Bentley’s next-generation Continental Flying Spur is nearly upon us, with development cars so far into pre-production testing that engineers are barely bothering to disguise them. We’re expecting the upcoming Rolls-Royce Ghost rival to be very good – its two-door cousin, the GT, took big strides forward thanks to its all-new underpinnings and engine, so we’re expecting a commensurate step forward with the saloon. But with an anticipated starting price north of £140,000, for most of us it’ll remain a car to appreciated from afar.
Thank goodness for depreciation then, because early examples of the old Flying Spur can now be had for little more than 10 per cent of what we reckon the new car's value will be. Although with that mammoth W12 engine aboard, the maintenance bills are unlikely to be as forgiving. Ditto the running costs - even the previous, now 14-year-old Flying Spur, with its wonderful and muscular 6.0-litre, produced 560hp and 479lb ft of torque. So think 'stratospheric' and you're in the ballpark.
The Flying Spur was launched with a listed combined fuel economy of 22mpg, which, as we now know, was a bit optimistic. And with such a healthy appetite for hydrocarbons, 423g/km of CO2 were pumped out of those tailpipes, which means coughing up £570 per year for the privilege. Not even the finest applicator of Man Maths can make fuel and tax costs for an old Conti Flying Spur look cheap.
Of course, on the flipside, you're getting a whole lotta car for the money. There’s that magnificent engine – one perfectly suited to the job of shifting opulence with grace and, if you ask for it, genuine pace, too – and it powers an actual modern Bentley which can had in 2019 for less than the price of a mid-spec Fiesta. Plus, the Flying Spur has none of the Premiership footballerness of the GT.
In contrast to the coupe, a ridiculous 95 per cent of Spur buyers were said to be driven by someone else, meaning the depreciated used cars on the classifieds might have never before been properly appreciated by their custodian. Or not from the front seat, at any rate. And while the Volkswagen Phaeton-borrowed platform and Audi S8-sourced powertrain meant that the four-door Conti was far from bespoke underneath, it definitely drove like a Bentley. It was lovely.
The interior, equipped with the latest tech back in the mid-noughties, now bridges a happy medium between old and new. There’s wood veneer, leather and as much chrome as you’d like, but also an infotainment screen with satnav. In this pre-iPhone world, the complexity of the latter was much less than today’s dominating systems, meaning the cars listed on PH, even at the bottom end of the price pile, appear to have everything in working order.
Today’s Spotted is the second-cheapest car on the site, but it looks to be one of fine condition. It’s passed through five owners in its 14 years, but two were part of the same family, so shall we call it four ‘family’ owners? And 68,000 miles needn’t be of concern for the most significant oily bits, because that W12 has such a surplus of performance that it’s unlikely to have been stressed much. Plus, the fine state of the car’s exterior and interior suggests this car has received consistent maintenance.
Yes, it’ll cost as much to run as a small cruise liner and there are always potentially crippling bills just around the corner. But with continued TLC from a buyer who understands what they’re getting, you can’t do much better than £18k for a W12 Flying Spur. Can you?
SPECIFICATIONS - BENTLEY CONTINENTAL FLYING SPUR
Engine: 5,998cc, twin-turbo W12
Transmission: 6-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Power (hp): 560@6,100rpm
Torque (lb ft): 479@1,600-6,100rpm
First registered: 2005
Recorded mileage: 68,000miles
Price new: £133,200
Yours for: £19,995
See the original advert here.