The 2022 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid is a shaky step in direction of an opulent EV future

Bentley is engaged in a unending battle to steadiness traditional luxurious coach-building and fashionable vehicle manufacturing.

The posh automaker not solely has to maintain up with altering know-how, shopper style and trade requirements, it should additionally persistently ship the outdated world-inspired sophistication that its recognized for. The automotive trade’s transfer in direction of electrification provides one other problem — one Bentley can also be taking up with its Past 100 initiative to turn into a completely electrical model by 2030 and electrified variations of all its merchandise on provide by 2023.

Bentley first examined the electrified waters in 2019 with the hybrid model of the Bentayga SUV. Now it’s time for the Flying Spur, a full-size luxurious sedan that has traditionally been paired with both a decadent W12 engine or a spirited V8.

The automaker swapped in a V6-centric hybrid powertrain in an effort to show {that a} Bentley is greater than only a boisterous energy plant. The upshot: the Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid is an uncharacteristic bump within the rocky highway in direction of the long run.

Nuts and bolts

Picture Credit: Alex Kalogianni

Beneath the bonnet of the Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid is the primary V6 to be present in a Bentley sedan in 64 years, particularly a 2.9-liter twin-turbo energy plant that gins up 410 horsepower by itself. That is paired with a 134-horsepower electrical motor that sits between the engine and the 8-speed dual-clutch computerized transmission.

With the whole lot working in unison, the Flying Spur Hybrid boasts an output of 536 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, sending it to all 4 wheels and leaping from 0 to 60 in 4.1 seconds. That is only a tenth of a second slower than the V8, for these holding rating.

To place this in perspective, the W12 Flying Spur can muster up 626 horsepower and dash to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds. It could actually additionally sail to 207 mph, whereas the 542-horsepower V8 can prime out at 198 mph. The brand new hybrid is restricted to 177 mph. All of that is tutorial for many who reside sans a useful unrestricted stretch of autobahn, but it surely does collectively paint an image of a automobile struggling to fulfill a longtime commonplace, not exceed expectations.

Batteries and modes

Bentley flying spur hybrid-

Picture Credit: Alex Kalogianni

Together with the e-motor, latest parts embody an 18.0-kWh battery and a stage 2 J1772 charging port, which Bentley states might be topped up in two and a half hours. It’s good for about 21 miles of all-electric cruising and provides the Flying Spur a strong 46 mixed MPGe, a far cry from its different, thirstier iterations. The additional port and the “Hybrid” badging are the one issues that betray that this Flying Spur differs from another.

Like different Bentley autos, there’s a choice of modes that affect driving dynamics, figuring out the gentleness or sportiness of assorted programs. With the brand new hybrid setup, a latest, separate set of modes are added for drivers to regulate the conduct of the powertrain: EV Drive, Hybrid and Maintain.

The Flying Spur Hybrid places its finest foot ahead at start-up, defaulting to EV Drive. It’s the quiet, gliding trace of what an all-electric Bentley will really feel like as soon as it arrives.

Hybrid mode predictably flicks between programs, relying on driver conduct and circumstances, but in addition by means of route optimization due to a hyperlink between this method and the on-board navigation. Punch in a route and the Flying Spur will decide probably the most environment friendly segments to make use of its remaining cost.

Maintain mode will restrict battery use, although it received’t discontinue it altogether. It’ll primarily make the most of the V6, however will interact the e-motor for additional increase. This can also be the default setting when in Sport driving mode.

Talking of driving, some notable sacrifices have been made to facilitate all the brand new hybrid {hardware}. Rear-wheel steering and a 48-volt anti-roll system might be discovered on the V8 and W12 Flying Spurs. These programs not solely present extra steadiness and stability for comfy cruising, however help in altering the dynamics of the healthy-sized sedan when engaged in speedy and sporty jaunts.

Luxurious lodging

bentley flying spur hybrid -infotainment

Picture Credit: Alex Kalogianni

Throughout the cabin, the tech matches that present in the remainder of the Flying Spur lineup in addition to the Continental GT Coupe: a 12.3-inch digital touchscreen that tumbles away when not wanted to disclose three analog gauges, an all-digital gauge cluster and a head-up show are all current. They’ve been up to date with extra graphics to watch battery utilization, remaining cost and regeneration, with the gauge cluster particularly up to date to indicate powertrain conduct in actual time.

Battery standing is considered one of the numerous issues that might be tracked away from the Flying Spur, due to related automobile companies that hyperlink to the automobile by way of a smartphone app.

Together with the present cost, the app permits customers to schedule charging occasions and obtain cost time estimates. It additionally logs journey knowledge that features common gas consumption, permitting for extra knowledgeable planning on future journeys. The cabin will also be remotely primed forward of arrival, so it may well be warmed or cooled, relying on the present local weather.

What hasn’t modified is Bentley’s masterful inside craftsmanship. Like an indulgent feast, the Flying Spur is a sensational delight with gentle leather-based seats, open pore Koa wooden accents, metallic diamond-cut knurled knobs, and a laundry listing of different intricate particulars. It’s honest to say Bentley has the luxurious facet of issues correctly nailed down at this level, although this doesn’t but appear to be the case in relation to electrification.

The UX

bentley flying spur hybrid screen

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Defaulting to EV mode upon start-up is a intelligent showcase of the Flying Spur Hybrid’s finest attributes. Comparatively silent and extremely mild, the electrified Bentley feels as if that is what it was meant for all alongside.

Mix this with the cabin’s substantial sound dampening and the expertise is sort of horrifying at occasions, and it takes a cut up second on your senses to recollect it’s all working as meant and that nothing has switched off. Passengers are handled to the feeling of wafting on a quiet, luxurious cloud by means of city, and although this may increasingly be the height Bentley expertise from the rear seats, it’s a distinct story from behind the wheel.

Whereas the temptation of plowing full steam forward in a W12 model or taking a spirited jaunt with the V8 is ever current, the Flying Spur is a automobile meant to be pushed in consolation for many of its operation. Easy acceleration, seamless gear shifts and cushiony braking has been the secret in that regard, and so they’ve all been altered on this iteration of the Spur.

bentley flying spur hybrid controls

Picture Credit: Alex Kalogianni

Bentley’s “Bentley” mode is the automated catch-all setting that adjustments relying on the driving force’s conduct: tread frivolously and it should behave in consolation mode, however begin getting feisty, and it should swap issues over to sport. Typically, these have an effect on the steering tightness, damper rigidity, and likewise the enter speeds for throttle and braking. These three settings now should cope with whichever drivetrain setting a driver needs to make use of, and this begins to complicate issues.

By default, the throttle has a small enter delay that isn’t unusual in luxury-oriented autos to mitigate jerky hops ahead. It really works positive in E-mode when at low speeds however working solely on the electrical motor has its limitations. Any need to essentially get a transfer on requires the activation of the V6.

Actually, attempting to customise solely the throttle response necessitates sport mode. All of this successfully breaks the spell the all-electric mode has solid. Historically, that is the place the passable grunt of both of the opposite engines declares its presence, prepared for obligation, however the V6 doesn’t come to life in hardly the identical means. The extra sound baffling additional diminishes it in a disappointing means.

Aside from the sound, the Flying Spur is seamless when it flips from battery to engine energy, and as soon as it’s on top of things, it coasts unmistakably as a Bentley. As soon as it’s time to sluggish issues down, the newly applied regenerative braking provides the Flying Spur an odd “hop” proper at the tip, making it tough to finesse a easy halt. All advised, from begin to complete, the core luxurious expertise is compromised by the inclusion of the hybrid system.

Issues are extra acquainted in sport mode. With the V6 all the time engaged, a lot of the latest quirks are diminished. Braking nonetheless suffers, however throttle and steering are as sharp as ever. The additional battery juice makes up for the smaller engine’s shortcomings, although it’s preciously finite, and it takes an extended time in “maintain” to recoup a mile’s value of vary. Dropping the rear steering doesn’t sting a lot because the lack of the anti-roll system does, which actually helped mitigate the Flying Spur’s heft previously when taking it round corners.

bentley flying spur hybrid front

Picture Credit: Alex Kalogianni

Take all the above with a really refined grain of salt. We’re nonetheless speaking a couple of Bentley right here, and it nonetheless does the whole lot in a relatively stellar vogue relative to most autos on the market. However when stacking it in opposition to different Bentleys, the Flying Spur Hybrid stumbles a bit too usually to be prime of the road.

The Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid units itself other than its different iterations by being the most gas environment friendly model actually by miles. Its 21-or-so miles of electrical vary isn’t a lot by itself however paired with the V6, it may well go the space, as long as it’s saved frequently charged at residence. Bentley is sort sufficient to throw in a charging unit with the roughly $210,000 buy, so patrons don’t needn’t deign to go to the local people charging station.

Compromising the efficiency of the Flying Spur’s luxurious traits looks like a needed rising ache in gentle of Bentley’s better mission.

In context, it will really feel like a very important step to succeed in the guarantees of full electrical luxurious. In the current, the Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid fumbles between doing what it does finest and what it’s doing for the primary time, leading to a uncommon Bentley that falters in its execution. This automobile’s all electrical mode is a tantalizing morsel of what’s to come back, it’s only a disgrace that the style is so fleeting.

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