2015 Bentley Flying Spur V8
A year ago, Bentley gave us a new Flying Spur. Ditching the “Continental” moniker that it previously shared with the British luxury-car maker’s two-door models, the Flying Spur flaunted new and unique sheetmetal to further differentiate it from its predecessor. Now, to the joy of environmentally conscious plutocrats everywhere, the brand is introducing a V-8 option at next month’s Geneva auto show to complement the standard car’s 616-hp, twin-turbocharged W-12.
The Flying Spur V8 is fitted with an Audi-engineered, twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8—essentially the same engine that is installed in Audi’s S6, RS6, S7, RS7, A8, and S8. This engine is available in strengths ranging from 420 horsepower up to 560. Bentley has opted for a nice and even 500 horsepower available at 6000 rpm, and torque tops out at 488 lb-ft available from 1700 rpm. This ultra-compact V-8 is fitted with cylinder deactivation and is mated to a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic that drives all four wheels.
Bentley says that the Flying Spur V8 charges to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds before topping out at 183 mph. For reference, the W-12–powered car is said to reach 60 in 4.3 seconds and can achieve 200 mph. On the plus side, fuel economy improves from 12 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway to estimates of 14/24. With less mass weighing down its front end, the Flying Spur V8 should also be a more agile vehicle, and we suggest that it is not only the "budget" choice but also the driver's choice among Flying Spurs, as the eight-cylinder is among Continental GT coupes.
For visual differentiation, Bentley gives the Flying Spur V8 the same eight-cylinder–specific styling cues as does the two-door Continental GT range. Air intakes are finished in black rather than the high-gloss metallic finish of the grille, the Bentley “B” logo is presented in red rather than black, and the exhaust outlets are pinched in the center to create a twin-oval look.
The Flying Spur V8’s cabin comes standard with a single-piece bench seat for rear passengers, although the upscale four-plus-one seating arrangement—standard on the W-12 model—can be ordered as part of the Mulliner specification. The dashboard is mostly a carry-over piece from the two-door Continental models, although the sweeping wood trim is larger and stretches to cover more of the door panels.
Bentley says the Flying Spur V8 "will draw new customers to Bentley, looking to upgrade from a premium sedan." The British luxury-car maker isn’t talking price yet, but we suspect the step up from a 12-cylinder Audi A8, BMW 7-series, or Mercedes-Benz S-class won’t be prohibitive. With more technology, improved efficiency, and a younger brand image than ever, Bentley indeed is becoming more attractive to a broader audience.