2009 Bentley Continental Flying Spur Speed

Don Sherman

Every seat in the house is firmly bolstered to hold overfed occupants in place when the twenty-inch Pirelli PZero radials, fortified suspension components, and four-position dampers swing into action. For an extra $16,500, you get the largest-diameter carbon-ceramic brake rotors fitted to any automobile. Their stopping power and fade resistance are prodigious, but the machined-aluminum pedal in charge suffers from a slippery surface and mushy feel. There's insufficient pressure buildup before the ABS engages with a disruptive shudder.

Instead of decorating the exterior with vulgar Speed badges, Bentley provides only subtle hints that this car is something special: a lower ride height, black-chrome grilles, twenty-six-spoke wheels providing a good look at the monster brakes, and subtly rippled exhaust tips. Those lucky enough to enter are greeted with Speed-labeled doorsills, diamond-quilted leather seats and door panels, and a knurled-chrome shift lever. A $6900 Naim Audio sound system pumps 1100 watts of cultured entertainment through fifteen speakers.

Assuming your driving record and your wallet can handle the strain of owning this 200-mph limousine, it would be wise to not dither about expressing your need for the Speed. Approximately 450 copies are destined for America, and every last sports superstar and Hollywood swell will want one.

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