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Bentley Continental Flying Spur
Driven February 2012
So, there are two ways to do pretty much anything – the ‘TopGear way’ and the ‘why bother, just plain walk away’. TopGear readers know the difference. For those of you who don’t, here’s an example. Driving a sports coupe over a sedan (definitely the TG way). Sitting in the back of a sedan and being driven around an F1 circuit (definitely not the TG way). Get the drift?
And that’s exactly what happened at the Bentley drive at Abu Dhabi – we were offered the back seat in the Bentley Continental Flying Spur, instead of the keys and the driver’s seat. We were still letting the GT experience sink in as we tried to hide our disappointment at getting into the back of the Flying Spur.
From the looks of it, the Flying Spur is a GT with two extra doors. The design is understated in true British tradition, but the added length and the huge alloys give it presence. The bling is in check as well, compared to the GT’s LED-bordered headlights.
The rear seat – as expected in a car billed at over Rs 1 crore – would do just right on a luxury cruise liner. Then there are the obvious buttons to play with, including seat massagers that run on different modes. We’d like to tell you more about the different massage settings but the driver suddenly asked us to hold on as he took a fast corner. We knew what to expect as the corner approached – from the back I could see the needle hover at 70kph. But as opposed to being thrown around like unanchored cargo, we were seated just fine, merely feeling something resembling mild turbulence in an aircraft. The suspension boys reportedly made someone sit in the back with a glass of wine. Clearly a bright idea.
After one lap of rear seat fame, we decided to steer this thing for ourselves. Upfront, things are very similar to the GT that we drove. The two extra doors add 1.5 feet to the Flying Spur, making the sedan more prone to the laws of physics. Driving it around a corner feels much more engaging than does the GT. It has just the right portions of drama and thrills, and enough safety equipment to keep us alive no matter how stupid we get behind the wheel.
The 6.0-litre W12 is shared across the Continental range but in the Flying Spur, it’s detuned to 552bhp and 650Nm of torque. To its credit, the Spur has also held the title of the fastest sedan in the world, with a top whack of 320kph before the arrival of the Continental Flying Spur Speed, which does 322kph. Of course, all that lard is surely not good for fuel economy – the Flying Spur returns 4.2kpl. Which should be okay for anyone who can shell out Rs 1.65 crore ex-showroom.
So, with a heavy heart and in a very un-TopGear way, we choose the Flying Spur, which we find a tad more engaging to drive than its two-door cousin. Sure, parked with the rest of the Continental range, it’s less flashy but that’s the way we like our caviar-engineered ride.