No. Of course, a Bentley isn’t “worth the money.” At least not by most objective metrics that the vast majority of prospective automobile owners use when shopping for a car. Despite being an order of magnitude more expensive than most autos, it’s not that much safer, faster, or more fuel-efficient — and that holds true for the 2021 Bentley Flying Spur V8.
Just to give one example, the Flying Spur V8, despite being the smaller and less thirsty of the two engines available, is still a heavy drinker, getting 15 mpg city, 20 highway, and 17 combined. Contrast that to the also very large and luxurious and 4.0L V8-powered Mercedes-Benz S560, which manages 16 mpg in the city, 26 highway, and 20 combined.
Despite that, I am here to tell you that the vast majority of people are wrong. Not only is the 2021 Bentley Flying Spur V8 worth the money — it is a bargain. You just need to look through the correct lens to see it. Let me lend you some glasses and show you what I mean.
2021 Bentley Flying Spur V8 Review: A Hefty Price Tag
Before we begin, let’s address one big and obvious fact right away. Yes, save for a precious and privileged few, it’s actually irrelevant whether the 2021 Bentley Flying Spur V8 is worth the money or not, as it is simply unaffordable.
With a base price of $198,725 (my tester cost $264,565), the Flying Spur holds the distinction of being more expensive than many houses on the market, let alone other cars. To own one is to advertise to the world your baller status, no doubt. But, while Flying Spurs are indeed gratuitous displays of wealth and opulence, they are also so much more.
No Rose-Colored Glasses: Performance Doesn’t Lie
Bentley introduced this third-generation Flying Spur for the 2020 model year, sold exclusively with the twin-turbocharged W12 6L, which produces a mega 626 hp and freight train-worthy 664 lb.-ft. of torque. This twin-turbocharged V8 model, which makes do with just 542 hp and 568 lb.-ft. of torque, is new for 2021.
For this latest generation, the Flying Spur also inherited the title of flagship, as Bentley no longer makes the even more ostentatious Mulsanne. And that’s because times have changed. Fewer people have an interest in a chauffeur, opting to drive themselves instead. Knowing that fact, Bentley went back to its Le Mans-winning roots and built a proper driver’s car — a massive, luxurious, and fast driver’s car.
And it managed to do that fairly easily, actually. Volkswagen, which owns the Bentley brand, also owns Porsche, Audi, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Ducati, and many others. That being the case, VW simply had Bentley build the Flying Spur on the same platform as the Porsche Panamera. That means this 209.3-inch long, 77.9-inch wide sedan with a 125.8-inch wheelbase has proper sports sedan roots.
From there, Bentley added a lot of tech to belie the car’s inherent weight and size. To maintain excellent body control of this 5,137 lb monster, it gets a 3-chamber air suspension, which allows the car to quickly change its spring rate and ride height on demand. Furthermore, the 2021 Bentley Flying Spur V8 can be equipped with adaptive anti-roll bars and four-wheel steering. And that means that the Flying Spur has driving modes that significantly change its behavior.
Throw it sport mode and chuck the Flying Spur into a corner, and you’ll be shocked at how quickly the front-end responds to your inputs and darts towards the apex with a nicely controlled body. Is it a sports car? No. But it will certainly surprise an unwitting sports car driver or two when they can’t shake this 19th-century English-estate-on-wheels while making a run down their favorite country road.
You get a nicely weighted wheel that can precisely point the nose of the car and even provide a bit of steering feel. Having 22-inch wheels with 275/35-sized rubber doesn’t hurt either. The Flying Spur will even transition from side to side with some athletic competence. This is a good time to mention that the V8 is the Flying Spur of choice for this kind of driving, as the V8 weighs 236 fewer lbs. than the W12. And nearly all of that comes off the front axle.
And when you reach straight patches of road, know the 4L V8, equipped with two turbochargers nestled inside the valley of the V, and the 8-speed dual-clutch transmission that sends power to all four wheels will hustle the Flying Spur from 0 to 60 mph in four seconds flat. It will then carry on to 198 mph if you keep your right foot against the firewall. Keep calm and carry on, indeed.
True, a Porsche Panamera can do that too. And it’s less expensive. Fair point. But we’ve just covered one of the Flying Spur’s many competencies. You can then switch to the comfort driving mode and enjoy one of the softest, quietest rides available on the road today. There are the intuitive things: really well-sealed doors, liberal use of noise insulation, and thick glass to help keep out road and wind noise. But there are also Bentley’s hidden tricks, like tires with a thin layer of foam around the bead to mitigate vibrations from even making it to the body from the road in the first place.
Striking Styling and a Luxe Interior to Match
While you travel quietly down the road in comfort mode with a now soft, supple suspension and easy-going anti-roll bars, you can snuggle into 50,000-way adjustable, thick leather-adorned, massaging seats. If you just need to soak away miles, this is as about as comfortable as it gets.
And unlike most cars on the road today, these luxuries are not just for the front. The rear passengers get even nicer seats with pillow-top headrests and all the same heating, cooling, and massaging options as the front. And they can make all these adjustments via a remote adjustment system that magnetically attached to the back of the lower center console shelf.
Then there’s the looks. The Flying Spur is gorgeous. Bold and muscular, yet also stately and refined. The flagship sedan from Crewe England grabs your eye and takes it on a journey from the quad headlamps to the quad exhaust tips with an elegant flow from one end to the other.
I love the strong character line cut down low into the doors and the wide rear fender flare that squeezes the rear door handle out a bit farther. I love the 22-inch wheels that look like spinning airplane propellers. And I absolutely adore the carbon fiber trim that adds just a sprinkle of sport to the big dollop of luxury rolling down the road. The Flying Spur has presence.
Inside, every inch of real estate is wrapped in thick and soft leather, beautiful wood veneers, and thick pieces of polished metal. Remember estate on wheels? Well, inside you feel like an aristocrat, sitting in your favorite lounge chair as your butler brings you your evening cognac. Even the mechanism that moves the powered seat fore and aft is finished with polished metal. Every inch of the car has class and old-money style.
One more point to make. You don’t select from a few different trims in a Bentley but choose from a massive list of exterior colors, interior colors, finishes, and features. And if the catalog list of options doesn’t suit your tastes, Bentley offers something called the Mulliner, which is a place where the brand will happily build you a one-of-a-kind custom car, as long as you can pay for it.
The 2021 Flying Spur Lives up to its Bentley Badge
Is the Bentley Flying Spur worth the money? Let’s put it this way. No other car sold today offers the same combination of performance, luxury, comfort, and customization. If you’re one of the very few, very lucky people to afford something like the 2021 Bentley Flying Spur V8 I can’t think of a better way to spend the money.
To learn more go to BentleyMotors.com