How does a 103-year-old British luxurious automaker, which is well known for constructing a few of the world’s most interesting 12-cylinder combustion engines, transition into an electrical world? The reply is with progressive, technically superior, and fuel-efficient sedans similar to the brand new 2022 Flying Spur Hybrid – arguably the best instance of premium hybrid luxurious in showrooms right this moment.
In late 2020, Bentley introduced that its first all-electric mannequin would arrive in 2025. And by 2030, the corporate can be promoting solely EVs. Eight years is however a blink away within the fast-paced automotive world, so the corporate will transfer rapidly – its first step in direction of dropping the normal combustion engine is with gasoline-electric hybrid propulsion.
Bentley isn’t any stranger to hybrid autos. The automaker launched its plug-in Bentayga Hybrid final 12 months, however the Flying Spur Hybrid is completely different. Not like the favored Bentayga crossover, which is drawing youthful clients to the model who’re desperate to undertake new applied sciences, the Flying Spur is a conventional lengthy wheelbase four-door – it’s Bentley’s basis. The corporate has to get it proper.
The third-generation Flying Spur is a spectacular car that shares platforms with the Porsche Panamera. It’s visually gorgeous, fantastically appointed, and it’s a driver’s automotive – on-road dynamics are first-rate. With commonplace all-wheel drive, it’s supplied with a selection between a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8, or a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter W12. The highly effective engines present sports activities car-like acceleration (the 0-60 dash takes about 3.5 seconds) and ship about 20 mpg on the freeway. Round city, that quantity drops to the low teenagers.
Flying Spur clients count on their autos to be extraordinarily highly effective and refined. To reside as much as these anticipations, Bentley equips the hybrid mannequin with a twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 creating 410 hp (there is no such thing as a disgrace in admitting that Porsche makes use of the identical engine in its hybrid Panamera), which is complemented by a 134-hp electrical motor sandwiched between the engine and the 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. Whole system output is 536 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque – the hybrid output is sort of similar to its V8-powered sibling.
The plug-in hybrid Flying Spur can be fitted with a 14.1 kWh lithium-ion battery that may ship simply over 20 miles of pure-EV driving (a Stage-2 house charger, which each and every proprietor ought to have, will absolutely cost it in fewer than three hours). Whereas the EPA has not launched official gasoline economic system numbers, the hybrid powerplant ought to simply present a 20 % or better enchancment on effectivity. (Within the fingers of a shopper, hybrid gasoline effectivity is only depending on utilization – somebody with a 5-mile day by day commute might actually see 100-plus mpg on common, whereas somebody with a 90-mile commute will see 25 mpg general.) Bentley states that the Flying Spur Hybrid has a cruising vary of 450 miles – that’s greater than six (bladder-busting) hours on the freeway.
Whereas homeowners could casually press the beginning button, have interaction drive, and head on their approach in BENTLEY driving mode, Bentley additionally affords a 3 place E Mode driving selector to customise the hybrid driving expertise. EV DRIVE holds the car in electrical mode (except the driving force presses the accelerator too laborious), HYBRID maximizes effectivity by working along with the navigation system to optimize power utilization, and HOLD mode preserves the battery energy for later use (e.g., heading right into a metropolis heart that solely permits electrical operation).
Left merely in drive, and assuming there may be juice within the battery, the Flying Spur will draw back with solely its electrical motor for propulsion. Ignore its 134 hp ranking, as the electrical motor develops 295 lb-ft of prompt torque – that’s robust sufficient for swift acceleration round city and thru site visitors (in fact, the twin-turbocharged V6 is at all times standing prepared to supply extra help if the driving force’s foot requires it).
From behind the wheel, the Flying Spur feels as whether it is effortlessly gliding. There aren’t any artificial sounds taking part in throughout the cabin, so the expertise is totally silent. The electrical motor offers ample propulsion, regardless of the Bentley’s 5,600-lb curb weight, so the sedan cruises simply with the opposite autos round it.
Occupants using throughout the Bentley’s plush leather-lined cabin can be astonished on the serenity whereas the Flying Spur is working in pure electrical mode. The shortage of combustion eliminates almost all the conventional automotive noises at low velocity, so the cabin is whisper-quiet. At larger speeds, solely the sound of the dashing wind over the glass and distant tire noise is ready to penetrate the well-insulated passenger compartment (based on Bentley, the Hybrid is 50 % quieter than the V8 mannequin at 50 mph).
Mash the accelerator pedal, or swap over to HOLD mode, and the combustion engine instantly fires to life. Gasoline-fed engines aren’t wherever close to as easy as an electrical motor, so its addition is straight away audibly famous and there may be drastically extra vibration. Nonetheless, the twin-turbo V6 is highly effective – it’s a really sporty and athletic powerplant – the Bentley surges ahead with authority. By the numbers, and seat-of-the-pants statement, it’s probably only some tenths of a second slower than its combustion-only siblings (though Bentley electronically limits the Hybrid’s high velocity to 177 mph, versus 198 mph for the V8).
Revolutionary powertrain apart, the Flying Spur Hybrid drives almost identically to the V8 and W12 fashions. The experience is easy, well-controlled, and the four-door demonstrates impeccable freeway manners. The steering is responsive within the corners, and the sedan by no means feels floaty or unbalanced. The Hybrid isn’t supplied with the subtle 48-volt adaptive suspension, or rear-wheel steering, however we sense that few homeowners will care – this sedan is about premium consolation and effectivity, and it delivers each in droves.
And as is the case with different Flying Spur trims, the Hybrid purchaser is obtainable the chance to decide on paint, upholstery, trim, and accent particulars solely restricted by the creativeness. The scent and contact of wealthy upholsteries, complemented by the texture of high quality woods and the coldness of actual metals, makes using throughout the Bentley a first-class expertise that borders on surreal – it’s not simply transportation. Experiencing a Flying Spur Hybrid is a cause for celebration.
We take into account the Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid a well-calculated, and proper, step in direction of the corporate’s electrified future. Not like most different premium automakers, who’re stumbling as they try to restyle or redefine what their manufacturers signify as they march towards a combustion-free future, Bentley has completed little or no to distinguish the Flying Spur Hybrid from its combustion siblings. The Flying Spur Hybrid is 100% what its conventional consumers count on whereas delivering every little thing its latest clients can be looking for. The corporate’s newest and most fuel-efficient providing stays true to model and continues to foster Bentley’s 103-year-old historical past.