2022 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid Represents Custom in Transition

The trickle of electrons at Bentley is quickly to change into a flood, because the automaker prepares to totally electrify its complete lineup by the top of the last decade. Whereas this can be a aim shared industry-wide, it is a somewhat monumental shift for Bentley, whose popularity has been outlined largely by its huge—and thirsty—engines. Therefore the existence of the Flying Spur Hybrid, a 5600-pound steppingstone positioned between the shores of these gargantuan powertrains and the horizon of whole electrification.

As befits this interim function, visible modifications are stored to a minimal, with solely fender-mounted “Hybrid” badges and a J1772 charging port hid behind a door on the left rear flank. Distinct quad oval tailpipes full the outside transformation. Inside, the infotainment and driver screens now characteristic EV-specific readouts. We have been notably intrigued by the EV Vary overlay perform on the navigation map—a translucent inexperienced zone hovers over the car’s place, outlining the boundaries of electrical driving vary. Because the battery stage drops, the zone shrinks accordingly. On the middle console, an EV button cycles by the three electrical drive modes: all-electric EV Drive, Hybrid, and Maintain, which maintains battery cost to be deployed later.

The Flying Spur follows within the footsteps of the Bentayga, which first tiptoed into the hybrid waters again in 2019 as Bentley’s first electrified mannequin. Each make use of plug-in techniques, because the bigger battery delivers motivation {that a} common hybrid cannot present. Right here, the Flying Spur makes use of a 410-hp model of the company 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-6. It is the primary six-cylinder discovered underneath the hood of a Bentley sedan in 64 years. A 134-hp electrical motor occupies the house between the engine and eight-speed dual-clutch automated transmission. With a mixed output of 536 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque, the hybrid powertrain delivers numbers which are on par with its rowdier 542-hp V-8 huge brother.

Consequently, the hybrid’s efficiency also needs to be related, regardless of a couple-hundred-pound weight drawback. With each motors singing and all 4 wheels pulling, the Flying Spur hybrid ought to be capable to attain 60 mph in 4.0 seconds. (We recorded a 3.5-second time for the Flying Spur V-8.) High pace is restricted to 177 mph, versus 198 for the V-8. Whereas Bentley emphasised that the EV system is optimized for city journeys, it additionally touted the hybrid’s means to cruise at speeds as much as 80 mph in EV Drive mode. Official numbers have but to be launched, however we might estimate the 14.1-kWh battery will ship about 21 miles of vary. Nor are EPA fuel-economy estimates obtainable, although one would hope to see them notch a big acquire over the V-8’s 15/20 mpg metropolis/freeway numbers.

The enjoyment of electrical thrust lies not in its mechanical voice, however within the absence of it. Bentley touts that the cabin of the hybrid is 50 p.c quieter than that of the V-8’s at 50 mph. By itself, the electrical motor produces 295 pound-feet of torque, all of which is offered from a useless cease. It is greater than able to sustaining the large Bentley’s momentum by site visitors. When rolling alongside in EV Drive mode, the Flying Spur Hybrid supplies a fabulous glimpse of what an all-electric Bentley could be like.

It is solely if you pattern Hybrid mode that this swish serenity is upended. Prod the accelerator and the V-6 unceremoniously crashes the celebration. Gruff and guttural, the engine’s unrefined character is in whole distinction to the remainder of the underlying bundle. We discovered its presence to be notably obtrusive when in Maintain mode, droning away consistently at what amounted to a heightened idle pace. Often, the gasoline engine and electrical motor jockeyed for place, leading to a quick hiccup as the pc scrambled to make peace between the 2. And a pronounced transition between common and regenerative braking made it troublesome to easily modulate to a cease.

Conserving the battery charged avoids this morsel of powertrain inelegance. The 7.2-kW onboard charger can absolutely replenish the battery in roughly two and a half hours, based on Bentley. We suspect most homeowners will depend on a devoted residence charger somewhat than cool their heels at a public unit. That is simply as nicely, because the Flying Spur’s charging-port placement and substantial size make it difficult to squeeze into crowded bays, as we found. Talking of maneuverability, the Spur’s rear-wheel steering and the 48-volt energetic anti-roll bars will not be on the choices listing, as the majority of the hybrid parts now occupy the house usually reserved for them.

Consequently, you’re feeling each little bit of the 125.7-inch wheelbase going by turns. Whereas navigating the twisty canyon roads of the Transverse Ranges simply outdoors Ojai, California, we found that the hybrid was happiest with a extra deliberate nook entry. Regardless of the dearth of the energetic anti-roll system, the remainder of the chassis nonetheless retains the Flying Spur’s inconceivable sense of dexterity, because of the three-chamber air suspension and adaptive dampers. When the street unwinds, the default Bentley drive mode supplies a commendable dynamic steadiness, although it’s kind of floatier than we might like. Conversely, the dampers in Sport are a tad too uneven. We might foyer for a setting that cut up the distinction. Bentley Plus, maybe.

In a current survey of its clients, Bentley found that roughly half of them expressed curiosity in both buying a PHEV or EV car. However at this juncture, the hybrid model of the Flying Spur is lacking these few key traits that make the gas-powered variants so delightfully partaking. For these early adopters, nevertheless, the hybrid’s tough edges could be a tolerable tradeoff.

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Patrick Moore

Patrick is our chief editor and he's very passionate about cars. He has a bachelor's degree in marketing and he studies journalism. His favorite brand is BMW and he drives an X5 series. When he's not writing for Vehiclenews.net, he enjoys spending time with his family and 9 years old son.

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