There is no disputing the fact that Bentley is right up there in the hierarchy of luxury automotive brands. However, when Walter Owen Bentley started his car company back in 1919, it was to fulfil his quest to push the boundaries of performance, and not to provide a luxurious experience behind the wheel. When he turned to his friend Gordon Crosby to create a logo for the brand, the brief was to come up with something that represented the exhilaration of motion, and not extravagance. The original winged B designed by Crosby embodied this message brilliantly. Although focus shifted towards luxury in the 1930s when Bentley was under Rolls Royce ownership, the brand’s identity was always underpinned by performance. Even today, the British automaker makes sure every model in its portfolio gets a high-performance variant, with the Speed moniker, powered by its iconic W12 engine. With the launch of the Flying Spur Speed this month, Bentley adds one more performance flagship to its range.
The Flying Spur Speed is significant in more ways than one. With production of the standard Flying Spur W12 having ceased this May, this will be one of the last models to feature the storied W12 engine. In the Flying Spur Speed, this 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged powertrain produces 626 BHP and 900 Nm of torque, accelerating the car to 100 km/h in 3.8 seconds, and on to a top speed of 333 km/h. These figures place the Flying Spur Speed a notch above the S model with an extra 130 Nm of torque, and an improvement of 0.4 secs to 100km/h.
Like other Flying Spur variants, the performance flagship also comes equipped with an 8-speed ZF dual-clutch transmission, with rear-wheel drive as standard. Bentley promises smooth, refined acceleration, quicker gearshifts and improved fuel economy. The Flying Spur Speed’s clutch system delivers drive to the rear axle while automatically transferring drive to the front axle as required, depending on the road conditions and wheel slip. Bentley claims this active rear-wheel drive system eliminates understeer that is generally experienced with fixed all-wheel drive systems, helping make the Flying Spur Speed more poised and planted on the road. As with every Bentley model, the Flying Spur Speed also comes with myriad ways to configure, thanks to the Mulliner customisation arm.
Exterior Speed styling cues include dark tint finishes to front grilles, headlamps and tail lamps, as well as signature Speed badges on the lower wing. A set of 22-inch Speed wheels are standard, with Dark Tint, Gloss Black and silver-painted finish options. A second optional 22-inch sports design wheel is also available in Gloss Black or Pale Brodgar Satin. Bentley’s Styling Specification (carbon fibre front splitter, side skirts, rear diffuser and subtle boot lid spoiler) and Blackline Specification are available as options. Options for interior appointments increase from five to 15 leather colours with Piano Black veneer as standard.