Life should be about creating experiences, that often force you to step out of your comfort zone. For me, that came in the guise of testing a luxurious saloon, the new 2022 Bentley Flying Spur V8 edition First Edition. With this car I was out of my comfort zone. For the past few years I have only been testing and writing about supercars and the odd hypercar. With the Bentley Flying Spur, I was venturing into uncharted automotive territory.

From the outside the Bentley is large and intimidating. These two traits do not immediately cry out that the Bentley Flying Spur is a fast and powerful machine. I was wrong on that score; the Bentley Flying Spur is a powerful beast cloaked in the guise of a princely conveyance. I would drive this car in style, comfort, and power from Vancouver to Casablanca. I would be rather conspicuous on my long-distance drive as my test car came clothed out in a rather fetching candy Dragon Red II paint livery. The Bentley Flying Spur is a big and bold 2022 luxury car, and it isn't shy about getting in your face.

2022 Bentley Flying Spur

8.00 / 10
Key Features
  • 8 Speed Dual Clutch Gearbox
  • Electronic All Wheel Steering
  • Racetrack-proven 4.0 litre, twin-turbocharged V8 engine
  • Unique fusion of refinement and extreme performance.
Specifications
  • Engine: 4.0L Turbocharged V8
  • Horsepower: 542 hp
  • Torque: 568 lb-ft
  • Drivetrain: all wheel drive
  • Transmission: 8-speed dual clutch
Pros
  • Rapid acceleration
  • Smooth ride
  • Extensive option list
  • Luxury interior
Cons
  • Low roofline
  • A-Pillar inhibits lateral visibility

The Bentley Flying Spur's Dimensions

Bentley Flying Spur
Jason Grunsell

My first impression of the Flying Spur, which Bentley had made even better for 2022, was the sheer size of the car. It occupies a large footprint on the road. At 5,316 mm in length and 2,220 mm wide, this car is no shrinking violet. This is commensurate with its weight of 5,137 lbs. So, what happens when you push down the accelerator on this big, wide, heavy car? Well my friends, nothing short of a revelation.

By engaging the 4.0L twin-turbocharged V8, the Bentley Flying Spur undergoes a transformation from a large vehicle into a powerful machine that can reach an impressive 318 km. I prefer to view this speed in mph as the Bentley just comes up short of achieving a speed of 200 mph. It tops out at 198 mph. This is a region that used to belong exclusively to the supercar boys, but no longer.

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Bentley Flying Spur Interior Delights

Bentley Flying Spur
Jason Grunsell

Getting into the Bentley Flying Spur, one is immediately struck by the sumptuous nature of the interior. I admired the exquisite split linen veneer. The three-dimensional diamond-pattern textured seats and panels are elegance personified.

Best of all is the driving seat of the Bentley Flying Spur. It may be the most comfortable seat I’ve ever sat in with so many options to help you get that perfect seating position. The thick meaty steering wheel wrapped in white and red leather is a joy to hold. Digital dashes are now obligatory.

2022 Bentley Flying Spur steering and paddle shifters
Jason Grunsello

The Flying Spur’s digital dash is modern yet at the same time pays tribute to the old round gauges from Bentley’s of yester year. The speedometer is on the left and the rpm gauge is on the right with a moving map between the two gauges. The brushed aluminum center control panel looks expensive and elegant. The center console is an elegant sculpture of brushed aluminum. It looks more like an exquisite watch. The most important button has a dual-purpose function. The all important stop/start button, also serves as the driving mode controller.

The Bentley Flying Spur has four different driving modes. The driver can choose between sport, Bentley, comfort, and custom. Another feature that was once the sole preserve of the supercar are paddle shifters. They are found behind the steering wheel. The paddle shifters in the Bentley Flying Spur are small machined pieces of art. I am not sure how many Bentley Flying Spur owners will be taking manual control of their cars, but it is an option.

Flying Spur
Jason Grunsell

The Bentley Flying Spur is a fusion of Bentley heritage and modern technical marvels that's best exemplified by the central infotainment screen. The Bentley Flying Spur rotating display is a unique optional extra. The driver has three options. The first displays the infotainment screen with all its associated functions. The second option replaces the infotainment screen with three analog dials. The third option hides the other two options by displaying a veneer that matches the trim of the dash.

The Bentley Flying Spur fuses style, heritage and functionality. The infotainment screen is easy to navigate thanks to bold and clear icons. One 21st century feature that I did not get to try out was the night vision mode. I am curious to see how this feature works at night. I did engage the heads-up display function that projects speed and speed limits. I have seen this feature in other cars, and it has been a hit or miss function. I liked the size of the lettering and the amount of illumination used in the heads-up display. The numbers and letters were easy to read and understand the information being projected by the heads-up display.

For those who like to listen to music, the 16-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system should satisfy your aural pleasure. You can upgrade your sound system with a 1500-watt Beo Core amplifier. On the other hand, if you want to hear the sounds of nature, you can open one of the two sunroofs that are available. The front seat occupants get a sunroof as well as the rear passengers. A civilized approach to satisfying the needs of all occupants of the Bentley Flying Spur.

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Driving A Bentley Flying Spur

2022 Bentley Flying Spur
Jason Grunsell

At the push of a button, the Bentley Flying Spurs twin-turbocharged V8 engine comes to life. The sound that emanates from the quad exhausts is a pleasing rumble. This tasteful rumble hints at the 542 hp that is lurking beneath the driver's right foot.

My first few minutes driving the Flying Spur were intimidating as I discovered how wide this car is on the road. The Bentley occupies the full width of a driving lane and this makes cars in other lanes feel to close for comfort. As I became accustomed to the dimensions, these concerns faded into the background. Experiencing the seamless engagement of the 8-speed dual-clutch was a revelation. It felt like I was back in a supercar again. Any notions that I had that this Bentley Flying Spur was only a stately conveyance were overturned.

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2022 Bentley Flying Spur
Jason Grunsell

The impressive acceleration of the Bentley Flying Spur was on full show when I merged onto the Upper Levels Highway. Merging onto a highway can be exciting, or it can be a nerve wracking. If you have car with an unresponsive gearbox, then merging requires more planning. No planning is necessary If you have a car with a V8 turbocharged engine mated to an 8-speed dual clutch. Merging onto a highway then becomes a movement to enjoy.

Unleashing 542 hp from the V8 engine got my adrenaline pumping. The Bentley surged forward like a thoroughbred horse released from the starting gate at the Kentucky Derby. It felt like I achieved Bentley’s claimed zero to 62 mph in 4 seconds. That was quite an unexpected rush. The combination of speed and comfort made me believe I could drive across continents with ease. Feeling emboldened, I decided to take the Bentley up to the top of Cypress Mountain to visit the ski resort.

The road to the resort is serpentine and often plays host to supercar and sportcars. That day, the weather was less than ideal, being a mixture of rain and fog. These were no impediments to the Bentley Flying Spur. I turned the head of many an SUV driver as I powered on past them. The fetching Dragon Red II paint livery of the Bentley no doubt played a part in the SUV’s drivers reactions. Reaching the snowline at the top of the mountain the Bentley Flying Spur seemed quite at home. The red candy apple livery looked quite fetching set against the white snowy background.

Bentley Flying Spur Walkaround

2022 Bentley Flying Spur
Jason Grunsell

After the heady rush of speed, I wanted a few quiet moments with the Bentley Flying Spur. So I found an empty parking lot and pulled over to take some pictures and to take my time to do a walkaround of the Bentley.

The face of the car with its wide grill and two large air scoops gives the Bentley an imposing presence. The full LED matrix headlamps twinkled amidst the snowy conditions. Filling out the Bentley Flying Spurs are the 22-inch 10-twin-spoke wheels. I liked the contrast of the dark gray painted spokes and the bright machined spokes.

For the first time, I took a long look at the rear of the car. The rear design is my least favorite aspect of Bentley. The saving grace at the rear of the Bentley are the quad exhausts which give some meaty character to the rear. The Bentley has a rear luggage compartment that boasts a volume of 420 liters. Practically speaking, the Bentley trunk can accommodate four large suitcases, which is enough space for a long road or driving across a continent. I popped the hood in anticipation of seeing the V8 engine in all its glory. Alas, there is very little to see of the engine thanks to plastic covers over the majority of the engine. Then again, I doubt many Bentley Flying Spur owners will be opening the engine cover to take a peek at the V8.

The Verdict

Bentley Flying Spur
Jason Grunsell

This is the third generation of the Bentley Flying Spur. The first generation debuted in 2006. The model has come a long way in that time. The Flying Spur has a diverse range of models, with three models to choose from. Owners can opt for a powerful W12 model, or the V8 twin-turbocharged model.

The last model may surprise some people as you can order a hybrid, which Bentley showcased going on a trip through Scotland. The hybrid Bentley Flying Spur is the most technological Bentley of them all. The Bentley Flying Spur hybrid combines a 2.9L twin-turbocharged petrol engine with a 100kW electric motor. I would love to experience hybrid power in a Bentley, especially with Bentley having its eye firmly fixed on the electric future. The company intends to roll out five battery-powered models starting in 2025.

This was my first experience testing a Bentley and I came away from this adventure with a greater appreciation for the Bentley brand. I expected luxury, what I did not expect was the impressive performance. This car could cruise at 125 mph if it was legal to do so. The use of an 8-speed dual clutch is a masterstroke on Bentley's part. The comfortable ride comes courtesy of independent pneumatic double-wishbone suspension in the front and independent pneumatic multi-link suspension in the rear. The ride control systems provide the occupants of the Bentley Flying Spur with a superior ride quality that one would expect from a car of this type.

I would relish the opportunity drive this Bentley Flying Spur across Canada. In my drive across the country I would make heavy use of the massage function in the seats which are standard equipment on the Bentley Flying Spur. The Bentley Flying Spur is a wonderful mix of speed, power, and comfort. Good fuel economy would play a significant role in driving across Canada. Bentley has this covered with a 440-miles driving range claim for the Flying Spur.

If this article has caused you to consider purchasing a Bentley Flying Spur, then you should be aware of the financial costs. The Flying Spur V8 model costs ranges between $239,700 and $271,400. With optional extras, the price can go over $300,000. My Dragon Red II Fly Spur has an MSRP of $336,659.80. I am thankful for the opportunity to undertake a new automotive experience. The Bentley Flying Spur is one impressive and dare I say it, dynamic machine. Bring on the hybrid Bentley.

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