Bentley’s second plug-in hybrid will be a version of the Flying Spur, which is being billed as its most environmentally friendly car yet and part of the brand’s overall journey towards carbon neutrality. With a gasoline V6 hybrid powertrain, it promises plenty of horsepower (536, precisely) and to be the big, Bentley-shaped car you expect to be getting for the price tag, but with the added advantage of low emissions.
Bentley only announced its first electrified vehicle, the colossal (and colossally pricey) Bentayga plug-in hybrid, a few years back. Being an absolutely stonkingly enormous car, its environmental credentials are a bit neither-here-nor-there, despite qualifying for that all-important federal tax credit so you can drop a few more thou on the interior. But Bentley says the Flying Spur hybrid is designed with efficiency in mind and to be a statement of its environmental intentions going forwards.
The Flying Spur was launched in 2005 and has had three versions so far, making the hybrid edition a fourth. The powertrain is newly developed for this specific car; it’s got a 2.9-liter, turbocharged V6 gasoline engine which Bentley says follows a similar design philosophy to its 4.0-liter V8, with all its elements neatly incorporated into the combustion architecture.
Fuel injectors and spark plugs are centralized in each of the combustion chambers to make sure each bit of fuel is burned as efficiently as possible—it delivers more hp per liter of displacement than even the V8 Flying Spur. Then the twin-scroll turbochargers and primary catalytic converters are tucked into the V, so it’s all pretty neat under the hood.
That accounts for 410 of the Flying Spur Hybrid’s horsepower, so the rest is from its electric motor. It’s a permanent magnet synchronous MGU, which is what you want for high-torque, high power delivery and gives you The Numbers in terms of 0-60. The Hybrid will apparently do that in 4.1 seconds, which is 0.1 seconds slower than the V8 Flying Spur but still nothing to complain about in a car this hefty.
You won’t be surprised that the interior is pretty luxurious and that Bentley has, to a fairly major extent, resisted the urge to put touchscreens and LEDs all over it. Although you can get plenty of information about the hybrid modes from the infotainment screen, there’s actually a dedicated button for flicking between them, which is a nicely physical touch in an increasingly smeared-glass world.
Of those three modes, EV Drive leans the most heavily on the motor and will try and use as little engine as possible. That’s to get the Flying Spur Hybrid its first-and-last mile status as super clean, so it’ll be certified for the lowest emissions zones in cities.
There’s also Hybrid, which is your road trip mode. Bentley claims, from a full tank, the Flying Spur Hybrid can do 700 kilometers (435 miles) although it didn’t say specifically if the battery needs to be fully charged when you roll out.
The third option is Hold Mode, which doesn’t draw on the battery power to save it. It might sound stupid but actually, there’s kind of a point to it, if you’re going to switch to EV Drive at the end of a trip and want to make sure the battery’s fully charged beforehand.