Tour­ing by Bent­ley is as good as it gets

Macclesfield Express - - MOTORING -

ACOU­PLE of weeks ago I had the chance to take Her In­doors on a long week­end to stay in an ‘ex­ec­u­tive’ beach hut in Devon. My dilemma was: What would be the per­fect car for such a trip?

We were also tak­ing my sis­ter-in-law and her hus­band so it would have to seat four in com­fort for the five-hour each way drive plus have a de­cent amount of lug­gage space as we were stay­ing self­ca­ter­ing.

Then it came to me – Bent­leys were first con­ceived as grand tour­ers for whisk­ing the well-heeled to the French Riviera in luxury. Devon is some­times de­scribed as the English Riviera so I got those nice peo­ple at Bent­ley to loan me a Fly­ing Spur so we too would be trav­el­ling in luxury... although I def­i­nitely don’t qual­ify on the well-heeled bit.

Bent­leys have al­ways had an im­age that other car mak­ers can only aspire to – James Bond ac­tu­ally drives a Bent­ley, not an As­ton Martin, in the orig­i­nal Ian Flem­ing books and any­one, like me, old enough to have seen the orig­i­nal 1960s TV se­ries The Avengers will re­call John Steed – one of the coolest char­ac­ters in that cool decade – drove a Bent­ley as well (mind you his black, rac­ing-spec XJC in the New Avengers a few years later was su­per-cool too).

Then there were the leg­endary Le Mans suc­cesses of the 1920s and again in the early noughties, so it is no sur­prise that Bent­leys are now in huge de­mand around the world and en­joy­ing record sales.

Made not too far away from us in Crewe, some 3,700 peo­ple turn out over 10,000 cars a year with the ma­jor­ity help­ing spread the fame of Bri­tish de­sign and crafts­man­ship around the world through 200 deal­ers in 54 coun­tries.

Bent­ley’s big­gest mar­kets are in the USA, China and the Mid­dle East – with Rus­sia com­ing up fast on the out­side.

Our test Fly­ing Spur V8 was only launched with its eight-cylin­der power plant at last year’s Moscow mo­tor show, sell­ing along­side its more pow­er­ful, but heav­ier, W12-en­gined stable­mate and both in the re­vised body style un­veiled in 2013.

As you would ex­pect for a ba­sic £136,000 price tag, it’s a good look­ing car from ev­ery an­gle, lux­u­ri­ous in­side and fast – 0-60 in 4.9 sec­onds (0-100 in a shade over 11!) from a 4.0-litre twin turbo, 500-bhp V8 – with a top speed of 183mph.

Our test car also had an eye-wa­ter­ing £44,750 worth of ex­tras in­clud­ing £10,610 ce­ramic brakes, a £5,720 ‘Pre­mium’ au­dio sys­tem and a spe­cial paint fin­ish adding an­other £4,200.

Now I know you are think­ing only the well-heeled could af­ford the fuel for a jaunt to Devon in a Fly­ing Spur but Bent­ley claim this 17-foot long, near three-ton piece of au­to­mo­tive art can do al­most 35mpg on a run, so the idea was to put that to the test – as well as waft­ing along in to­tal luxury.

And I have to re­port that the car’s trip com­puter in­deed showed 35mpg when cruis­ing on mo­tor­ways at the legal limit. In fact, for the 600-mile plus round trip, af­ter start­ing with a full tank, we only put in an­other £80 worth of su­per un­leaded and had a third of a tank left at the end of the long week­end – im­pres­sive and sur­pris­ing.

Not that your av­er­age mil­lion­aire or en­tre­pre­neur Bent­ley owner will prob­a­bly be trou­bled by the cost of fuel but it shows how all mo­tor man­u­fac­tur­ers are now try­ing their best to con­serve our dwin­dling stocks of the black stuff.

The Fly­ing Spur, as you would ex­pect for a Bent­ley, does ev­ery­thing su­perbly and in style with all the toys you can think of – in­clud­ing all-round heated mas­sage seats in sump­tu­ous leather!

And if you want to know how good it is waft­ing through sunny Il­fra­combe in a £180,000 Bent­ley… well it’s about as good as it gets.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.