Friday 19th October 2012


Default black TDI Audi A4 ... or Bentley Flying Spur? They're the same money...

Affordable luxo-barges are the masters of temptation, appearing to offer so much for very little, but a caveat always emerges. It will have been specified in a ridiculous colour, or covered millions of miles, or be sitting rather incongruously amongst a lot of much cheaper cars, making everything seem rather shady.

It's a Chrysler 300C! No, wait...
It's a Chrysler 300C! No, wait...
The only affliction this Bentley Continental Flying Spur would apparently suffer from though is a lack of desirability. Whilst the world and his WAG flocked to the Continental GT Coupe during the last decade, the Flying Spur seemed lacking the requisite image to capture the wallets of the rich and famous.

Arguably the greatest contributor to the Flying Spur's relative lack of success compared to the standard GT is its styling. Even in 2006, the Spur wasn't the most elegant piece of luxury saloon design; in 2012, it does look rather staid and generic against Jaguar's XJ.

Having said all that, there's clearly a huge amount of luxury, performance and ability on offer here. A fiver under £35,000 is enough for this Flying Spur in Tempest Silver with Beluga leather and a list of equipment as long as the proverbial limb. You and three passengers can watch digital TV in heated and ventilated electric seats with massage function, whilst the pair in the back can watch DVDs through the headrest-mounted screens also. Your driver is treated to some luxury too, with a heated steering wheel.

Chauffeur's hands warmed by heated wheel
Chauffeur's hands warmed by heated wheel
Actually, why would you want a driver with a car this capable? Yes, it may not be the best-riding limo in the world, but it has an ability to change direction and grip that belies its 2.5-tonne mass. Then there's that gargantuan W12 twin-turbo engine which, despite having to lug around so much, can still rocket the Flying Spur to 194mph, passing 100mph just 12.8 seconds after the (drilled aluminium) throttle pedal has been stamped into the carpet.

Attempting to be objective towards a car that has shed nearly 75 per cent of its value after just 47,000 miles of use is challenging. Of course the fuel costs will be frightening, but the Spur is based on the VW Phaeton, a project infamously spearheaded by Ferdinand Piech and his fastidious engineering standards.

Or you could have a black diesel Audi...
Or you could have a black diesel Audi...
By way of (biased) comparison, £35,000 will currently also buy an Audi A4. With a diesel engine. And 'Five Arm Rotor' alloy wheels. Clearly this isn't a direct rival (the CO2 output of the Spur is nearly two and half times that of the A4!), but serves to illustrate just how much value the Bentley represents.

The world seems to have forgotten about the Flying Spur, and that's a shame. Bentley is keen to point out the efficiency benefits of the Continental GT V8, whilst the very wealthy appear more enthusiastic about the flagship Mulsanne and upcoming cabriolet version. The fortunate corollary of these attitudes is very affordable Flying Spurs, surely a reason to celebrate.

: £34,995
Why you would: The pinnacle of luxury motoring for the price of a repmobile
Why you wouldn't: W12 engines need fuel, 20-inch wheels need tyres, drivers need a wage...

See the original ad here.


Author: Matt Bird
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