Need to haul clients and still want to head out for spirited drives? Then pay attention because Bentley just announced a new model and it’s packed with performance upgrades. They are calling it the Flying Spur V8 S.
If the S model designation sounds familiar, that’s because Bentley added the option to the Continental GT coupé back in 2014. The Flying Spur wasn’t available in S trim. Instead, Bentley brought out an appearance package fun 2015 called the Beluga Edition. That special edition did have a lowered suspension, but was mostly composed of cosmetic changes over the regular Flying Spur V8.
If anybody saw this as an oversight, Bentley has now fixed it. And, interestingly, they’ve addressed performance with mostly software tweaks.
First up is an ECU tune for the engine that increases power by 21 horsepower over the base V8. This puts the 4.0l, twin-turbo closer in output to the 6.0l, twin-turbo W12 Flying Spur, but not as close as Bentley’s engineers allowed last year’s limited edition Continental GT3-R. That car had the same 521 hp as the V8 S models, but was allowed to boost to 590 hp for 15 seconds at a time.
Quicker throttle response is combined with a transmission ECU that been tweaked to allow quicker shifts. Leave the 8-speed in “S” mode for sport and the ZF automatic transmission shifts very quickly and stays out of eighth gear completely for sporty drives.
The car’s all-wheel-drive system delivers power via a 40:60 rear-biased torque split enabling traction on slippery surfaces while allowing a fun rear-drive based feel. The Electronic Stability Control has been tuned to allow increased wheel slip at higher speeds and it restores engine torque quicker after the system has been activated, giving drivers more opportunity to push the car’s performance envelope.
These drivetrain enhancements come without sacrificing fuel economy or emissions, while letting the four-door accelerate from 0 to 60mph in 4.6 seconds. This is an improvement of 0.3 seconds over the standard V8. It’s top speed is 190 mph, which is within earshot of the W12 Flying Spur’s 202mph top speed (not that buyers will ever find a place to achieve those speeds!)
The car needs to handle as well as it accelerates, so Bentley recalibrated the Continuous Damping Control (CDC) system to improve handling. With a lower ride height and improved dampening, the V8 S is ready for an enthusiastic blast through your local canyon.
On its outside, the V8 S gains several subtle, but tasteful styling cues. To help it stand out from the crowd, the Spur V8 S has a special black radiator grille with a unique grill insert and unique rear diffuser to give it an aggressive look.
It also gains special badging and special 20″ wheels. Carbon ceramic brakes are an option with black or red brake calipers. For a more aggressive look, I would specify the optional dark tinted front and rear lights and black mirrors, like the Continental GT V8 S ships with. There is also a Mulliner Driving Spec option for 21″ black and machined wheels.
Open the door on the Spur V8 S and you are greated with special V8 S treadplates. Standard are Piano Black wood veneers with knurled gear lever and shift paddles by Mulliner. The interior color is a unique-to-the-model two-tone seat with a contrasting roof liner. Optionally, “V8 S” can be stitched into the headrests.
For the first time, semi-aniline leather is available in the Flying Spur (V8 S and W12 models only.) Bentley says this is the highest quality hide available in the industry. It comes with straight fluting but as is offered throughout the lineup, a diamond quilted pattern is added when the box is checked for the Mulliner Driving Specification.
The Bentley Flying Spur V8 S will make its global debut at the Geneva Motor Show next month. First customer deliveries begin this summer.