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Driven: Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid. Image by Bentley.

Driven: Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid
The Flying Spur is now Bentley’s flagship limousine, but will it be suited to a V6 hybrid powertrain?

   



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2022 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5

Since the demise of Bentley's diesel engines, the hybrids have become the engine of choice for those with an environmental conscience. Now, the 2.9-litre V6 plug-in hybrid has found its way under the long bonnet of the Flying Spur limousine, but will that prove a fitting home for the low-emission powertrain?

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2022 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid by Mulliner
Price: from £48,170
Engine: 2.9-litre turbocharged V6 petrol plus 100kW electric motor
Battery: 18kWh
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Power: 544hp
Torque: 750Nm
Emissions: 75g/km
Economy: 85.6mpg
0-62mph: 4.3 seconds
Top speed: 177mph
Boot space: 351 litres

Styling

Discerning the Flying Spur Hybrid from its conventionally powered brethren is not easy. In fact, you essentially have to depend on the Hybrid badges to tell the difference between the two. Even the exhausts – normally a key difference between Bentley models – give little away. For some, this sameness will be good news, we think the Flying Spur looks like a bit of a muscly toff, but even we can see some awkwardness in the back end, and the huge grille won’t be for everyone.

Interior

As you'd expect from a Bentley, the Flying Spur is gloriously upholstered. Soft leather, gorgeous wood trim and organ-stop switchgear are the order of the day, and customers can choose from any number of combinations. And with huge armchair seats covered with quilted leather, there's luxury and comfort in abundance. There's tech, too, in the form of a touchscreen infotainment system and a digital instrument display, both of which work impeccably, while those in the rear seats get a tiny tablet that allows them to fiddle with the in-car entertainment and the climate control. The system, which is housed in the centre console but can be removed for ease of use, can even adjust the seats for you.

Practicality

Although the Flying Spur Hybrid is huge – it measures more than 5.3 metres from nose to tail – it doesn’t have that much boot space. At 351 litres, the luggage compartment is about the same size as that of a VW Polo, and it’s a less practical shape. Buy a V8 version and you’ll get about 70 litres more space. That said, the Flying Spur does come with an enormous cabin, so the rear-seat passengers won’t have anything to complain about. As long as you haven’t had to pile luggage in with them, that is.

Performance

The Hybrid is the least powerful model in the Flying Spur range, but that doesn't mean it's slow. With 544hp from its 2.9-litre-V6-and-electric-motor combo, it's only marginally less potent than the V8. As a result, it'll still get from 0-62mph in just over four seconds and flat out it'll do 177mph. It's no slouch. But it is efficient for a car of this size, with the 18kWh lithium-ion battery giving it a real-world range of about 20-25 miles on a single charge. You could, if you only did short journeys, use one of these without ever starting the petrol engine. Or at least you could in theory. But even if you do use the engine, charging regularly will allow you to burn far less fuel than you would in a V8. And while the official 85mpg economy is fanciful, something in the region of 40mpg would be achievable.

Ride & Handling

The Flying Spur is no sports car – it’s much too heavy for that – but it’s quick and quiet, while still being a pleasure to drive. You don’t attack corners, as you might in a Continental GT, but you flow through them smoothly, with supple suspension keeping everything stable and fuss-free. Comfort mode makes everything feel particularly magic carpet-esque. And that makes the Flying Spur an extraordinary grand tourer, capable of immense speed, fabulous comfort and impressive refinement. It doesn’t have the punch or the effortlessness of the V8 or W12 versions, but the Hybrid is hushed at any speed. The only real criticism is the brakes, which are big and powerful, but not quite big and powerful enough to slow the big, heavy Flying Spur as quickly as we’d like.

Value

Naturally, the Flying Spur is not a cheap car. Prices start at well over £170,000, while our test car came with a price tag of more than £200,000. It's so expensive, in fact, that the price is kind of irrelevant. This is one of the most impressive hybrid luxury cars on the market, and those who want the craftsmanship, personalisation and comfort that comes with that will gladly stump up the requisite six-figure sum.

Verdict

The hybrid Flying Spur would not be our first choice, but it unquestionably deserves a place in the Bentley range. For those in city centres, it makes perfect sense, and it doesn't lose much compared with the V8 in terms of refinement and power. It just lacks that tiny bit of effortlessness that makes the conventionally powered Flying Spur such a brilliant long-distance cruiser.



James Fossdyke - 26 Dec 2022



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2022 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid. Image by Bentley.2022 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid. Image by Bentley.2022 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid. Image by Bentley.2022 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid. Image by Bentley.2022 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid. Image by Bentley.

2022 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid. Image by Bentley.2022 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid. Image by Bentley.2022 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid. Image by Bentley.2022 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid. Image by Bentley.2022 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid. Image by Bentley.








 

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