Bentley is following a very specific formula with its new-vehicle launches these days. Step one: Reveal a high-dollar, highly-luxurious car (or SUV) with the brand’s unique twin-turbo W-12 engine under the hood; step two: wait a year; and step three: add a twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 to the mix as a lower-cost, lighter-weight option. It, therefore, should come as no surprise that Bentley has just announced the latest Flying Spur, introduced last year, will gain a new entry-level twin-turbo V-8 engine option for the coming 2021 model year, to be named, predictably, the Flying Spur V-8.
The V-8 is the now familiar (for followers of the Volkswagen Group) twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter unit you get in cars as varied as the Audi RS6, Porsche Panamera Turbo, and Bentley’s own Continental GT (the Flying Spur’s two-door sibling). In the Flying Spur, the V-8’s output isn’t as high as in some of those other models, though the V-8 still kicks out 542 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of torque. All of that twist is available at less than 2,000 rpm, too, and Bentley says the big, luxurious Flying Spur V-8 is good for a 4.0 second 0-60 mph run and will top out at 198 mph.
Those figures trail those of the 626-hp Flying Spur W-12, which reaches 60 mph in a claimed 3.7 seconds and is capable of 207 mph. But, c’mon. The “slower” V-8 model will still be one of the fastest sedans in the world, and the smaller engine comes with other dynamic benefits. According to Bentley, the Flying Spur V-8 is nearly 220 pounds lighter than the W-12 model. It still weighs over 5,000 pounds, but as with the Continental GT’s V-8 variant, we suspect much of that weight savings is scooped out of the Spur’s nose, which should bring improvements in the handling department.
As you might imagine, having four fewer cylinders underhood also bumps fuel efficiency slightly. The V-8-powered Flying Spur can go up to 400 miles on a single tank of fuel thanks to cylinder deactivation under light loads and, well, less weight to lug around. The Flying Spur can shut off half of its cylinders in just 20 milliseconds, just a tenth of the time it takes to blink. Not only does this mean more miles to the gallon, but it also means a reduction in CO2 emissions.
You can spot a Flying Spur V-8 by its black exterior accents and quad exhaust setup—the W-12 car has two massive ovals instead of the four smaller ones seen here. There’s no word yet on price, but you can expect the V-8 to be less expensive than the W-12 car. For an idea of what kind of discount you might see, the two-door Continental GT V-8 is almost $16,000 less than the W-12 model. Sure, you can’t brag about spending the maximum dough possible on Bentley’s sleek Flying Spur sedan—now its only sedan—but we think customers will be just as pleased by the V-8 as the larger W-12 engine, if for different reasons.