Buying Guide

2012 Bentley Continental

MSRP $212,800 GTC Convertible


11 City / 19 Hwy

Horse Power:

567 @ 6000


516 @ 1700

The Continental Flying Spur sedan is a long-wheelbase version of the Continental GT coupe and convertible. Unlike those two-door models, which have just been redone, the Flying Spur is still based on the first-generation Continental, which dates to 2003. Bentley is in no particular hurry to update the Flying Spur because it still sells quite well, and truth be told, it still looks great, even if the much newer, much more expensive, much more exclusive, and much more over-the-top Mulsanne has overshadowed it as the ultimate Bentley sedan. The all-wheel-drive Flying Spur’s claim to fame is that it manages, like all Bentleys, to overcome the laws of physics. It’s a large and heavy (5380 pound) sedan that summons the forces produced by its mighty twin-turbocharged W-12 engine to propel itself to speeds that would do any lightweight, carbon-fiber supercar proud: 194 mph in the Flying Spur and an incredible 200 mph in the Flying Spur Speed. With a sumptuous and spacious cabin that’s lined with richly detailed leather, wood inlays, and lamb’s wool carpets, this effectively means that the Flying Spur is a $200,000, 200-mph living room. We consider that to be quite an achievement. We suspect one of the reasons the Flying Spur is so popular is that it is actually fairly discreet. Unlike the Mulsanne, which screams, “I’m rich,” to anyone who so much as glances at it, the Flying Spur can slip through traffic largely unnoticed; many people perceive it as just an anonymous big fancy car and have no idea that it costs twice as much as a Mercedes-Benz S-Class.

Drive: 4-wheel
Trim levels: Flying Spur, Flying Spur Speed
Body style: Sedan, 4- or 5-passenger
Engine: 6.0L twin-turbo W-12, 552/600 hp,
479/553 lb-ft (E85 capable)
Transmission: 6-speed automatic
Passenger volume: N/A
Cargo space: 16.7 cu ft

An all-new, state-of-the-art navigation and entertainment system with a 30-gig hard drive and an eight-inch touch screen means the Flying Spur now has navigation, phone, and audio capabilities on par with those in cars costing one-tenth the price, which wasn’t the case in 2011. Series 51, Bentley’s “innovative and exclusive range of recommended combinations created by Bentley’s color and trim designers,” is newly available for $9070.

Front, side, and side curtain air bags; traction and stability control; ABS; and a tire-pressure monitoring system are standard. Precollision warning (part of the active cruise-control system) and a backup camera are optional.

All: 10 mpg city/17 mpg highway

  • As fast as a bullet train
  • As comfy as your living room
  • Surprisingly discreet
  • Getting old
  • Heavy and thirsty
  • Expensive

The 200-mph, leather-upholstered living room.

  • Aston Martin Rapide
  • Maserati Quattroporte
  • Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG
  • Rolls-Royce Ghost

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