2006 Bentley Continental Flying Spur Review
The Germans design one helluva British sedan
She had a point. The Continental Flying Spur is a work of art, from its styling to the generous use of rich materials, so it stands to reason that one would want to be seen in it. But for nearly $190,000, what do you get with the Bentley that you can’t in lesser vehicles? There’s tons of power, but ultimately the Flying Spur’s performance can be matched by cars costing a fraction of the price. The interior, especially the rear seat, is spacious – same goes for countless other rides. Technology is offered aplenty, including a navigation system and Bluetooth connectivity, features common to mainstream Hondas and Acuras. But, it’s a Bentley, and even in Orange County, California, where the house staff drives BMWs, Jags, and Benzes, the Continental Flying Spur stands above the pack, and to some buyers, that’s all that matters.
With a curb weight of 5,456 pounds, the all-wheel-drive 2006 Bentley Continental Flying Spur needs some serious muscle to move with any authority. To that end, a 48-valve, dual overhead cam, 6.0-liter W12 with twin Borg-Warner turbochargers and a six-speed, manually-interactive automatic transmission are housed behind the scenes to get things rolling. The engine can be started with a twist of the key on the left side of the dash, or by hitting a start button on the center console. A horsepower rating of 552 peaks at 6,100 rpm while 479 lb.-ft. of torque is just a blip above idle at 1,600 rpm. Bentley claims that the Spur will reach 60 mph in 4.9 seconds, and if you find a lengthy stretch of wide-open asphalt you’ll discover why this is the Flying Spur – top speed is 195 mph. Wealthy executives now have no excuse for being late to a meeting.
That kind of performance is outstanding, but it requires more than a stout powertrain to make it happen. Serving to control the ride at all speeds is a four-link front suspension and a multi-link system in the rear; a Torsen center limited-slip differential insures that power is distributed appropriately. A button on the center console allows the driver to select from a range of suspension settings between comfort and sport, while a second button raises or lowers the vehicle as desired. Alloy wheels wrapped in sticky 275/40ZR19 Pirelli PZero Rosso tires marry the Bentley to the road, directed up front by a speed-sensing rack-and-pinion steering assembly. Large vented discs work with an antilock braking system with electronic brake assistance and electronic brake-force distribution systems to bring about a steady halt.
As important as quality underpinnings may be, buyers of the 2006 Bentley Continental Flying Spur are likely more interested in obvious pleasures such as cabin features. Delivered standard with the $171,285 base price (including a $2,595 destination charge and $3,700 gas guzzler tax) is leather coating virtually every surface – on the seats, doors, center console, dash, pillars, steering wheel, and headliner, accented with a forest’s worth of burl walnut trim and alloy accents. Other standard equipment includes a navigation system; a 12-speaker premium sound system with a six-disc CD changer; heated and cooled front buckets seats with memory and a massage feature; front and rear climate controls; a power moonroof; a power tilt and telescopic steering wheel; power closing doors; and a power trunk lid. Among the standard safety items are a traction and stability control system, front and rear side airbags, side-curtain airbags, and electronic parking aids front and rear. Then there are the options – expensive ones. Various alloy wheel designs, measuring either 19 or 20 inches in diameter, run between $1,490 and $4,240. A selection of wood trim kits will set buyers back $1,490 - $3,340; a two-tone leather steering wheel goes for $490; a sunroof with a solar panel comes in at $990; and alloy foot pedals go for $590. That’s just a sampling of the myriad ways Bentley invites buyers to spend plenty of money.
Our test car, a beautiful Midnight Emerald model with an Ochre interior, arrived with a window sticker that read $187,475. In addition to the gas guzzler tax and destination charge, that price included $7,190 for a rear seat package with a full-length center console and massaging heated-and-cooled buckets; $4,240 for chrome 19-inch alloy wheels; the $990 solar sunroof; $840 for a Convenience Package that added a Bluetooth phone system and universal garage door opener; $590 for a shift knob finished in chrome and leather; the $590 foot pedals; $490 for deep-pile floor mats; the $490 two-tone steering wheel; $290 for an alloy gas cap; a $240 spare wheel; and a valet parking key that goes for only $240.