Bentley Unveils Its Final Gas-Powered Sedan, and It’s a Head Turner

Brett Berk
·3 min read

With a 542-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V8 engine packed into its ample prow, Bentley’s new $200,000 Flying Spur V8 is a super-sedan. Despite a two-and-a-half-ton weight, this stunner is capable of blasting from zero to 60 in just four seconds, reaching speeds of nearly 200 m.p.h. It is also the brand’s last production four-door car to feature a purely gasoline-fueled power train.

Since its founding over 100 ago, the Flying-B brand has been known for stately sedans powered by some of the world’s largest, most potent, and most decadent 8- and 12-cylinder gasoline engines. These motors have put out unconscionable amounts of power to fulfill Bentley’s mission of being the British ultra-luxury car you actually drive (rather than the one in which you are driven). These include the famed 8.0-liter sedans of the 1920s, the R-Types of the 1950s, the S1/2/3 cars of the 1960s, the Turbo R cars of the 1980s, and the Arnages and Mulsannes of the 2000s and 2010s.

The luxe interiors of a Bentley have been a staple of the brand, with the latest iteration being no exception.
The luxe interiors of a Bentley have been a staple of the brand, with the latest iteration being no exception.

But with the recent discontinuation of the glorious Mulsanne limousine, the Flying Spur becomes Bentley’s only four-door car. And with the brand’s even more recent announcement that it will shift all vehicle production to electrification—first to plug-in hybrids in the middle of this decade, and then to full battery power by 2030—it will be the last Bentley sedan to be powered solely by a gasoline engine, ending more than a century of tradition.

As someone who has spent more than their share of time behind the wheel of Bentley four-doors, I can attest that the Flying Spur honors that tradition, in all of its outrageous profligacy. The model I test drove recently through upstate New York was priced at $280,000, which meant that it was outfitted with $80,000 in options—a surfeit of add-ons equal to the price of a nice Maserati Ghibli.

The starting price for this Bentley is $280,000.
The starting price for this Bentley is $280,000.

These included an $8,900 Naim stereo, a $7,700 all-wheel-steering system that allows the 17.5-foot behemoth to maneuver around parking lots like a Volkswagen GTI, a $6,500 center display that rotates like the license plate on a James Bond Aston Martin, a $5,000 illuminated Flying-B hood ornament that power retracts into the hood like a vampire into his coffin as dawn approaches, and a $2,750 mood lighting package that lights up the car’s foot wells like a ’70s roller rink.

When I finally parked the car in my driveway, it was the beginning of yet another winter snowstorm, and the next morning, the Bentley ended up rimed in ice, like some ancient scarab preserved in amber—an amulet. This seemed fitting for a car that will represent the last of its breed. But the terminus of any timeline is the beginning of another. And the silent, refined, instant-on thrust that electrification offers, along with its status-conferring cutting edge tech, seems a perfect fit for an exclusive sporting vehicle like a Flying Spur, and something intriguing, necessary, and overdue for the Earth.

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest