Although mid-corner potholes could upset the Flying Spur…
The first ‘sporty’ Rolls-Royce packed an impressive punch but fell short of German rivals
The first turbocharged Roller and also the first with sporting pretensions, the Spur was outrageously expensive but won us over with pace and plushness.
Based on the naturally aspirated Silver Spur, the Flying Spur borrowed the Bentley Turbo R’s turbocharged 16-valve V8, which, with 552lb ft, was the world’s torquiest production engine at the time. It put the Flying Spur on performance terms with competitors such as the Mercedes S600 up to 100mph, despite the Roller’s 2387kg bulk. If anything, the Garrett blower improved refinement, while the four-speed auto ’box upshifted smoothly and kicked down briskly. Brakes worked well but were prone to fade.
With stiffer springs, dampers and anti-roll bars plus wider tyres, the Flying Spur handled and gripped with a new-found agility among Rolls-Royces. But it still fell short of German rivals, and mid-corner potholes could upset the chassis under duress. The steering was also too light when changing direction.
The ride was mostly cossetting in the extreme and dovetailed beautifully with the spacious, indulgently trimmed cabin, but big ridges and cat’s-eyes brought judders and thumps. Poorly placed, old-hat switchgear irked us, too, and economy of 10.9mpg was laughable.
For: Pace, cabin space, comfort and exclusivity
Against: Price, top speed, economy, ride over potholes
What happened next?
Just 133 Flying Spurs were built before production ended in 1995. The Silver Spur became turbocharged for its final run and was then replaced by the Silver Seraph in 1998, which used an atmospheric BMW V12. The Flying Spur name was revived for a saloon by Volkswagen-owned Bentley in 2005 and the model is now in its third generation.
Price £148,545 Engine V8, 6750cc, turbo, petrol Power 360bhp at 4200rpm Torque 552lb ft at 2000rpm 0-60mph 6.9sec 0-100mph 21.0sec Standing quarter mile 15.5sec at 90mph Top speed 130mph Economy 10.9mpg