Bentley Flying Spur

Hybrid

Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid, 2023, front
Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid, 2023, nose
Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid, 2023, side
Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid, 2023, rear
Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid, 2023, interior
Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid, 2023, rear seats
Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid, 2023, boot
Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid, 2023, engine
Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid, 2023, badge

BENTLEY is a brand that's always been synonymous with big engines and what's not to love about the legendary 6-litre W12 that has traditionally powered many of the marque's models.

Well, in reality there's quite a bit to be fair - most notably the running costs.

Okay, while Bentley owners might not have to worry too much about such mundane matters and fuel bills in particular the seismic shift that's taking place in the car industry is something to factor in too.

Even Bentley is not immune to the move away from internal combustion engines to electrification and as such it has started that journey with plug-in hybrid (PHEV) versions of some of its models.

And the Crewe luxury car maker is aiming to be only making all-electric vehicles by the end of the decade.

First to emerge was the Bentayga SUV PHEV and it has since been followed by the hybrid Flying Spur.

The Flying Spur Hybrid comes with an engine that is less than half the size of that famous W12 - a 2.9-litre V6 petrol engine. It is mated to an electric motor to develop an impressive combined 536bhp.

The engine is different to the 3.0-litre unit found in the Bentayga and is a more powerful 2.9-litre twin-turbo. In fact it offers 95bhp more than the output of the plug-in system used in the Bentayga PHEV.

As far as the Flying Spur range goes the hybrid sits in between the V8 and W12 models in terms of price. Its performance is on a par with the V8 but it offers significantly lower running costs and ticks all the boxes for Bentley owners who want to up their green credentials.

Put simply with the V8 you are likely to get overall miles per gallon fuel consumption in the teens or low twenties, while the hybrid version can offer overall economy in the high twenties or even early thirties.

The current Flying Spur is a handsome looking vehicle for sure. It replaced the old Continental Flying Spur and from a design perspective represents a huge step forward. Its profile is sleek and curvy and much less angular than its predecessor.

As well as the aesthetic improvements the latest Flying Spur also offers a number of engineering advances, including shedding some pounds and weight distribution that is more even.

Due to the battery technology the hybrid model does weigh-in at more than the V8 and another downside is that it compromises boot space to some extent - 351 litres instead of 420 litres. However space is not compromised in the cabin and interior ergonomics probably trump boot space for most Bentley buyers.

As with any PHEV there's an electric-only driving capacity. The Flying Spur's size and weight means it offers 25 miles - or thereabouts - of pure electric motoring. When compared to early PHEV vehicles this seems decent enough, though given the fact some of its premium rivals offer more than 50 miles it might seem a little more limited.

Along with its good looks when you sit in the latest Flying Spur it is a sublime place to be. Of course that is something one would expect with a Bentley but it does not disappoint in any way whatsoever.

The only nod to normality is an infotainment system you can also find in an Audi but everything else about the Bentley's cabin oozes class and sophistication and it also boasts those little touches like the optional rotating dash that really set the marque apart.

Not surprisingly this is one of the Flying Spur's most popular options and offers the ability to choose between the main 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, a set of three analogue gauges (outside air temperature, a compass and a chronometer) or a book-matched piece of veneer.

Not surprisingly it's a complex piece of machinery but an inspired and truly wonderful touch.

So, as a more ‘lean and green' Bentley how does the Flying Spur compare to the V8 version? Sure the engine note isn't as sweet but it starts in electric mode and the silence of that experience and travelling in electric mode is quite something it has to be said.

An unusual sensation in a Bentley but arguably it adds to its overall refinement. And crucially there's little compromise in performance with the hybrid pretty much on a par with that the V8 with a 0 to 60 acceleration time of 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 177mph.

Needless to say the Bentley engineers have ensured that the V6 engine and electric motor work in pretty much perfect harmony. Drivers can select EV, Hybrid and Hold modes (the Hold mode allows you to hold the battery charge until required) but by far the easiest option is to let the technology do all the work. A great example is if you enter a destination into the sat-nav it will calculate when is best to rely on the electric motor.

Handling in the hybrid might not be as sharp as the V8, due to the added weight and differing weight distribution, but it remains agile for a large and heavy car. And as expected it is a hugely comfortable cruiser.

FAST FACTS

Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid

Price:£168,300

Mechanical: 2,894cc V6 twin-turbo petrol engine plus 100 kW electric motor combining to produce 536bhp driving all wheels via eight-speed dual clutch automatic transmission

Max Speed: 177mph

0-62mph: 4.1 seconds

Combined MPG: 85.8

Insurance Group: 50

C02 emissions: 75 g/km

Bik rating: 20%

Warranty:3yrs/unlimited miles

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