The Third-generation Bentley Flying Spur is faster and flashier than ever, but not too flashy

Bentley has just pulled the digital wraps off the third incarnation of its Flying Spur sedan, the four-door sibling to the Continental GT coupe. This latest model has a more athletic looking body, emphasized by more muscular rear flanks. It’s also longer, more spacious and comfortable for passengers, and even better to drive than the model it replaces.

It features several technical innovations, like the first ever retractable Flying B hood mascot, but also rear-wheel steering and additional active and passive safety aids. Its 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 engine has also been reworked to produce more power and torque. In the near future, the model will also be made available with a plug-in hybrid powertrain and a twin-turbo V-8.

How fast is the 2020 Bentley Flying Spur W12?

The 2020 Bentley Flying Spur has a Crazy Top Speed And a Secret Weapon Against Cornering
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With 626 horsepower (635 PS) and 900 Nm (664 pound-feet) of torque on tap, the third-gen Flying Spur launches itself from naught to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.8 seconds or to 96 km/h (60 mph) in 3.7 seconds. Its top speed is an impressive 333 km/h (207 mph). That puts it in the same league, in terms of acceleration, as a 2015 Mercedes AMG GT S or a 2011 Aston Martin One-77. Top speed is also very high for a sedan - in fact, according to our research, the 2020 Bentley Flying Spur W12 is the fastest three-box sedan you can buy right now; it’s as fast at the very top end as a 2014 McLaren 650S or nearly as fast the 2017 Bentley Continental Supersports (a special version with an increased top speed).

Its performance is made even more impressive considering it weighs 2,437 kilograms (5,372 pounds), essentially the equivalent of a city car more than any of the sports and supercars it matches or surpasses for straight line punch. Bentley also says this latest Flying Spur is better to drive than ever thanks, in part, to the new all-wheel-drive system - that secret weapon for straightening corners.

The 2020 Bentley Flying Spur has a Crazy Top Speed And a Secret Weapon Against Cornering
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Older incarnations of the Flying Spur had a permanent 60/40 torque split between the front and rear axles, but the new all-wheel drive system actually keeps the car in rear-wheel drive-only mode most of the time. It does start sending power to the front wheels if the car’s brain senses it needs extra traction. In Comfort mode it can allow for up to 480 Nm (354 pound-feet) to reach the rear tires, once Sport mode is selected, that goes down to 280 Nm (206 pound-feet).

According to the manufacturer, “turn-in response is also dramatically improved. The front end of the all-new Flying Spur feels much lighter and changes direction almost at the speed of thought. The understeer effect experienced with fixed all-wheel drive is virtually eliminated.” The car also has standard adaptive suspension (Bentley Dynamic Ride) with three-chamber air springs that is extremely soft in its comfort setting and it does get noticeably firmer in any of the sportier modes. If the car is left in the “Bentley” mode, then it decides for itself just how stiff the suspension needs to be depending on how the car is driven.

The 2020 Bentley Flying Spur has a Crazy Top Speed And a Secret Weapon Against Cornering
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Naturally, being such a heavy and ridiculously powerful luxo barge, the 2020 Flying Spur needs proper stopping power to keep things safe. It, therefore, has gigantic front rotors that measure 420 millimeters up front - the car’s front and rear calipers are finished in gloss black as standard, although you can specify a red gloss finish as an optional extra. But there is no difference in the actual braking system regardless of which color caliper is chosen.

2020 Bentley Flying Spur drivetrain specifications
Configuration 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged W12 TSI
Capacity 5950 cc / 363 cubic inches
Induction 2x twin-scroll turbochargers, direct intercooling
Power 635 PS / 626 bhp / 467 kW
Torque 900 Nm / 664 lb.ft
Bore x stroke 84 mm x 89.5 mm / 3.3” x 3.52”
Top speed        207mph (333 kph)
0-60 mph 3.7 s
0-100 kph 3.8 s

How Did the 2020 Bentley Spur’s Exterior Design Change?

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The front end of the latest Bentley Flying Spur is pretty much the same as that of the Continental GT coupe. Move your gaze past the A-pillar and you start to notice that it looks quite a bit different compared to the two-door. It has a more chiseled look to it, compared to the voluptuous lines of the coupe - and this look suits the kind of car it is much better. While it remains at the very height of automotive opulence, it has been designed to be more understated than the two-door.

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Its side profile is clean and uncluttered - the spot where the side crease that runs along the top of the doors meets the curved crease that gives shape to the rear fender is probably the most visually striking part about it. The side air intake (in the shape of the letter “B”) has been moved further up on the fender compared to where it is on the coupe, and it’s also a different shape. It’s also more subtly integrated and the overall effect is it looks less obvious.

The rear end is a thing of beauty, especially from a three-quarter profile view. The shape of the greenhouse is continued on the trunk lid and on that raised part of the lid you’ll notice the Bentley logo, complete with wings. In fact, the logo on this car is special and marks the company’s centenary (it has the years 1919 - 2019 to the left and right of the “B”).

The 2020 Bentley Flying Spur has a Crazy Top Speed And a Secret Weapon Against Cornering
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It rides on 22-inch rims and, since the person who buys this car won’t really care about the price for a new set of tires is, I have to admit they look just perfect on the car. They don’t look too big (that’s because the car is quite big to start with) and the design is, like the rest of the car, elegant but not overdone.

2020 Bentley Flying Spur exterior dimensions
Length 5316 mm
Width 1978 mm
Height 1484 mm
Wheel-base:         3194 mm
Vehicle Weight 2437 kg unladen

Does the 2020 Bentley Flying Spur come packed with gadgets?

The 2020 Bentley Flying Spur has a Crazy Top Speed And a Secret Weapon Against Cornering
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You probably already know the answer to this question and it is an emphatic “yes.” First on the list has to be the new “Flying B” mascot that can now be raised or lowered at the touch of a button. This feature is exactly the same as what Rolls Royce has had for years, but unlike the Rolls’ hood ornament, the one in the Bentley actually has a part that lights up - it’s probably the exterior design feature that most screams “look at me” out of all its exterior details.

Safety is obviously a prime concern given this car’s clientele, so Bentley has gone ahead and fitted the Flying Spur with a complete list of standard features that includes (but is not limited to) Traffic Assist, City Assist, and Blind Spot Warning. The car also has a fully digital gauge cluster as standard and the infotainment is displayed on a 12.3-inch screen that can be hidden away at the touch of a button. You can opt to have the screen visible, have some analog dials, or just a blank piece of trim that continues the look of the dash. I’m pretty sure many buyers will opt to keep the screen hidden to make the car feel more like “old world luxury,” even though it is brimming with cutting edge features.

The 2020 Bentley Flying Spur has a Crazy Top Speed And a Secret Weapon Against Cornering
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The headlights are standard LED Matrix clusters “with unique cut-crystal effect detailing.

A chrome sleeve has been added behind the cut element making them sparkle, even when not lit.” The car also comes with Night Vision and a Head-Up Display, as well as a Top View Camera that “gives an eagle-eyed view of the car and its immediate surroundings, complemented by reverse traffic warning and self-parking features.”

All-wheel steering is also part of the package for the first time in a Bentley and this system further improves handling and the perception from the driver’s seat that the car is smaller and more agile than it actually is.

The 2020 Bentley Flying Spur has a Crazy Top Speed And a Secret Weapon Against Cornering
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You will have a choice of three audio systems - the standard setup has 10 speakers and is rated at 650 Watts. Then you can opt for a 1,500-Watt Bang & Olufsen 16-speaker system or, if you want the very best that Bentley can offer, there is the 2,200-Watt Naim system with a total of 19 speakers. It has “Active Bass Transducers built into the front seats and is offered for the true audiophile,” according to the official press blurb.

Naturally, since this is a Bentley, you can go all out and customize the car’s exterior but especially its interior even in minute detail.

You can do this if you opt for the Bentley Mulliner Personalization program through which most of your wildest car customization fantasies will come true.

When will the 2020 Bentley Flying Spur be available and what are its rivals?

The 2020 Bentley Flying Spur has a Crazy Top Speed And a Secret Weapon Against Cornering
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Bentley didn’t say exactly when the car will go on sale, but it should be available for order by the end of 2019 in Europe, Israel, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, and the Ukraine at first. It will go up against the likes of the 2019 Rolls Royce Ghost (a car that is nearly 10 years old and is showing its age), the 2019 Mercedes-Maybach S650 (a car that’s hard to fault and it should be a bit cheaper than the Bentley, although since it is still “just” an S-Class, it’s not as exclusive), or the 2019 Aston Martin Lagonda Taraf (a car that’s very beautiful to behold from the outside and one that drives great, but one whose interior is nowhere near as special as the Bentley’s even though it’s more than twice as expensive).

Further reading

2020 Bentley Flying Spur Computer Renderings and Photoshop Exclusive Renderings Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2020 Bentley Flying Spur

2019 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid
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Read our full review on the 2020 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid

2017 Bentley Flying Spur V8 S High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 Bentley Flying Spur V8 S.

2017 Bentley Flying Spur W12 S High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 Bentley Flying Spur W12 S.

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