comfort.
After all, you’ve earned it.