A decade ago, it would’ve been hard to imagine a little bit of coin mined by computers would have ever amounted to anything. If you did buy some Bitcoin 10 years ago and you’re still holding onto it, you may be in the market for a new Bentley. All of those Bitcoin millionaires may be contributing to Bentley’s best global sales year in the history of the brand.
Starting at $199,725 (or a $4 Bitcoin buy in April 2011), the new Flying Spur comes with Bentley’s twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8, an engine shared with a number of other vehicles in the Volkswagen Group, including the Audi RS7, Lamborghini Urus, and Porsche Cayenne Turbo. In the Bentley sedan, the engine makes 542 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque, numbers that are short of the optional 626-hp twin-turbo W-12. But the V-8 Flying Spur we tested is 86 pounds lighter than the Spur with the 12, barely gives up any acceleration, and manages to avoid the W-12’s $1100 gas-guzzler tax. Going for the V-8 also saves $24,400, although it’s possible that the price difference won’t faze these newly minted millionaires.
What does matter is this: The Flying Spur has a shockingly great launch-control system. Simply select Sport mode, stomp the brake and accelerator to the plush carpet, and then release the brake while keeping the gas pinned. The all-wheel-drive Bentley surges forward. Vertebrae imprint the Cumbrian Green leather, a hue that appears to have been inspired by a platoon of toy soldiers. Launch after launch, the powertrain swallows the abuse. You’d think the axle half shafts might explode, but they don’t. The biggest threat is to the 50-year-old Scotch that might be stowed in the rear-seat compartment. Of course, there’s an available refrigerator as well. Be sure to secure your precious cargo.
The Flying Spur V-8 catapults to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, matching the W-12’s time. Stay in it and the eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission snaps through the gears on its way to a 12.0-second quarter-mile at 115 mph, a mere 0.3 second and 5 mph behind the W-12. Top speed is a claimed 198 mph. For roughly the cost of a base Honda Accord, the W-12’s premium makes little sense, unless exclusivity is important. In that case, we’re informed by Bentley that only 14 percent of the Spurs sent stateside will be equipped with the W-12.
A common perception is that the Bentley lifestyle is one where you’re chauffeured around, and while it is possible to adjust the interior’s ambient lighting from the massive rear seat, the best Bentley experience happens behind the wheel. Along the interstates, the Flying Spur floats like a yacht skimming a calm sea. Serene and supple, like one would expect a Bentley to be, only the most uncouth tarmac trips up the 22-inch wheels, and even then the hits are more audible than felt. A purring V-8 in the distance and the slightest whisps of wind remind you the outside world still exists.
True to Bentley’s racing heritage, the Flying Spur has the uncanny ability to transform from a rolling day spa to a five-star amusement ride. In addition to the engine, a lot of the chassis tech borrows from Porsche, Audi, and Lamborghini. The steering feels as if it’s been plucked right from a proper sports sedan, and the $7730 Bentley Dynamic Ride option comes with 48-volt active anti-roll bars that keep the body Nebraska flat. Rear steering both shrinks this 209.3-inch car in parking lots, and it also stabilizes the rear end in corners. Lean into this 5474-pound beast and it dances. Even on all-season rubber, the Flying Spur stuck to the skidpad to the tune of 0.94 g, and the rear-biased all-wheel-drive system will even allow you to partake in lurid drifts that’ll have you grinning from ear to ear. When it’s time to stop the madness, 10-piston calipers clamp down on huge 16.5-inch front rotors that can bring the Spur to a halt from 70 mph in a respectable 168 feet.
After a few hundred miles in the Flying Spur V-8, we’re wishing that we had a better understanding of cryptocurrency. What we do know is how easily the Bentley adapted us to the one-percenter lifestyle. We’re snapped back to reality by the $65,840 list of options that brought the Spur’s total ask to an as-tested $265,565. That would have required an initial dollar of Bitcoin investment 10 years ago, or $5 total.
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