Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid Review (2022)

Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid Review (2022)

Not that the plug-in Spur makes a big fuss about its new powertrain. External clues are slight, the big giveaway being the presence of a second fuel flap to cover the charging port on the left side. The interior gets some discreet ‘Hybrid’ branding and a revised digital dashboard, but the basics that make it one of the world’s leading luxury limos haven’t been tinkered with.

You won’t be shocked to hear that electrification suits the Flying Spur well. Low-intensity refinement has always been excellent even when under V8 or W12 power, and while travelling in its EV mode, the Hybrid is almost silent at urban speeds, even over bumps and cracks. Bentley reckons cabin noise when running gently on electron flow is just half that of the already calm V8. Electric running is almost spookily silent.

Not that staying in the EV mode is especially easy. Anything more than gentle pressure on the accelerator switches the powertrain to its blended Hybrid setting and fires the petrol engine into life. Unlike in the Bentayga Hybrid, there isn’t any haptic resistance in the accelerator travel to indicate when this is about to happen. Only looking at the power flow meter, which runs around the outside of the rev counter, indicates when the electric motor is giving its all.

Under gentle loadings, the switch to combustion power is delivered seamlessly, but when pushing for sudden acceleration, there is a slight but noticeable gap as the V6 fires and the gearbox tries to work out and deliver the optimal ratio. There’s also a slight delay when using the steering wheel paddles to select a gear, although the dual-clutch transmission blends its shifts with pretty much torque-converter smoothness when left to its own devices. In short, it feels like a car happiest delivering stately progress.

Not that it lacks a serious amount of performance when required. The V6 makes its peak torque at just 1750rpm and the engine pulls all the way to the marked REF redline. The Hybrid doesn’t sound as good as the V8 when extended – very few V6 PHEV saloons do – but the busy snarl from the engine and exhaust suits the rate of progress. While the Hybrid’s 177mph top speed is 21mph short of the V8’s, in the real world (or, at least, southern California) it feels at least as quick as the pure-combustion car.