Monte-carlo Home of the rich and famous.
People with wealth can be the first who adopts new trends, but they can also hold on to some traditional notions the rest of the world has moved on from mechanical watches, fountain pens, riding horses, all used to be the only way of doing certain things, but now are reserved for connoisseurs collectors.
Those who can afford the higher prices they now all fetch.
And were regular people buying cars are starting to really turn their backs on the humble saloon car in favor of SUVs and crossovers.
When you go further up the luxury chain to the more expensive manufacturers Well, they're still making them Cars in fact, like this, a new Bentley flying spirit which is waving the flag for the traditional three box for door shape.
The modern incarnation of the Flying Spirit came to us not that long after the Continental GT came back, so about 14 years ago, but for the first two generations, the flying spur always felt like Well basically just a stretch Continental GT.
But now for this Bentley tells us in the third generation, we've completely overhauled it pulled all the best parts of all the other cars and put it into something truly special.
Different, something perhaps less fashionable but nonetheless, exquisite.
Now you could be forgiven for having kind of forgotten about the Flying Spur.
It's not as big as the full-on limousine Mulsanne, but it's longer and has more room in the backseats than the GT does.
It does feel like they've gone to a lot of effort to make this car visually stand out from park.
And there's a much greater difference now between the Flying Spur and the GT than there ever has been.
This feels a lot more well-proportioned.
The stance is better.
The power line down the side is crisp and sharp.
Those Bentley haunches are there and they give it some real presence.
It's also the least shouty of all the Bentley's the most subdued in presence, the least flashy, it's a handsome ride, but far more likely to quietly slide through traffic without drawing too much attention to itself.
And with the newly restyled flying bee being able to be retracted into the bonnet.
You can turn this into a legitimate kill car.
At the heart of it all is a very familiar beast indeed.
Up front, there's Bentley's very own six liter W2 engine, the same as in the Continental GT.
Although Bentley do make a great V8, the way the W12 delivers power is still to me the only way to have your Bentley.
0 to 60 comes in just 3.7 seconds, and if you find road long enough it will get all the way up to 207 miles.
The gearbox is the same set FHV to juice plus units that the Continental GT has, which has been lifted from Porsche.
Think of it as a transplanted PTK.
And while I enjoyed the previous torque converters that if gearbox in the previous generation if you're going to find a new jewel clutch gearbox.
Then the Porsche PDK seems the best place to go.
It's not just the gearbox, though.
The chassis has also been developed from that time to Panamera making those cars brothers from other mothers and frankly, I'm okay with that.
There's now 626 brake horsepower on offer and a whopping 644 pounds feet of.
Sure, that huge amount torque that the car now has can almost feel like too much torque is great when you're going for an overtake and you just want to go from 60 to 80 miles an hour.
That's fine but off the line.
My word this thing packs a punch considering how heavy this car is.
is really quite impressive.
Can you three chamber else.
Suspension allows the car to have a much greater variety of driving modes in terms of comfort or performance, and you can kind of dial in with the Bentley control dial into how you want it.
But keep in Bentley mode, their recommended automatic mode, and you do get a nice balance of absorbing The bumps and keeping you from rolling.
Obviously it's got the same 48 volt answer all system that we first saw on Ben Tigger, and is now on the new Continental GT as well.
Now in normal driving conditions, it's soft and serene and comfortable.
And BH is limited to an absolute bare minimum and.
And It's a very serene place to be but if you need to go for an overtake or anything like that plant your foot, that wave of torque just gets quite scary quite quickly.
There is no disguising.
The Flying spurs wait though and especially once you get up to speed, you do notice that there is some heft to put about.
The brakes are good enough that they can stop you dead.
It's the biggest steel brakes fitted to any car in the world.
Although the power is only up a small amount in this car, the huge amount of extra torque, new suspension system, new gearbox all ties together to making this a huge leap forward for the Flying Spur.
As a driver's car it feels very similar to the new Continental GT, which is high praise indeed.
The new cylinder deactivation technology makes it more economical on long journeys, to add to the serene comfort and ease driving.
When you get to a more challenging stretch of road, you're rewarded with a much more engaging drone.
Drive, it's perhaps slightly less direct on the steering them Continental GT but the similarities on handling are noticeable.
The extra length of the flying spa over the Conti is actually offset by rear wheel steer Which really does make you forget how long the car actually is and massively improves handling.
Obviously the Bently driving experience is maintained in this as you would expect so everything you touch everything you see Everything you smell is amazing.
This is genuine Bentley leather.
They may go for vegan options in future, But for now, whenever you buy a Bentley, it's clad with seven or more bowls worth of leather.
And as an optional extra in this car, we've got 3D leather.
Which at a glance looks like it's quilted and padded that is actually this firm stuff in the door.
The metal surfaces have got these tactile neural fields to it every stock every dial, everything feels great to the touch.
The Flying spur provides three separate kind of experiences.
There's driving it as an owner driving the car As a chauffeur where you've got passengers who you want to ferry around the comfort, and then there's the experience of being a passenger, and you want to be able to enjoy all the luxuries that the car has to offer and the flying spur managers to tick all of those boxes.
The single biggest difference between the flying spare and the Continental GT is this right here the backseat where's the GT is technically a two plus two, the flying spare plenty of room and not just room comfort in abundance.
See, these headrests are some of the most comfortable things you could ever hope to lay your head on.
And just you instantly want to nap.
The control systems that you have this new injectable remote control here.
Press the check button should come gently out to me.
There, they're nice nifty feels a little bit like a very high end mobile phone Allows me to control the media, the seats, I can slide the passenger seat in front of me forward to give myself even more leg room.
I can control the blinds just an extra way of being able to control the car.
One of the coolest things is this gives me control over the flying beat.
In the front of the car, I can either raise or lower it and the animation will show me.
It happening right there.
Which is good because from here I can't actually see the flying be now in the hands of us.
Skilled chauffeured, this seat back here can be one of the most comfortable places to be in the world.
If you have a spirited driver, in the driver's seat however, because you're so far back in the car, it can feel like you're being thrown around a little bit.
So that improved handling on challenging roads you get as the driver can potentially come at a cost to your rear seat passengers.
Drive it yourself or hire a great chauffeur.
And that's it, the flying spirit does have supercar like credentials in terms of its acceleration, and its top speed.
It seems a bit of a cliche, but we were doing some.
Thinking, it's actually faster to 60 then a Lamborghini Murcielago, it's got a higher top speed than a Ferrari 599 and it's better looking than me.
So it drives pretty much like a Continental GT and has similar practicality to Ben Tigger.
So why go for the flying spot?
While the world is turning its back on saloons.
Why should someone still fight the types of fashion?
A saloon car has got that executive vibe about it.
Someone who knows their worth and knows how important they are but doesn't need to shout about it quite so loud.
So why would you pick this over something like a Ben Tigger, which I think is a far more valid comparison And comparing it to another saloon car because really, Ben the customers are going to be making that choice been take a super popular you're going to see loads of the mountain the road.
Maybe that's reason enough to go with a saloon car.
Be different, be old fashioned, stand out It's like dressing like a dandy.
It's something that used to get done an awful lot but now allows you to be a little bit different from the rest.
In terms of practicality yes the Bentega might have a slightly more boot space, if you fold the seats down if you have the You can get a little bit more it.
And yes, it has more ground clearance.
I will not accept the ability for it to go off road.
As a feature that you'd make your mind up on.
Because frankly, who has ever seen a Ben take off road?
The Flying Spur shows us that not only are saloon cars not dead.
They can still be some of the best drivers cars in the world.
Let the masses indulge themselves in oceans of SUVs.
For those who really know the value of a great car rides like the flying spur.
Will be waiting in the wings.