Want to know what a new Bentley Flying Spur sounds like at 80 mph on the interstate? Stop by your local bank and ask if you can sit inside the safe for a few minutes with the door closed.
The last-generation Flying Spur was a pretty hushed machine. But this newest version is the automotive equivalent of a black hole.
Bentley’s engineers were painstakingly focused on suppressing any extraneous noises—like the thrum of the 6-liter twin-turbo 12-cylinder power plant and those 21-inch tires.
To do so, they developed lightweight acoustic under-floor panels and specified triple-layer glass for the windows, which feature a thick, noise-deadening middle layer. They also lined the inside of the doors with a soundproof substance that resembles Yorkshire pudding.
The result? An impressive 40 percent reduction in noise, according to Bentley, which makes the driving experience feel like you’re sitting inside a pair of Bose noise-canceling headphones. When the car is idle, the absence of sound is spooky—so much so that drivers at a stoplight might wonder: Is the car still running?
The appeal of this latest Spur isn’t just all about the aural reduction but also its focus on refinement. While the previous model was essentially a four-door version of the sporty, two-door Continental GT coupe, the new model trades a little dynamic agility for interior calm and comfort. It rides more smoothly and luxuriously, courtesy of pillowy springs and anti-roll bars. Suspension bushings that are 25 percent softer also do a fine job of suppressing any road noise and vibration.
That’s not to say the car has morphed into the modern-day equivalent of a 1993 Buick Roadmaster, wobbling and wallowing down the highway.
Now, the driver can chose among four different settings for the car’s air suspension, from magic carpet Comfort to reduced-roll Sport. In Sport mode, coupled with the car’s hydraulically assisted steering, the Spur will sweep majestically around curves as if running on invisible rails. And the outpouring of Hoover Dam-like power from the 616-horsepower nuclear reactor under the mile-long hood is breathtaking.
Foot to floor, this 5,445-pound leviathan can scythe to 60 in 4.3 seconds. Its all-wheel drive system ensures the 590 torques get channeled to the blacktop without a hint of wheelspin.
The new eight-speed ZF automatic transmission replaces the previous six-speeder and heightens the car’s performance. Shifts now take place in 200 milliseconds and are imperceptible.
Thankfully, this 208.5-inch limousine has phenomenal stoppers, shedding speed with the immediacy of throwing out a ship’s anchor.
See the new Flying Spur in the metal and its beauty is overwhelming. Whereas the previous model had all the visual appeal of a block of whale blubber, this one oozes style, elegance and curb appeal. The high waist and swooping roofline are gorgeous, but the wire mesh front grilles would look better in real wire instead of shiny plastic.
Inside, the cabin is the usual Bentley magnificence of artisan-crafted leatherwork and flawless woodwork. Life does not get better than luxuriating in the back seat with legs stretched and uncorking bubbly from the optional chiller behind the center armrest.
All this hedonistic luxury will set you back $200,500, or around $220,000 with delivery, gas-guzzler tax and a few choice extras, like $800 lambs-wool rugs.
As they say, silence is golden—and worth every penny.
Price: From $200,500
Engine: 6-liter turbocharged W-12
Max Power: 616 hp
Max Torque: 590 pound-feet
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
0-60 mph: 4.3 seconds
Top Speed: 200 mph
Length/Width: 208.5/86.9 inches
Weight: 5,445 pounds
Why we love it: This new Flying Spur delivers true peace, silence and tranquility—even at 200 mph.