Another Bentley! They keep on sending them. Well, maybe the average Guardian reader really is thinking of getting one – you just need a hand deciding which model. That’s why I’m here, to help. You’re welcome.
So this one is the new Flying Spur, a bloody great barge of a car. If the Continental, the baby Bentley, is the footballer’s car, then this one is the chairman’s. Obviously, as an Arsenal supporter myself, I could never own a car called a Flying Spur. Perhaps they should have thought of that. I’ll take a Renault La Gooner over this, any day. There could be a Twitter hashtag here: #FootballClubCars. An Aston Martin for the Villa fan, etc.
So, what’s it like? Well, in many ways astonishing. Astonishingly powerful (616bhp from its twin-turbo, 48-valve W12 engine). And astonishingly quick (look at the figures in the box). And huge.
A monster like this is never going to feel like a sports car, however quick it is. It’s down to physics: two and a half tonnes travelling at 200 miles an hour equals an awful lot of momentum, and doesn’t change direction easily. Not that we did reach the full double ton up, Officer, on the school run, or on the way to Tesco.
Driving a Flying Spur is something like a cross between driving the Queen Mary and flying Concorde (he says, having never driven either). But a lot of Flying Spur owners won’t ever find out. They’ll be driven. And they’ll be driven in China (more Flying Spurs are sold there than anywhere else). Chinese football chairmen, then, sitting in the back.
And they will be very happy there, reading their Guardians, having their backs (and egos) massaged, and their cracks aired – hot or cold – by their beautiful leather seats. They can play with the remote control, put on a movie, perhaps. Or plug in a laptop, connect to the internet using the car’s own Wi-Fi hotspot. Do some deals, buy some new players. Obviously everything is perfectly colour matched, and hand-stitched, and buffed, and buffed again, by the good folk of Crewe. Lovely.
Which makes the outside all the more disappointing. It’s just a bit of an anonymous lump, really. A big brick. It caused very little stir on the school run, in the Tesco car park, parked in our road, where Bentleys are rare. Wasn’t admired or envied or even resented. C’mon, people: it’s worth £180,000. Oh yes, $229751.54 is the minimum. But by the time you’ve added a few extras – $9131.36 for a (very) nice stereo, $2030.10 for contrasting stitching, $660.39(!) for a bit of carpet in the boot – it quickly adds up. If I’m… if you, Guardian-reading potential Bentley buyer, are spending that kind of money, you want at least to be noticed, no?
Bentley Flying Spur
Price From $229750
Top speed 200mph
Acceleration 0-60mph in 4.3 seconds
Combined fuel consumption 19mpg
Eco rating 1/10
Cool rating 5/10
This article originally appeared on guardian.co.uk