Buy a Bentley and you’re getting a unique brand like no other. You’ll need to have deep pockets, but rest assured it will be well worth it, says Kate Ginn
They say: “The world’s best luxury sedan” We say: “Elegance and power”
In life, as we know, premium costs. If you want the best of something, whatever it may be, you have to pay for it, the price usually being large amounts of your hard-earned cash. Bentley wants to help you out. Or rather they have produced a smaller engine version of the Flying Spur – a four-door version of company’s Continental GT coupe – in a bid to bring a bit of luxury to a wider audience by making it cheaper and thus more accessible. Now, when I say it’s less expensive, it’s still going to set you back a huge whack. It is a Bentley after all.
On its website, Bentley Oman states that the price of the Flying Spur V8 is “on application”, i.e. if you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it. We did a bit of research and found that the V8 costs £136,000 in the UK, which equates to about RO84,200, give or take the odd rial. It’s an awful lot of money, but then it buys you an awful lot of car.
Each Bentley is lovingly produced at the company factory in Crewe, a small town in the North West of England, by experienced craftsmen, who make practically every inch of a Flying Spur’s interior by hand. And boy what an interior it is, with hand-stitched, butter-soft leather and lacquered wood finishes, all sweeping lines and gorgeous curves. It’s all achingly high-end plush, as you would expect for the price, and packed to the brim with gadgets. There’s a touch screen for the driver, incorporating a navigation system, which has a very snazzy remote control.
The rear passengers aren’t forgotten either, with two 10-inch screens, along with DVD players, while an optional 11-speaker surround-sound stereo system will blast your music loud enough to be heard across the border in Dubai. The seats are pretty cool, too. These can be set to either massage mode or chilled depending on your mood, making them perfect for those brutal Omani summers. The legroom is generous and there’s plenty of space in the back for the chauffeured executive who values the room to spread out their work to and from meetings. For those with a few more rials to spare, you can always opt for the Mulliner specification, which offers personalised styling.
Outside, the Spur is equally impressive with a leaner, more agile look than beefier models. For a big machine, the Flying Spur still manages to look elegant, although weighing in at a hefty 2.5 tonnes, it’s anything but lightweight. Despite the size, this car is no slouch and can hit 100kmh from a standing start in a blistering 5.2 seconds thanks to those twin turbochargers. The alloy wheels lend it a sporty air and to mark it out as a V8, the famous Bentley winged badge has been given a red centre. It looks muscular and, with those unique twin figure-of-eight exhausts, it’s definitely a car that means business on and off the road.
This is all well and good, but what’s the drive like, you may ask. Well, there’s an undoubted sense of refinement as you go along, cocooned in all this luxury, a feeling of owning the road without being too brash about it. While the Flying Spur V8’s big brother, the W12, has a meaty six litres, making it the fastest four-door Bentley, the smaller car certainly doesn’t sit in its shadow.
Where it does disappoint a little, however, as some reviews have picked up, is a ride that is not quite as smooth as one might expect. Lumps and bumps on the road make it through to the occupants, where you might have hoped that the cushioning would be good enough to ensure otherwise. Personally, I would want my Bentley to glide along the road without a hint of Oman’s sometimes challenging roads felt.
Still, if your heart is set on a Flying Spur, it’s not a deal breaker. It may just take you a bit of time to decide which one of the 100 body colours you will choose when ordering. Such are the quandaries facing a Bentley owner.