2020 BMW 7 Series vs. 2018 Bentley Flying Spur

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The 7 Series’ pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Flying Spur doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The 7 Series has standard child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Flying Spur doesn’t offer child safety locks.

The 7 Series has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Flying Spur doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The 7 Series has standard City Collision Mitigation, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Flying Spur doesn't offer collision warning or crash mitigation brakes.

The 7 Series has standard Post-Crash Braking, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Flying Spur doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The 7 Series has standard Active Park Distance Control that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Flying Spur doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

An active infrared night vision system optional on the 7 Series helps the driver to more easily detect people, animals or other objects in front of the vehicle at night. Using an infrared camera and near-infrared lights to detect heat, the system then projects the image on the windshield, near the driver’s line of sight and even aims one of the vehicle’s headlights in the direction of the person or object. The Flying Spur doesn’t offer a night vision system.

The 7 Series’ lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Flying Spur doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

The 7 Series has a standard Surround View to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Flying Spur only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The 7 Series’ blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them and moves the vehicle back into its lane. The Flying Spur doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

To help make backing safer, the 7 Series’ cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Flying Spur doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The 7 Series’ driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Flying Spur doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The 7 Series has standard BMW Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Flying Spur doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the 7 Series and the Flying Spur have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, front and rear parking sensors and available all wheel drive.

Warranty

The 7 Series comes with a full 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Flying Spur’s 3-year basic warranty expires 1 year sooner.

The 7 Series’ corrosion warranty is 9 years longer than the Flying Spur’s (12 vs. 3 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the 7 Series for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Bentley doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Flying Spur.

There are almost 8 times as many BMW dealers as there are Bentley dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the 7 Series’ warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the 7 Series second among large premium cars in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Flying Spur isn’t in the top three in its category.

Engine

The M760i’s 6.6 turbo V12 produces 22 lbs.-ft. more torque (627 vs. 605) than the Flying Spur W12 S’ optional 6.0 turbo 12 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the 745e running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Flying Spur V8 (52 city/61 hwy MPGe vs. 13 city/22 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the 745e running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the Flying Spur V8 (19 city/26 hwy vs. 13 city/22 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the 7 Series gets better fuel mileage than the Flying Spur:

MPG

7 Series

RWD

740i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

AWD

740i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

20 city/28 hwy

750i 4.4 turbo V8

17 city/25 hwy

M760i 6.6 turbo V12

13 city/20 hwy

Flying Spur

AWD

4.0 turbo V8

13 city/22 hwy

6.0 turbo W12

12 city/20 hwy

The 745e can drive on battery power alone for up to 16 miles. The Flying Spur must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regardless of its engine, regenerative brakes improve the 7 Series’ fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. Bentley only offers a regenerative brake system on the Flying Spur V8.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the 7 Series’ engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Flying Spur doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the BMW 7 Series higher (3 out of 10) than the Bentley Flying Spur (1 to 3). This means the 7 Series produces up to 22.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Flying Spur every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

The 7 Series’ launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Flying Spur doesn’t offer launch control.

Tires and Wheels

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the 7 Series can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Flying Spur doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The 7 Series offers active sway bars, which help keep it flat and controlled during cornering, but disconnect at lower speeds to smooth the ride and offer greater off-road suspension articulation. This helps keep the tires glued to the road on-road and off. The Flying Spur doesn’t offer an active sway bar system.

The 7 Series offers an available active suspension system, which counteracts cornering forces actively, limiting body roll and improving handling and stability. Bentley doesn’t offer an active suspension on the Flying Spur.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 7 Series’ wheelbase is 5.7 inches longer than on the Flying Spur (126.4 inches vs. 120.7 inches).

The 750i xDrive handles at .88 G’s, while the Flying Spur W12 pulls only .86 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The 750i xDrive executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Flying Spur W12 (25.4 seconds @ .75 average G’s vs. 26.2 seconds @ .71 average G’s).

Chassis

The BMW 7 Series may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 1100 pounds less than the Bentley Flying Spur.

For excellent aerodynamics, the 7 Series has standard flush composite headlights. The Flying Spur has recessed headlights that spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.

The front grille of the 7 Series uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Flying Spur doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the 7 Series a Large car, while the Flying Spur is rated a Mid-size.

The 7 Series has 12 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Flying Spur (114 vs. 102).

The 7 Series has 1.8 inches more front headroom, .9 inches more rear headroom and 2.2 inches more rear legroom than the Flying Spur.

Cargo Capacity

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the 7 Series’ trunk can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Flying Spur doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

A Condition-Based Service Display is standard on the 7 Series to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes and vehicle inspection based on actual driving conditions. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Bentley doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the Flying Spur.

Ergonomics

The 7 Series offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Flying Spur doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

The 7 Series offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Flying Spur doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the 7 Series detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Flying Spur doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the 7 Series has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Flying Spur doesn’t offer cornering lights.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the 7 Series has standard extendable sun visors. The Flying Spur doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The 7 Series’ power mirror controls are mounted on the armrest for easy access. The Flying Spur’s power mirror controls are on the center console where they can’t be seen without the driver completely removing his eyes from the road.

The 7 Series has a standard heated steering wheel to take the chill out of steering on extremely cold winter days before the car heater warms up. A heated steering wheel costs extra on the Flying Spur.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the BMW 7 Series has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Flying Spur doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

The 7 Series’ Parking Assistant Plus can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. Optional Remote Control Parking will park and retrieve your car remotely: press a button and watch it park itself. This is ideal for tight locations. The Flying Spur doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Model Availability

The 7 Series is available in both rear-wheel drive and all-wheel drive configurations. The Flying Spur doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the BMW 7 Series, based on reliability, safety and performance.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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