Downsizing is the name of the game for automakers with people like Toyota, Ford and others swapping thirsty V8 engines for V6s and hybrids. Even luxury manufacturers like Bentley are not untouched by this change, now offering a hybrid V6 version of its latest sedan.
The 2022 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid is now the most efficient with the nameplate returning 19 miles per gallon combined on gasoline, but as high as 46 miles per gallon using its hybrid motor and battery. The Flying Spur range now has three players including Hybrid, V8, W12, which denote the number of engine cylinders.
Mulliner exclusivity can be added to any Flying Spur, taking the luxury quotient even further with unique wheels, diamond quilting on the seats, three-dimensional leather door panels, sports pedals, embroidered Bentley logo and metal filler caps for oil and fuel . Additionally, buyers can specify more colors and options.
The only thing that sets this Flying Spur Hybrid apart from the crowd is the hybrid badge and sound. From the curb, it looks exactly like its V8 brethren with cut-crystal LED headlights, wraparound taillights, and 21- or 22-inch wheels. A new retractable Flying Bee mascot is installed on the hood, which flips down securely when the car is locked.
There are a number of factory colors to choose from, but customers can also guess one of 60 options, including Mulliner colors. A Blackline Specification ($4,830) adds gloss lacking trim to the side window surround, wing vents, lower door brightware, radiator shell matrix, tailpipes, and a few other areas.
Inside, buyers are offered rich wood and leather in 15 colors. Wood veneer runs across the dash from the doors and back around the cabin. Most controls are metal and pointed, showing bright spots in direct sunlight.
Diamond stitched on the seats and doors inspired by the Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 concept. Crown Cut Walnut is offered as a new wood veneer option, as are Poplar Dark Fiddleback and Piano Black. Dual veneer finish can also be specified by the buyer.
The leather-wrapped seats in the 2022 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid are soft, heated, cooled and feature a massage function in addition to leg and lumbar support. A 12.3-inch touchscreen marks the center of the dashboard, which swings from digital screen to analog gauge to plain wood. Wireless charging is standard as is Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
It all looks excellent and feels expensive. However, at this price point Bentley should be a step ahead of other automakers, instead it seems on a similar level. It doesn’t have wireless Apple CarPlay, an option buyers can get on the Kia Compact.
Additionally, those beautiful metal dials click, but the clicks don’t correspond to the numerals on the radio or climate. It clicks 25 times and changes station only twice. Again, this is something that automakers like General Motors figured out years ago. The gear selector is also ergonomically unsound.
The park button is on the front; When a buyer shifts in reverse by holding the shifter, the park button is pressed keeping the vehicle in park. Same thing when grabbing quickly for the drive gear. If a palm touches the park button it does not move. These are minor complaints, but problems other automakers have addressed.
The rear seats in the Flying Spur are as comfortable as it is with storage space at the front with a large console armrest in the middle. Both the booster seat and child seat are easy to pair with the LATCH system, and the space provides plenty of room for kicking legs without disturbing the driver.
Propelling the 5,523-pound behemoth is a 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 with an electric motor that makes a total of 536 horsepower and 553 pound-feet of torque. That’s good for a zero to 60 mph sprint in 4.1 seconds, the same as the V8 model and only a few lasts longer than the twelve-cylinder version.
That power is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. Those rear wheels can also move when maneuvering in tight parking. In practice, it handles like a small car at slow speeds.
The Flying Spur has 25 miles of all-electric range, and since it needs to be recharged, the brakes are regenerative. Here too, some automakers have learned to do this without intimidating the driver. This Bentley brake pedal moves about 6 inches before any actual braking. More than one regular stop was converted to a panic stop because the brakes did not react quickly.
Despite 22-inch wheels coupled with low profile tyres, it rides extremely smoothly. Like the rest of the lineup, the Flying Spur has Comfort, Bentley, Sport and Custom driving modes. It comes with three additional modes including Hybrid EV Drive, Hybrid Mode and Hold Mode.
The EV drive uses only the battery. Hold mode saves the battery on its current charge and Hybrid mode uses both as efficiently as possible. The cabin is one of the quietest on the road no matter the speed or mode. For the added noise, buyers will have to pick up the V8.
For safety, the 2022 Flying Spur offers the latest including multiple packages of options. City specifications include hands free boot opening, pedestrian warning, reverse traffic warning and automatic dimming mirrors. The Touring specifications include Emergency Lane Change Assist and Intersection Assist with Lane Assist, Night Vision, Head-up Display, Adaptive Cruise Control (with Traffic Jam Assist) and Bentley Safeguard Plus.
The 2022 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid starts at $210,000. As tested, this specific model included options for over $60,000, ranging in price from over $270,000. There’s not much to compare at that high range, but the Rolls-Royce Ghost starts at $340,500, making it seem like a Bentley steal. The Mercedes-Maybach S 580, on the other hand, costs $184,900 less. That sedan offers almost everything that Bentley does for less except its efficiency as it only offers a twin-turbo V8.
Buyers should check them out, as well as the Alpina B7, the most luxurious variant of the BMW 7 series. It starts at less than about $143,000. Once those boxes are checked, and the Flying Spur is still on the radar, it’s an impressive vehicle.