Aesthetically, the Flying Spur doesn’t – for me – have the sporty sexiness of the GT Speed convertible but it does have gravitas. Business associates would be impressed if you rocked up in a Flying Spur and we did get envious stares from Basque farmers who I’m sure would have swapped their tractors for a blast in our V8 S.
Subtle differences in this new V8 S include a black painted lower grille and 20-inch open-spoke painted wheels. Mulliner 21-inch, machined, six-spoke wheels can be added for a premium.
The first half of our 356km route was a lunch stop at Zuberoa – the family-run restaurant helmed by Chef Patron Hilario Arbelaitz. This lush, quiet backwater with unsurpassed service proudly holds a Michelin Star – and we soon saw why.
The tasting menu was a pure palette-explosion that included: Spider crab and prawns ravioli; Lobster, cauliflower and fennel; Egg yolk, foie-gras cream and mushroom emulsion, roasted suckling pig, mashed potatoes and cumin-flavoured fruit compote, followed by divine macerated apricots in amarette and lemon and mint sorbet… and hazelnut crocanti with hot chocolate. No el vino as we were driving, but the wine list looked imaginative and tempting.
Chef Patron Hilario Arbelaitz is a genius with a passion – and very humble. He told me he takes great inspiration from the home cooking of his mother, and his restaurant reflects that nurturing ambience. Operating out of a 600-year-old house, ‘Zuberoa has a pleasant terrace, two private dining areas and an elegantly rustic main dining room. The outstanding cuisine is the perfect marriage of tradition, high-quality ingredients and a splash of creativity that produce dishes that combine flavours with great skill’. The Michelin Guide is spot on.
Fairly rolling out of the restaurant, we continued our drive towards Castillo de Cuzcurrita, our stop for the night. What a feeling to be back in the driving seat. The Flying Spur’s elegant aerodynamics command attention and she tackled the motorway and A-roads with ease. The rear diffusers have been painted in dark gloss, which lends a certain mysterious air, while tinted taillights are another option – to match the headlights. I loved the red-painted callipers, which give the V8 S an almost-gangsta vibe.
The acceleration was exhilarating and overtaking was a dream – and although I didn’t take her to her top speed of 190mph, it was very tempting. Road holding and traction were brilliant.
We tested fast braking, and the grip and stability on the road surfaces (motorway and A-roads) was superb. Torsen all-wheel drive technology effectively manages power distribution to the front and rear axles making for a responsive and safe drive. The uprated V8 S engine may deliver better performance, but this isn’t taken away on fuel consumption. The Flying Spur still covers more than 520 miles (837 km) between fill-ups.
The middle 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system is clear and easy to operate, and there’s a mini-digital info display between the speedo and rev counter to help keep your eyes forward. I didn’t use the manual option or cruise control, but the large paddles behind the steering wheel will give you a semi-automatic experience with permanent all-wheel drive. Space is plentiful in the Flying Spur V8 S. Unless you’re a giraffe most humans of average height will find the back seat supremely comfortable, while the spacious boot easily fits two large suitcases and extras.
Once off the motorway, the twists and turns south from San Sebastian to Rioja Country were spectacular. The route changed with its earthy browns and reds from the A15 to the tree-lined A12 as we climbed into the Parque Natural Urbasa y Andia, affording beautiful views out across the plains from wooded hillsides. The sun was setting slowly, lighting up the panorama with a soft golden hue. A truly beautiful region that needs at least 10 days to properly explore.
We arrived just before dusk at the impressive Castillo de Cuzcurrita in the village of Cuzcurrita de Río Tirón. Its central sandstone tower an impenetrable fortress standing sentinel over the Tempranillo grape vineyards. Our genial hosts, Javier Arias Arias and his team, showed us to our rooms. I wandered out before dinner to explore the 25 hectares of vineyard and gardens. The black juicy orbs were succulent, juicy and minutes from being harvested.
A wine-tasting session with Pinxtos, followed by a tour of the winery (hundreds of barrels) was delightfully relaxing after the day’s 356km drive. We tasted two varieties: the Señorío de Cuzcurrita and the Cerrado Del Castillo. Both were rich, full-bodied and elegant. A perfect entré into dinner – another multi-course Basque extravaganza – held in what may have been the former dungeon (or kitchen). Not remotely eerie, until a bat emerged from a tiny hole in the sandstone walls and did a flypast over our table. Clearly, it had smelt the wonderful food.
The sun rose late the following day, our breath visible in the crisp air. We took the cars for a video shoot in the stunning Rioja landscapes – a perfect backdrop for the elegant Flying Spur V8 S. This was my first visit to the region and I fell in love with its inviting landscapes. What a memorable 48 hours in great company and an iconic Bentley motor car.
My suggestion to Flying Spur V8 S owners who prefer the back seat? Ditch your chauffeur and escape on a road trip one weekend. This beautiful beast will take you anywhere
maybe even a Spanish castle.
- Price: Basic Flying Spur V8 S is £154,500. Extras take the price to £178,500.
- Colours: Ice/Onyx/Anthracite/Blue Crystal/Dark Cashmere
- Engine: 4.0 litre V8 S twin-turbocharged. Also available in V8 and 6-litre W12 versions
- Emission level: EU6
- Consumption: 10,9 l/100km
- CO2-Emission: 254 g/km
- Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic
- Max Power: 388 kW / 528 PS
- Max Torque: 680 Nm
Some of the many Key Extras
- Naim for Bentley
- Contrast Stitching
- 21″ Six Twin Spoke Alloy Wheel – Black Machined
- Digital TV Tuner – ROW
- Veneered Picnic Tables with Vanity Mirrors
- Chrome Inlay to Door Waistrails
How and Where
Bentley Motors Limited
Pyms Lane, Crewe, Cheshire, CW1 3PL, England
+44 (0) 1270 255 155
Castillo de Cuzcurrita
Calle San Sebastián 1
26214 Cuzcurrita de Río Tirón, La Rioja, Spain
T: +34 941 32 80 22
20180 Oiartzun, Spain
T: +34 943 491 228