The 2020 Bentley Flying Spur had its first documented crash yesterday afternoon on the Nürburgring Nordschleife as heavy rain and high speed proved to be a killer combo for the opulent saloon.
The crash happened at the beginning of the high-speed Döttinger Höhe section and was apparently caused by the fact that the Bentley test driver came too fast out of the Galgenkopf section and lost control of the $200k+ luxury sedan.
The Flying Spur crashed into the left barrier of the track twice (with both the front and the rear), and a made a 180-degree spin before coming to a halt in the middle of the track. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the accident as both test drivers that were inside the car at that moment emerged unscathed.
We can’t say the same thing about the driver’s ego and the car, which sustained moderate damage on both left-hand corners. The impact also seems to have displaced the hood but overall the Bentley appears to be repairable. It would be interesting to learn what was Bentley testing with this Flying Spur prototype on the Nordschleife since it looks like the model that’s already on sale in some markets and not a high-performance version.
This incident does make me wonder whether Nürburgring testing is really a necessity. Does almost every new car model need to go through the ordeal that is the Nürburgring Nordschleife? Automakers seem to think so but for some vehicles it looks like a waste of time and resources.
Why does a luxury limousine that weighs 2,437 kg (5,372 lbs) need to be quick around the Nordschleife? After all, a Flying Spur will never be taken to a racetrack in real life. Its mission is to pamper the passengers in luxury and tech, provide a silky smooth and quiet ride, and be blisteringly fast on the highway.
There’s nothing wrong with honing a car’s dynamics but for a car like the Bentley Flying Spur that could probably be done in a less punishing environment than the “Green Hell.”