Flying high

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Is the Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid the brand’s best model yet? T3’s Spencer Hart spends a weekend with one to find out…

Up until recently, luxury vehicles relied on big, powerful petrol engines to set themselves apart from their more af fordable counterparts, but as Bob Dylan once sang, the times they are a-changin’. The latest crop of luxury limos are swapping their V8s and W12s for hybrid and electric powertrains. One such vehicle is the new Bentley Flying Spur. But does Bentley’s hybrid Flying Spur compromise on luxury or performance? I spent a weekend with one to find out…

From the outside, you’d be hardpressed to tell this is anything new, but there are a few subtle visual dif ferences that set it apart from its fossil fuel-burning siblings. These include special Hybrid badges and quad oval tailpipes.

The big news here is that under the bonnet is a 2.9 -litre V6 petrol engine mated to an electric motor, delivering a total of 536 bhp and 750 Nm of torque. This not only helps propel the car from 0 to 60mph in under 4.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 177mph, but it also makes it the most ef ficient Bentley ever – it can cover over 700km when fully fuelled.

Inside, the cabin is just as luxurious as the internal combustion engined model. The main dif ference is the automatic Start-Stop switch has been replaced with a control for the three electric modes. You can choose between pure EV mode, hybrid mode and ‘hold’ mode, which enables the driver to manage the battery usage during a journey.

The car starts in EV Drive mode and, I must say, it feels super luxurious gliding around silently using the electric motor. You can travel in this mode for around 25 miles before the V6 petrol engine kicks in, making it ideal for city driving and for shorter journeys. When it comes to charging, the 14.1 kWh lithium-ion battery will take around 2.5 hours to get to 100%.

In Hybrid Mode, the Flying Spur’s powertrain delivers an intoxicating blend of the internal combustion engine and electric motor. The new powertrain has managed to maintain an authentic Bentley character but achieves a significant reduction in fuel consumption.

Of course, the Flying Spur Hybrid is no slouch in the tech department either. This includes the incredibly co

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