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First Test: 2010 Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed


Any company that names its performance models "Speed" is just fine by us, especially when it's not just marketing hype. The Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed is quite a mouthful, but in this case it's an entirely accurate description. With its 6.0-liter, twin-turbo W-12 engine tuned to deliver 48 more horses and 74 additional lb.-ft. than the regular BENTLEY CONTINENTAL Flying Spur (it also gets retuned suspension and sticky Pirelli P Zero tires on 20-in. rims), the CFS Speed is a car that will hit a genuine 200 mph on the autobahn while barely breaking a sweat.

Yes, the Bentley's sheer, um, speed is astonishing. And there's nothing wrong with its acceleration, either. The 0-60 mph sprint is dispatched in just 4.2 sec., and the quarter-mile in 12.9 sec. at 106.7 mph. Pretty impressive for a sedan weighing a stout 5482 lb. Part of the reason is the herculean W-12 under that stubby hood. Nailing the gas is like opening the floodgates of the Hoover dam; you surf an irresistible surge of thrust as the CFS lunges for the far horizon. But the Bentley's all-wheel-drive system -- unique among super-luxury sedans -- also makes sure every last one of the CFS Speed's 600 horses and 553 lb.-ft. of torque gets to the pavement.

 But what's really impressive about this car is its chassis. Like their counterparts at Porsche, Bentley's chassis engineers seem determined to build a car that defies the laws of physics. The CFS Speed grips and steers and punches through turns almost like a sport sedan. True, it works its front tires very hard, and the AWD layout robs the steering of some clarity, but after an exhilaratingly fast run along a canyon road you get out of the CFS Speed shaking your head and grinning like a loon at the sheer implausibility of what you've just done. No car this big, this heavy, this luxurious should be this good in the twisties.

Setting the CFS Speed's suspension in comfort or normal modes caramel-coats the road impacts from the sports-oriented tires without diluting the precision of their responses. Sport mode makes the ride noticeably busier, and generates some noise through the steering during hard cornering, but keeps the body nicely tied down. The big Bentley tracks like a bullet train on the freeway, even in gusty crosswinds, regardless of the suspension setting.

(Source)


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