Bentley goes totally electrical by 2030, nevertheless it’s not going to make the leap right away. First, it’s going plug-in hybrid.
The primary Bentley to function plug-in hybrid energy Down Underneath is the very massive, very luxurious Flying Spur sedan. Sure, W12 and V8 engines are nonetheless accessible in the event you’re not fairly able to dip into the world of electrification but.
It’s a courageous new world for a model constructed on the again of supercharged toys for rich playboys racing trains within the Nineteen Twenties, which offered automobiles powered by a model of the identical 6.75-litre V8 for greater than six many years, and has extra not too long ago developed into the ultimate refuge for the Volkswagen Group’s technically fascinating (however vanishingly uncommon) W12 engine.
Making the transition to electrification extra fascinating is the very fact Bentley is beginning with the Flying Spur, which is arguably its most old style car. Its classical silhouette, and a leather-lined cabin aimed as a lot at pleasing individuals within the again seats because the entrance.
Have the engineers in Crewe managed to efficiently mix the most effective of the outdated world with a completely fashionable PHEV powertrain?
Checklist worth is only a idea with automobiles just like the Flying Spur, given the entire level is to customize it and make it your individual.
Regardless, the beginning worth of the Flying Spur is $456,000 earlier than on-road prices. Our tester was optioned to $585,429 earlier than on-roads.
How? Exterior, the gorgeous Marlin paint is from the ‘Prolonged Vary’ of finishes, and the Driving Specification with Black Painted and Vibrant Machined Wheel doesn’t come free. The intense chromed decrease bumper matrix-style grille can be an choice, together with the delightfully showy illuminated Flying B bonnet emblem.
Inside, the distinction stitching and seat piping, panoramic sunroof, rear leisure system, ornamental ‘Cotes de Geneve’ transmission tunnel insert, two-tone dashboard trim, diamond knurling, inductive cellphone charger, and temper lighting are elective.
You could possibly spend hours on the Bentley configurator making the Flying Spur look how you want; seems my dream specification isn’t removed from what we drove.
The sensation of the leather-based, the look of the walnut dashboard trim, and the chilly knurled ‘organ cease’ vent stoppers are all standout Bentley contact factors, nevertheless it’s the scent of the Flying Spur that stands out most. It simply smells costly.
All the things you contact feels top quality. The supple leather-based trim doesn’t simply cowl the seats, it covers the doorways, and the pillars, and the edges of the transmission tunnel. It even extends over the solar visors, and the damped seize handles above the home windows.
The brushed steel finisher on the transmission tunnel is chilly to the contact, and the knurled buttons, dials, and organ cease vent adjusters haven’t been lifted from the Volkswagen Group elements bin. The one plastic we might discover was on the steering wheel; even the indications are completed with a steel impact cap to match the broader cabin.
Gloss black is certainly one of our pet peeves, however the two-tone trim that mixes black along with your alternative of wooden can be a contemporary tackle a basic component of inside design.
Don’t get me began on the knurled, metal-trimmed paddle shifters. So typically they’re the touchpoint that undermines the sensation of high quality in a high-end cabin, however not right here.
As you’d count on, the driving place is ideal. The powered seats function massaging, heating, and cooling, and have the best mix of bolstering and assist to make lengthy drives soften away. The view over the bonnet, full with its central chrome strip that slopes down to satisfy the highest of the (retractable) Flying B emblem, is in contrast to anything in motoring.
Essentially the most noticeable hyperlink between the Flying Spur and the Porsche Panamera with which it shares a platform is the infotainment system, which is actually a reskinned tackle the PCM system supplied throughout the Porsche vary.
It’s straightforward sufficient to customize, and responds shortly to inputs. The actual fact you possibly can have your main features (together with the elevate suspension button) alongside your navigation, and your media, is a win. Additionally a win is the very fact the local weather controls are bodily buttons on the transmission tunnel, and also you don’t must go swiping by means of menus to shut the rear blinds, or activate the parking cameras when it’s time to string this cumbersome beast right into a slender carpark.
The one actual nods to the Flying Spur’s electrified drivetrain are the EV Mode button, and the revised digital dials in entrance of the driving force. Talking of which, though the graphics on the digital cockpit are a pleasant nod to the previous, we’d love for Bentley to stay with jewel-like analogue dials to match the clock on the dashboard.
Arguably extra lavish than the entrance seats are the rear pews. Though it includes a three-seat bench, the massive driveline hump and scalloped outboard seats make the center seat one for emergencies solely.
These outboard seats are energy adjustable, massaging, and heated. There’s acres of legroom, however headroom again there’s harm by the panoramic sunroof on our tester. Should you’re planning to hold fully-grown passengers recurrently we’d advocate skipping the powered roof to liberate extra space.
Passengers are in a position to stream leisure from a cellphone or pill to the screens, so there’s no excuse for sub-par in-flight leisure. We will’t converse for the Bentley meal service, after all.
Though the gorgeous two-tone dashboard and door finishers from the entrance haven’t made it down again, the rear seats are each bit as effectively completed because the fronts. The doorways function the identical gentle trim and diamond sample because the entrance, and all of the supplies really feel correctly costly.
Boot area has suffered within the transition from petrol-only to PHEV energy. The Flying Spur Hybrid packs 351 litres of boot area, down on the 420L on supply within the V8 and W12.
Though this isn’t designed to be a faculty run automobile, you’ll discover it’s more durable to suit cumbersome objects again there due to the lithium-ion battery underneath the ground. Don’t fear, the golf golf equipment nonetheless match – we examined it, naturally.
Underneath the pores and skin, the Flying Spur rides on a model of the MSB platform underpinning the Porsche Panamera.
Its plug-in hybrid powertrain blends a 2.9-litre twin-turbocharged petrol V6 engine with an electrical motor, for mixed system outputs of 400kW and 750Nm.
The e-motor is able to punching out 100kW and 400Nm; the petrol engine makes 305kW and 500Nm.
These numbers don’t mix to create the quoted mixed most as the electrical motor and petrol engine don’t make their peak outputs on the identical time.
The e-motor is mounted between the engine and the eight-speed dual-clutch transmission, and is mated to an 18kWh lithium-ion battery pack good for a claimed 40km of electric-only driving. A 7.2kW charger can juice the battery from empty in lower than three hours.
Claimed gas financial system is 3.3 litres per 100km on the mixed cycle, however that’s contingent on having a full battery. We noticed 7.8 litres per 100km over a 130km loop.
The battery was totally charged in the beginning, and lasted simply shy of 50km earlier than working dry.
The Flying Spur will hit 140km/h on electrical energy alone, and flat out with each energy sources singing will do 285km/h.
The 100km/h dash takes a claimed 4.3 seconds, making the PHEV simply 0.2 seconds slower than the V8, and 0.5 seconds slower than the W12.
Easy efficiency and sporty, however dignified, dealing with is on the core of what Bentley has tried to do with its fashionable automobiles.
The Flying Spur largely delivers on these guarantees, though the way in which the PHEV shuffles between its two energy sources means it’s not fairly as seamless because it could be with an old style petrol engine underneath the bonnet.
At low speeds, with a full battery, it does a reasonably convincing impersonation of an electrical car. The 140km/h ceiling is sufficient that you just by no means want the petrol engine on Australian highways, and with 400Nm of torque from the e-motor alone the large, heavy Flying Spur doesn’t really feel gradual when the turbocharged V6 is napping.
Smoothness and silence are now not the protect of luxurious automobiles, given the strengths of electrical motors, however the Flying Spur feels serene even relative to inexpensive, luxurious electrical automobiles.
As soon as the heavy, leather-lined door shuts (with an imperious thud) it’s as if the skin world doesn’t exist, such is the refinement. Additionally staggeringly good is the trip high quality.
It is a 2500kg sedan driving on 22-inch alloy wheels, however within the default Bentley Mode the adaptive suspension simply steamrolls pockmarked metropolis streets. Potholes, growth joints, velocity bumps… none of them upset its composure, or undermine the sense of refinement within the cabin.
Three-chamber air springs mix with a continuously-adaptive damping system, which options 4 trip top sensors to continuously regulate the suspension stiffness in response to street circumstances. These air springs can maintain as much as 60 per cent extra air than earlier than.
It is a huge automobile. It’s barely shorter than, and is definitely 70mm wider than, a Ford Ranger Wildtrak, so it’s not what you’d name straightforward to put in tight areas.
The high-resolution cameras make it easier, however piloting a Flying Spur on the town isn’t for the faint of coronary heart or gentle of pockets. Then once more, homeowners know what they’re getting in for. In order for you a small Bentley, purchase a Continental.
Given its electrical vary is about 40km, you’ll want to fireside the petrol engine in some unspecified time in the future within the Flying Spur. At low speeds it fires quietly and shortly, and the way in which it interacts with the electrical motor is fairly rattling easy. Some PHEVs really feel like they surge ahead when the engine kicks in, however the efficiency within the Flying Spur feels good and linear.
It’s additionally surprisingly quick. In Bentley Mode, there’s a beat of hesitation whenever you bury the throttle earlier than each energy sources provide you with their all, however in Sport Mode the throttle response is pleasingly quick. Roll on from low within the rev vary and it simply surges ahead with an analogous easy, easy feeling you get from the W12 within the Continental GT.
You don’t get the identical dignified, bassy exhaust word on supply within the W12. The two.9-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine doing service within the Flying Spur PHEV options elsewhere within the Volkswagen Group efficiency world, nevertheless it at all times sounds a bit strained and reedy relative to the opposite engines within the vary.
The sound is okay, however you need greater than fantastic from a Bentley, don’t you?
Extra than simply fantastic is the dealing with. It’s spectacular how arduous you possibly can hustle this hybrid limousine with out it falling to items, given its measurement.
The steering has a reassuring quantity of weight to it, and the physique doesn’t lurch unnervingly round whenever you pour the Flying Spur right into a nook at velocity. It’s properly managed, and as soon as settled you get the sense there’s loads of grip whenever you feed in some throttle.
It’s not an outright athlete, however the large lady can nonetheless stand up and boogie when she must.
Tools fitted to our tester consists of:
- Metropolis Specification pack (commonplace)
- Encompass-view digicam
- Metropolis-speed autonomous emergency braking
- Pedestrian warnings
- Rear cross-traffic alert
- Auto-dimming rear-view mirrors
- Arms-free boot opening
- Mulliner Driving Specification pack
- 22-inch, 10-spoke alloy wheels
- ‘Lofted’ diamond quilting on seats, raised 3D trim on doorways
- Sports activities pedals
- Jewel gas filler and oil cap
- Embroidered Bentley emblems
- Touring Specification pack
- Lively lane-keeping help
- Night time Imaginative and prescient digicam
- Bentley Safeguard Plus (high-speed autonomous emergency braking)
- Diamond Knurling Specification pack
- Knurled bulls-eye air vents
- Knurled entrance and rear console vents
- Knurled dashboard clock bezel
- Knurled organ stops
That’s atop the next commonplace options:
- 20-inch alloy wheels
- Bi-LED auto-levelling adaptive LED headlights
- LED tail lights
- LED daytime working lights
- Powered tailgate
- Entrance and rear parking sensors
- Keyless entry and begin
- Leather-based-trimmed, heated entrance seats with energy adjustment
- Twin-zone local weather management
- Wired Apple CarPlay
- 12.3-inch infotainment display screen
- 12.3-inch driver show
- Automated windscreen wipers
- Energy-closing doorways
Don’t count on to see the Flying Spur crash examined any time quickly. Automobiles with steep costs and low volumes hardly ever are.
Commonplace security gear consists of:
- Entrance, facet, and curtain airbags
- Autonomous emergency braking
- Blind-spot monitoring
- Encompass-view digicam
- Entrance and rear parking sensors
- Adaptive LED headlights
The Bentley Flying Spur is backed by a three-year, unlimited-kilometre guarantee.
Upkeep is required each 12 months or 16,000km, and 5 years of upkeep is included with the worth of buy.
The Flying Spur Hybrid is a stable first step into the world of electrification for Bentley in Australia.
It builds on the strengths of the broader vary with a luxurious inside, spectacular trip high quality, peerless refinement, and higher efficiency than you’d count on of such an enormous beast.
The hybrid system exhibits the polish you’d count on from a Volkswagen Group product, and has been tuned to ship a Bentley-ish feeling whenever you’re cracking on. It feels precisely the way you’d count on a Bentley plug-in hybrid to really feel.
That’s to not say it’s excellent. The electrical vary is stable however not standout, and Bentley has work to do on making the smaller petrol engine within the PHEV really feel particular just like the V8 and W12 choices which have underpinned the model’s fashionable period.
The street there gained’t be completely easy, however there’s nonetheless lots to stay up for as Bentley bids internal-combustion farewell.
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