The 2021 Flying Spur V8 is not as powerful as the W12, but it’s still impressively quick, just as luxurious

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The 2021 Bentley Flying Spur V8 is, as the name suggests, a V-8-powered version of the third-generation full-size sedan. Launched a year after the W-12 model broke cover, the 2021 Flying Spur V8 is essentially a slightly more dynamic and efficient alternative to the range-topping four-door. Does it have any features that make it stand out? How does the 4.0-liter V-8 compare to the much larger 6.0-liter W-12? Let’s find out in the review below.

The 2021 Bentley Flying Spur V8 is basically identical to the W-12 model inside and out

  • Identical to W12 model
  • Sporty front fascia
  • Massive grille
  • Elegant profile
  • Muscular fenders
  • B-shaped LED taillights
  • Wood veneer on the dash
  • Leather upholstery
  • Rotating infotainment display
  • Luxury seats
  • Rear-seat entertainment
2021 Bentley Flying Spur V8 Exterior
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How can you tell the V8 model apart from W12 visually? Well, you can’t. The V8 looks identical to the W12 version inside and out, so you’ll have to open the hood or start the engine to notice the difference. But this is actually a good thing. Most automakers install smaller engines in lesser trims nowadays, but that’s not the case here. Whether you go with the V-8 or the W-12 unit, you get the same elegant and sporty exterior design and the same comfortable and luxurious cabin.

Bentley redesigned the Flying Spur in 2019 and for the most part it still looks a lot like the old model.

But the British firm changed a few important features, starting with a notably wider and taller front grille, which now features no fewer than 23 vertical slats in a single-frame layout. This grille is actually a tribute to the S1 Continental Flying Spur from 1957. The quad headlamps were also redesigned so that the outer lights are much smaller than the inner lamps. All four are fitted with LED Matrix technology as standard. The front bumper looks sportier thanks to the wider side vents, while the engine hood now sports an illuminated Flying B mascot that activates when you approach the car.

2021 Bentley Flying Spur V8 Exterior
- image 941901

The profile retains the clean panels of its predecessor, but it now also includes a protruding character line around the both wheel arches. The rear haunches look particularly sporty. Around back, we can see the same raised center section of the trunk lid, but the loading area is wider. Bentley also ditched the rectangular taillights for almost square lights with B-shaped graphics and LED lighting. Just like the W12, the V8 is highly customizable and you can choose from a wide palette of colors and trim options, including chrome and black. Wheels in various sizes and designs are also available.

The interior of the Flying Spur V8 is also identical to the W12 model, so it's also based on the Continental GT coupe.

There’s a wide dashboard with horizontal wood veneer that extends into the doors panels, a wide center console with a 12.3-inch infotainment display and the already familiar Rotating Display feature. The 12.3-inch screen is on one of the three sides of the rotating display, with the other two being wood veneer and three analogue dials that show outside temperature, a compass, and a chronometer. The center stack also includes B-shaped A/C vents, a clock with bronze detailing, and a rotary switch with diamond knurling.

2021 Bentley Flying Spur V8 Interior
- image 941889

The door panels bring together fine wood trim and diamond-quilted leather. The seats are also wrapped in fine leather and come with heating, ventilation, multi-mode massage, adjustable bolsters, and top tilt. The Flying Spur V8 can sit four or five people.

On the tech front, the Flying Spur comes with wireless charging and two USB sockets, ambient lighting with seven colors, and a new Touch Screen Remote for rear passengers. A full-size panoramic sunroof with Alcantara blinds that deploy electrically is available, as are premium audio systems from Bang & Olufsen and Naim.

What makes the 2021 Bentley Flying Spur V8 special?

  • Revised 4.0-liter V-8
  • 542 horsepower
  • 568 pound-feet
  • Eight-speed automatic
  • 0 to 60 mph in 4 seconds
  • Top speed at 198 mph
  • Active AWD system
  • Four-wheel steering
  • New air suspension
2021 Bentley Flying Spur V8 Exterior
- image 941903

Open the hood and you’ll find what sets this model apart. While the first launched third-gen Flying Spur comes with a 6.0-liter W-12 engine, this version draws juice from a twin-turbo, 4.0-liter V-8. A V-8 engine in a Flying Spur isn’t new, however. The second-gen sedan was also available with a V-8 and a W-12, so Bentley is simply bringing back powertrain diversity. The V-8 itself isn’t new either. An updated version of the 4.0-liter mill offered in the previous Flying Spur, the V-8 cranks out 542 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough to push the sedan from 0 to 60 mph four seconds and toward a top speed of 198 mph.

Is the 2021 Bentley Flying Spur V8 more powerful than its predecessor?

2021 Bentley Flying Spur V8 Exterior
- image 941905

The old Flying Spur V8 S featured a similar engine, but it wasn’t as powerful. The sedan that went out of production in 2019 came with 521 horsepower and 502 pound-feet of torque on tap. This means that the 2021 model benefits from an additional 21 horsepower and 66 pound-feet of twist. The third-gen Flying Spur V8 S is also three tenths quicker to 60 mph, while its top speed is eight mph higher than its predecessor.

Is the 2021 Bentley Flying Spur V8 more powerful than the W12?

2021 Bentley Flying Spur V8 Exterior
- image 941887

No. The V8 model slots under the W12, which comes with a massive 6.0-liter W-12 engine that delivers an impressive 626 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. This means that the V8 version lags behind by a significant 84 horsepower and 96 pound-feet of twist. Not surprisingly, the V8 is also slower than the W12. The latter hits 60 mph in 3.7 seconds, three tenths quicker than the V8, while its top speed comes in at 207 mph. That nine mph more than the Flying Spur V8.

2021 Bentley Flying Spur V8 Exterior
- image 941902

So are there any benefits in buying the V8 model? Bentley says that the V8 version is about 220 pounds lighter, which translates into increased agility at all speeds. The smaller V-8 engine also offers better mileage and lower CO2 emissions. Specific figures aren’t available, but the V-8 mill isn’t massively more efficient than the W-12. However, it benefits from cylinder deactivation, which shuts down four of its eight cylinders under light-load conditions, when torque demand is below 173 pound-feet and engine speed is below 3000 rpm.

Just like the W-12 engine, the V-8 mates to an eight-speed ZF transmission and a permanent all-wheel-drive system.

It also comes with all-wheel steering, which enhances stability at all speeds. The new three-chamber air suspension contains 60 percent more air volume than the previous Flying Spur and enables various ride setups, from sporty to comfortable.

How much does the 2021 Bentley Flying Spur V8 cost?

2021 Bentley Flying Spur V8 Exterior
- image 941897

Pricing information is not yet available, but the Flying Spur V8 will be a bit more affordable than the W12 model. The latter comes in at $258,735, which means that the Flying Spur V8 will fetch less than $230,000 before options.

Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read More
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The Bentley Flying Spur – hailed as “the best luxury sedan in the world” – is now available with Bentley’s renowned and highly successful V8 powertrain, as an alternative to the iconic W12.

Research from the last ten years shows a significant shift in the usage of the Flying Spur from chauffeur-driven owners to customers driving themselves with passengers accompanying them. Global research (including two customer clinics in America and China) also demonstrated that over 40 per cent of customers travel with rear seat passengers at least once a week. This data has been used to develop the latest iteration of the new four door grand tourer, focusing on the driver experience whilst retaining a cabin space that combines exquisite luxury with integrated latest-generation technology.

The Flying Spur V8 offers a more driver-centric experience via increased agility and a more characterful engine note, whilst benefiting from increased range between fuel stops and a reduction in CO2 emissions.

At the heart of the vehicle is Bentley’s 4.0-litre, twin turbocharged V8 engine, that produces a peak power of 550PS (542bhp, 404kW) and uses twin-scroll turbos to reach its maximum torque of 770Nm at just under 2000 rpm.

To maximise fuel economy, the V8 can shut down four of its eight cylinders under light-load conditions, when torque demand is below 235 Nm and engine speed is below 3000 rpm. The change is imperceptible to the occupants – with deactivation times of around 20 milliseconds (a tenth of the time it takes to blink).

The Flying Spur V8 is 100 kg lighter than the W12 version, making the vehicle feel more agile and responsive with a distinctive personality of its own. The new model includes the latest powertrain and chassis advancements; Adaptive Air Suspension, Torque Vectoring by Brake, Drive Dynamics Control, and Electric Steering, all of which are standard features. Furthermore, customers can add Bentley’s pioneering 48V electric active anti-roll technology (Bentley Dynamic Ride), and Electronic All-Wheel Steering for even greater agility.

The new Flying Spur, available in both four-seat or five-seat configurations, incorporates a class-leading portfolio of intelligent and intuitive equipment and technology tailored to the driver and passengers. The industry-first Bentley Rotating Display is also available on the new Flying Spur V8, including Apple CarPlay®, photorealistic landscapes through satellite maps and advance warning of changing road or traffic conditions via the local hazard information service.

Member of the Board for Engineering, Dr. Matthias Rabe, comments:
“Based on our research, customer feedback and trends of customer usage, the new Flying Spur V8 has been engineered to deliver driver-focused ability, whilst offering passengers the refinement, comfort and technology expected from a grand limousine.

“The Flying Spur range is purposeful yet elegant. It has classic Bentley design, best-in-class execution, authentic materials and attention to detail. The new Flying Spur V8 also includes the latest driver assistance and infotainment systems for enhanced safety, security and relaxation on every journey. “

A modern, highly efficient V8 powertrain
Bentley’s 4.0-litre, twin turbocharged V8 engine produces a peak power of 550PS (542bhp, 404kW) and used twin-scroll turbos to reach its maximum torque of 770Nm at just under 2000 rpm, maintaining this as a flat plateau through to 4500 rpm.

A key feature of the twin-scroll turbochargers is the two separate, parallel flow channels in the turbine housing. The result is high torque available at low speeds. The turbos are located inside the ‘V’ of the engine, minimising the distance the exhaust gases travel from the engine to the turbochargers, promoting rapid response and high–efficiency.

The turbochargers store up boost pressure on light throttle openings, comparable to a dam and reservoir, so boost pressure is instantly available again when the throttle is opened wide, significantly improving throttle response and engine flexibility. To withstand higher stress and bore wear, the cylinder bores are iron coated using an atmospheric plasma spraying process creating a coating that is robust yet just 150 microns thick.

The 90 degree “V” configuration, cross-plane crankshaft and eight perfectly balanced cylinders give the engine its characteristic and unmistakable V8 engine sound and the impressive power output provides a 0-60 mph time of 4.0secs (0-100kph, 4.1 secs) and a top speed of 198 mph (318 kph).

To maximise fuel economy, the V8 can shut down four of its eight cylinders under light-load conditions, when torque demand is below 235 Nm and engine speed is below 3000 rpm. The change is imperceptible to the occupants – with deactivation times of around 20 milliseconds (a tenth of the time it takes to blink).

The result is a fuel consumption benefit to the customer of up to 16 per cent, which also means increased range, lower environmental impact and longer driving between fuel stops.

Driver-focused with increased agility
The Flying Spur V8 is 100 kg lighter than the W12 version, making the vehicle feel more agile and responsive with a distinctive personality of its own.

The new model includes the latest powertrain and chassis advancements; Adaptive Air Suspension, Torque Vectoring by Brake, Drive Dynamics Control, and Electric Steering, all of which are standard features.

The Flying Spur V8 is equipped with front and rear hollow, lightweight anti-roll bars for exceptional handling. Additionally the technically advanced, adaptive chassis can feature Bentley’s pioneering 48-volt electric active ant-roll control system (Bentley Dynamic Ride) and Electronic All-Wheel Steering are available as an option.

The Dynamic Ride system controls ride comfort and lateral roll, cushioning passengers from excessive movement through decoupling of the wheels across the axles, with the ability to then apply up to 1300 Nm of anti-roll torque in 0.3 seconds when cornering to keep the body flat and stable.

The air suspension uses three-chamber air springs, which contain 60 percent more air volume compared to the previous generation Flying Spur. This allows more scope to vary from sporting levels of spring stiffness to luxury limousine ride comfort depending upon which mode the driver has selected.

The optional Electronic All-Wheel Steering is an all new technology feature introduced for the Flying Spur, which enhances both stability at highway speeds and manoeuvrability around town. During low-speed manoeuvres, the system steers the rear wheels in the opposite direction to the front wheels. This has the effect of shortening the wheelbase, reducing the turning circle, increasing agility and making parking noticeably easier.

During high-speed manoeuvres, the system steers the rear wheels in the same direction as the front wheels, increasing stability and making overtaking and lane-changes more assured. Electronic All-Wheel Steering means no compromise between high-speed confidence and low speed convenience.

A fusion of design, craftsmanship and materials
The bold exterior design of the Flying Spur is based on a new and modern vision that is unmistakably Bentley. With a wheelbase lengthened by 130mm compared to the second generation model, the new Flying Spur now has an increased road presence and stronger, more muscular lines that sweep the full length of the car.

For the Flying Spur V8 there are seven Bentley paint colours to choose from as standard, which have been carefully selected to complement the character and lines of the car. Customers can also specify their vehicle from the additional extended paint range of over 60 colours, including Mulliner and personal commission. The blackline specification offers a contemporary alternative to exterior brightware including a dark version of the optional illuminated electric Flying B, and for a more sporting exterior aesthetic, the new Styling Specification complements the Flying Spur V8’s peerless capabilities.

Standard exterior features of the new V8 model include a 20-inch, 10-spoke painted alloy wheel, a V8 wing badge and quad exhaust pipes, making a visual impact at the rear of the vehicle.

The interior of the all-new Flying Spur V8 showcases Bentley’s expertise in creating a modern cabin of unrivalled luxury and innovation. Stylish and unique, it features supremely comfortable seats in five hide colours, with Bentley’s ‘Wing’ theme across the lower console and fascia. For additional choice, the Colour Specification option adds 10 further hide colours and two duo-tone interior configurations.

Sweeping horizontal veneer flows across the dashboard and into the doors, emphasising the spacious width of the cabin. Crown Cut Walnut is offered as standard, which uses a straight cut process to provide a contemporary finish. There are a further seven veneer species to choose from, plus a High Gloss Carbon Fibre technical finish. Dual veneer finish can also be specified in all veneer types to add an even more bespoke feel to the cabin with Côtes de Genève specifically available for the front centre console.

The industry-first Bentley Rotating Display is also available on the new Flying Spur V8. When the engine start button is pressed, the veneer section in the middle of the dashboard rotates to reveal a 12.3-inch touchscreen, displaying three, customisable digital tiles. The second side of the display reveals three elegant analogue dials showing outside temperature, a compass and a chronometer. A complete digital detox can be selected on the third side, to simply enjoy the seamless wood veneer fascia continuing around the cabin.

In the rear, an all-new Touch Screen Remote is made from beautifully-crafted materials. It integrates almost invisibly into the console but is easily removed at the touch of a button for remote use. It allows access to a wide range of applications, including control of all blinds, rear seat massage function and rear climate control, and can be used to pre-store configurations such as Mood Lighting.

Innovative technology hand in hand with contemporary luxury
The new Flying Spur incorporates a class-leading portfolio of intelligent and intuitive equipment tailored to the driver and passengers. An embedded SIM is provided, meaning My Bentley connected car features no longer require customers to provide their own data connection. My Bentley in-car and remote services is a continually-developing range of services available to customers through a dedicated app, available both on Apple iOS and Android mobile platforms.

Remote services - subject to regional availability - are accessible through the My Bentley app, including a range of features our customers now come to expect – from ‘find my car’ and ‘lock my car’, through to car status and statistics – including integration with other functions such as the park heater where fitted.

Other features via the vehicles infotainment system include Apple CarPlay®, photorealistic landscapes through satellite maps and advance warning of changing road or traffic conditions via the local hazard information service.

Through a range of optional equipment including Rear Seat Entertainment tablets, audio options up to the industry-leading Naim for Bentley system and even the luxury of an onboard two-bottle drinks cooler, the rear cabin of the Flying Spur is the ultimate place to work or relax while on the road.

The new refrigerated bottle cooler can be found between the rear seats behind the centre armrest. With two levels of cooling from +6°C to -6°C and the ability to accommodate six 330ml soft drinks, four 500ml bottles or two full sized (750ml) champagne bottles, the cooler can be stocked to suit any journey. A completely new design means that the cooler is packaged into a much smaller space than the previous generation Flying Spur, meaning less intrusion into the vast 420 litre boot space.

In the rear cabin customers can also specify a four seat configuration benefiting from a long, through-console extending from the front console to the rear. The four-seat configuration makes the ultimate statement in design, comfort and luxury. The console includes a new housing for the 5” touchscreen remote, twin cupholders, extra stowage and the option of a wireless charging point. The rear armrest includes a bright metal finisher and hides two USB ports and a 12v power socket.

Electrically operated picnic tables mounted in the rear of the front seat can be deployed with a single press of a button. The veneer covered table lowers, levels electrically and reveals a leather trimmed surface with a recess for a pen or stylus. Holding the button down the table elegantly returns to its home position.

Desirability of the Flying Spur increases even further
All Flying Spurs are produced at Bentley’s home in Crewe - the world’s first carbon neutral factory for luxury car production. Customer orders are underway, and first customer deliveries are due before the end of 2020 in the UK and Europe, with other global markets following shortly thereafter in 2021.

The world’s best luxury four door grand tourer has now broadened its appeal, offering further driver focus and practicality yet without compromise on luxury or craftsmanship.

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