Bentley's newest hybrid doesn't trade power for efficiency.
Bentley, like many other automakers, is planning to sell only EVs by the end of this decade. But before those electric vehicles land, we still have a few models that need to be electrified. The Flying Spur sedan was one of those until July, when the company introduced the hybrid model of its flagship sedan.
The Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid will feature one powertrain option, pulled from the Porsche engine shop, and will be able to cover 700 km (435 miles) on one tank of fuel and one full battery. It will be faster than the Bentayga Hybrid and more powerful.
The Flying Spur Hybrid is the next step in Bentley's Beyond100 plan to eventually go carbon neutral, but only features subtle exterior hybrid badges, no crazy green leaves, or fan blade wheels. Customer orders will start this summer, and deliveries are due before the end of the year.
The Flying Spur Hybrid features a hybrid badge on the lower front fender, on the quad-oval tailpipes at the rear, and on the covered charging point. It does get its own special wheels, but they're not weird aerodynamic specials like we've seen on other hybrids and EVs.
The new Spur offers seven paint colors as standard, but this is Bentley. If those don't work, you can look at its range of 60 exclusive colors from Mulliner or a personal commission. Bentley is also offering the Blackline Specification that darkens all the brightwork including the Flying B radiator mascot, which also retracts.
Inside, we're looking at the usual Bentley greatness of diamond double-stitched leather, shiny wood trim with layers of clear lacquer for depth, as well as chrome and jeweled knobs and levers. Buyers have the choice of five leather colors with Bentley's 'Wing' theme across the lower console and fascia. If that's not enough, the Color Specification option adds 10 more colors and two duo-tone interior configurations.
The newest Bentley gets Porsche power for its hybrid model. The 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 makes 410 hp and 406 lb-ft on its own. That's supplemented by an electric motor located between the transmission and engine. It adds up to 134 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque when necessary, reducing the lag normally associated with turbo engines. A 14.1-kWh battery powers that electric motor and according to Bentley can be charged to 100% in about 2.5 hours.
Those two turbos (and the primary catalytic convertors) are set inside the V of the engine, while Bentley says that the fuel injectors and spark plugs have been centralized in the combustion chamber to ensure optimal air/fuel ratios.
All of that combined gets you to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, just a tenth slower than the Flying Spur V8, and on to a top speed of 177 mph. The total system output is 536 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque.
Like many of the new crop of EVs, the Flying Spur Hybrid gets special driving modes to save, charge or use the battery. This way you tailor your experience to exactly what you need, and where you need it. We don't pay to drive ICE cars in city centers yet, but there are places in the world where you do. This could qualify for a discount.
EV Drive is the main mode and is engaged as soon as the car is started. It keeps the engine off as long as possible. Bentley says this mode is ideal for city driving and shorter journeys. Hybrid uses both the engine and motor to maximize efficiency. It uses data from the nav system and predictive software to use the engine when necessary but shut it off when it's not.
"Inputting a destination, the car will automatically engage the correct Drive Mode for each part of the journey, constantly calculating the most efficient use of battery charge and storing electrical energy for sections of the journey where it is most useful - such as when arriving in the city," says Bentley
Hold is the final mode and keeps the battery charged if you need or want to use it later. It's the default setup when in sport mode and provides constant boost and recuperation.
The Spur comes with its own SIM chip, which means customers don't have to use their own data from their phone. A selection of remote services are automatically updated, but if you really want the full experience you'll have to get the My Bentley app. There you can use features like "find my car" and "lock my car," among other things.
My Car Statistics provides all of your vehicle data. You can look up your recent trips, how green they were, how long they took, and more. My Battery Charge lets you initiate charging from anywhere, provided your car is already plugged in. This could be used to select your departure time, and have the car charged up just as you grab the keys while not wasting any extra energy. Finally, My Cabin Comfort lets you remotely cool or heat the cabin ahead of your trip.
The base Flying Spur will set you back $196,000 before options and taxes. The Flying Spur Hybrid is more expensive at $204,000. That's surprising because the Bentayga Hybrid is actually cheaper than the standard version. With options and extras, you could go way higher than that.
Competition comes from other ultra-luxury sedans like the Rolls-Royce Ghost and Mercedes-Maybach S 580, though neither of those options have a hybrid version yet. The Maybach starts at $184,900 and brings 496 hp and 516 lb-ft of torque. The Ghost comes in way higher at $311K and sports a 563-hp, 6.75-liter V12. Neither would be considered efficient. We'll also add the BMW Alpina B7, which has a price of $143,795.
Looking at those prices and performance numbers, the Flying Spur looks great in comparison. We obviously adore the standard version, but the powertrain has very little to do with it. Hence, this Spur Hybrid looks like a great deal.