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Bentley Continental Flying Spur: Buying guide and review (2005-2013)

Bentley Continental Flying Spur: Buying guide and review (2005-2013) Classic and Performance Car
Bentley Continental Flying Spur Bentley Continental Flying Spur Bentley Continental Flying Spur Bentley Continental Flying Spur
The Bentley Continental Flying Spur arrived in 2005, aiming straight for the top of the sporting saloon car hierarchy. It sported a 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12, and a top speed of 195mph, making it the fastest four-door saloon in production at the time. The driver-centric interior was as opulent as ever, and while it may have borrowed some running gear from the VW parts bin, every component that went into the car was thoroughly re-engineered. 

Priced comfortably above the top-of-the-line S Class and 7 Series models, the Continental Flying Spur justified its premium by offering a bespoke feel and exclusivity that its mass-produced counterparts could never hope to match.

While it still remains in production, albeit now without the Continental prefix and with updated running gear, the original W12 versions are still highly desirable machines. With second hand values now approaching affordable levels we take a look into what this machine is like to own as a secondhand purchase.

Which Flying Spur to buy?

A lot of effort went into the Continental Flying Spur’s underpinnings to offer a comfortable yet dynamic driving experience. While the rear seats were still a very comfortable place to be, the experience from behind the driver’s seat was enough to send one's chauffeur packing. The Mulliner Driving Specification was a popular option and featured some sporty trim changes as well as 20-inch alloys.

The Speed version was introduced in 2009; a number of detail changes gave it an even more sporting prowess, including a lowered ride height, stiffer bushes and sharper Servotronic steering. Power was now a formidable 602bhp, top speed a Ferrari-threatening 200mph. Carbon Ceramic brakes also became an option on all models and are recommended if high speed driving is a regular activity. Another desirable option for the audiophile is the 1100 Watt Naim audio system. Those preferring to be chauffeured could also choose from a variety of luxurious rear seating configurations.

The Bentley Continental Flying Spur Series 51 was introduced in late 2010 and it gave potential owners the option to customise their cars to the finest detail. 2012 introduced another raft of detail improvements, most notably a touch-screen navigation system and hard drive based in-car entertainment. Series 51 cars could also now be specified with an even broader range of wood veneers, two-tone paint finishes and unique alloys.

There isn’t a bad year when choosing one of these first generation Flying Spurs, it comes down to how much you want to spend and whether you prefer the updated Nav and entertainment system of the newer models. The Speed versions and Series 51 models add a touch of exclusivity to an already special car.

Performance and specs

Bentley Continental Flying Spur
Engine 5998cc 48valve DOHC  W12 Twin Turbo
Power 552bhp @ 6100 rpm 
Torque 479lb ft @ 1600rpm
Top speed 194mph 
0-62mph 5.5 seconds 
Fuel consumption 16 mpg 
Gearbox Six-speed automatic

Dimensions and weight

Wheelbase 3065mm
Length 5307mm
Width 1918mm
Height 1479mm
Weight 2475kg

Common problems

• The higher mileages on older models are a testament to the Continental Flying Spur’s usability and reliability so don’t be put off by this. Most have been well cared for and there are very few recurring issues to be concerned about.

• The maintenance and running costs of these cars is not for the faint hearted. As prices drop many leave the dealer network and may fall into disrepair, so watch out for bargain cars, a big bill may be lurking.

• The suspension bushes, front brakes and tyres all take a beating from the almost 2.5 ton curb weight and neglect here may indicate a car that has not been maintained properly. The four-wheel drive system is reliable, however the tyre wear is generally uniform across all four wheels so budget to change them every 30,000miles or so.

• Air suspension systems can suffer from a number of maladies (not unique to the Flying Spur) and repairs can be prohibitively priced so a once over by a specialist is recommended.

• The ZF six-speed automatic copes well with the massive torque and gear changes should be smooth even under hard acceleration. Jerkiness or hunting between ratios may indicate an issue.

Bentley Flying Spur recalls

There have been three recalls for the Flying Spur and all should have been resolved by the dealers but it is worth following up on them just to be sure

• Cars built up until March 2008 could suffer a fuel leak due to salt corroding the fuel filter

• The centre mounted seatbelt in the rear may not perform as designed in the event of a crash, cars manufactured between August and September 2008 were affected. 

• Cars with Carbon Ceramic brakes could have the discs work loose due to faulty stainless steel screws, this affected models built up to June 2010.

Model History 

2005: Bentley Continental Flying Spur introduced with twin turbo 552bhp 6l W12 and 6-speed automatic transmission
2006: Satellite navigation upgraded, Mulliner package now available as well as additional body colours and interior trim options 
2009: Numerous detail changes to exterior including new grille, bumpers and alloys. Upgraded mechanicals include revised suspension, new exhaust and optional carbon ceramic brakes. Continental Flying Spur Speed launched. Power is now up to 602bhp.
2010: Series 51 derivative introduced. These models offer wide range of bespoke customisations options
2013: Five units of a special Qatar Edition built. Unique specification includes grey paintwork with red-stitched black and white interior trim. Continental name dropped for updated Flying Spur

Owners clubs, forums and websites

• www.bentleymotors.com – Manufacturer site
• www.bdcl.org – Bentley Drivers’ Club
• www.bentleyownersclub.co.uk – UK Bentley Owners’ Club

Summary and prices

The great news for bargain hunters is that a top level luxury car drops in value like a rotten banana over the first few years. Prices start at around £25,000 for the higher mileage older cars, ranging up to £90,000 for the 2013 models. Whilst maintenance and running costs are undoubtedly high, there is something very tempting about driving around in a 195mph luxury limo for the price of a new VW Golf. Unashamedly luxurious and unlike many pretenders, not sullied by lower spec diesel versions, the Bentley Continental Flying Spur is just the thing for the discerning family man in a hurry. 
Words: John Tallodi
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Last updated: 13th Dec 2016
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