2010 Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed Road Test Review

Brian Armstead - CAP staff
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Typically, my reviews of vehicles from storied marques start with a history lesson on the brand. You know, a bit of this and that to let you know why the brand has become "the brand" over the years.

Bentley is certainly no exception. In business for over 90 years, the British marque is known for bespoke craftsmanship, stellar performance, and opulent style and accommodations for a lucky few.

But for 2010, Bentley is also known for kicking some tail and taking names in the form of the Continental Flying Spur Speed. With more than 600 horsepower (449kW) under the bonnet, and a top speed of 322 km/h (200 miles per hour), few would believe a product from such as sophisticated, stately brand could leave such a trail of destruction on the highways of North America.

"Speed" starts with the Audi sourced (VW/Audi is Bentley's parent company) engine block, fitted with Bentley specific heads. The 6.0-litre, intercooled twin turbo, W12 engine also outputs 553 pound-feet of torque (750 Nm), and the result is blistering acceleration. Whereas the outgoing Arnage and new Bentley flagship Mulsanne accelerate like locomotives with afterburners, the Flying Spur Speed accelerates as if it was "flying with speed."

On the road, you'll be hard pressed to believe this car weighs nearly 2,450 kilos (5,400 pounds). It's light on its feet, and agile in the corners, thanks to Bentley's all-wheel drive system, outfitted of course with the latest stay-on-course electronic technology. Stability and traction control and other high tech software and hardware ensure high speed runs in your Speed end as they start – without any drama. An adjustable air suspension, accessible via the console mounted rotary controller, allows drivers to keep the suspension comfortable and compliant, while the full sport setting stiffens the chassis for spirited driving, yet does not beat you to death on rough surfaces.

The Flying Spur Speed interior is typical Bentley, while "Speed" polished sill plates are the only interior giveaway that you are driving something special, that is if you consider the finest hides, chrome plated trim and incredibly well-finished dash, console and door wood trim ordinary.

Form follows function with lots of versatility to accomplish driving and comfort tasks.  Standard features include an Integrated Infotainment System incorporating
Multi-zone climate control, DVD satellite navigation, 12 speaker audio with six disc CD changer, lifetime subscription to SIRIUS Satellite Radio, Bluetooth hands free phone system, power latching for all four doors, power closing trunk, and keyless entry and start.

While the base audio system sounds pretty good, you should certainly opt for the $8,470 NAIM for Bentley Premium Audio System. The system features an 1,100 Watt amplifier, eight digital signal processing modes, 15 NAIM speakers including dual subwoofers, 

dynamic equalization, speed dependent volume control, and phone and satellite navigation integration.

Though very well equipped for maximum luxe travel, you retain the ability to have your Flying Spur Speed outfitted with bespoke options. My test vehicle price included special paint, solar glass sunroof, Mulliner alloy fuel cap, special wood waist rail trim, special picnic tables, and assorted other packages and trim options, upping the ante over the base price of $245,100.

At this price, don't laugh at me for calling this "supermodel" one heck of a bargain. Let's see: 

- Sports car acceleration and handling – check
- Sumptuous styling with room for five – check
- Legendary "Winged B" adorning the bonnet – check

Need more than the Flying Spur Speed offers? Let me know where you find a better combination of sport and luxury at this price.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Luxury Sedan, Bentley, 2010, Continental Flying Spur Speed, $99,999+,

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