Though we have recently bid farewell to the mighty 6.75-litre in the Mulsanne, those after the finest in four-door, eight-cylinder Bentley motoring should not fret: a V8 is back in the Flying Spur. Far from a lesser sibling, recent Bentleys using the 4.0-litre twin-turbo engine have been marvellous. Sharper to drive, better to listen to and handily cheaper than the flagship versions, they've been the models of choice for those comfy with less than 600hp. Given that, and given how impressive the new Spur has already proven itself, expectations are high; here are the five chunkiest nuggets of need-to-know info.
1. It's light (kind of)
You might argue that the effects of saving 100kg from a Bentley are negligible at best. But not only did previous V8 Spurs drive with additional sharpness over the W12, this generation of Flying Spur has already raised the bar again. So while taking 2,437kg to 2,337kg won't win any awards, we can expect a great driving car to perform even better. Bentley says that weight distribution has been improved along with agility; now that technology like four-wheel steer and active anti-roll can also be optioned in, don't be surprised if the Spur confounds a few expectations.
2. It's fast (naturally)
Even with just the 550hp and 568lb ft of torque (against the W12's 635hp and 664lb ft), the V8 Flying Spur loses out on precious little against its heavier sibling when it comes to performance. 62mph is reached in just 4.1 seconds, and the top speed is an enormous 198mph - or, to put things another way, just four tenths and nine miles per hour respectively behind the 6.0-litre car. And who cares about that?
3. It's frugal (almost)
With a physically smaller engine than the W12, cylinder deactivation and a lighter kerbweight, the V8 is the most efficient Flying Spur yet. Bentley claims a 'Grand Touring' range of more than 400 miles. Which presumably is one at a more sedate speed than the 198mph maximum. That should be sufficient to get you from Nottingham to Aberdeen (415 miles, via the A1), Reims to Munich (436 miles, via the A4 and A8) or, if you really eked it out, Melbourne to Adelaide - the shortest route is 451 miles. Handy consumer info, as always.
4. It has an even better fridge (really)
If you're going to be travelling vast, Grand Touring distances, you'll need to keep hydrated. For this new Flying Spur V8, Bentley has upgraded the refrigerated bottle cooler - perfect. Nestled between the two rear seats, it can house whatever beverage takes your fancy: six 330ml cans (for beer, presumably), four 500ml bottles (cider perhaps) or two 750ml vessels - champagne is the suggested drink here. The fridge can cool at temps between +6 and -6 degrees, with less intrusion into the boot capacity than before. They really do think of everything, don't they?
5. It isn't on sale (yet)
Read Bentley's press release and all seems clear: "Customer orders are underway, and first customer deliveries are due before the end of 2020 in the UK and Europe". Excellent news; not long to wait for what should be a sublime luxury saloon. But further down it (and indeed Bentley's own customer website) suggests that, "The Flying Spur V8 is available to order in all markets except EU27, UK" and a few other countries. So, to be honest, we're none the wiser. Either way there isn't a price announced yet, though expect a fair saving over the W12's £168,300 RRP. As well as a very thorough assessment of the overhauled V8 (and that fridge) in due course.
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