Every automaker possesses an identity. Even in the high-end luxury space, brands have unique factors that distinguish them from one another ranging from performance to luxury. Whereas Rolls-Royce vehicles waft through the road like you’re in a sanctuary on wheels, Bentley gives you uncompromising performance and opulence. Electrification enhances these ideals because that simply cuts compromise even more. Enter the 2022 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid, the second model from the British brand to get an electrified powertrain. Like its internal combustion siblings, this big sedan aims to give you everything and it goes one step above what you expect.
2022 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid: Unmistakably Lavish
One look at the Flying Spur Hybrid and you’ll immediately notice its presence. From the crystal-like LED headlights to that massive grille and unmistakable taillights, this Bentley is fit for royalty. Move inside and you’ll immediately note the precision, build quality, and care put into building this fine machine. Every stitch, piping, quilting, and pattern screams extra, especially in combination with genuine wood and metal trim and knurled controls. Embellishments like the rotating main display and a mechanical clock that belongs on your wrist and not your car amplify the sense of grandeur.
Available in four- or five-seat configuration, no one needs to complain about comfort in a Flying Spur Hybrid. This sedan offers so much adjustability that finding a bad seating position simply isn’t possible. The four-passenger configuration adds individual buckets in the rear with nearly the same adjustment as the front. As a result, every occupant gets pampered, especially with heating, ventilation, and massage functionality in every position. Together with incredible levels of sound deadening, the Flying Spur Hybrid’s interior transforms into a luxurious cocoon of isolation.
If you’ve been in an Audi or Porsche vehicle, the Flying Spur will be familiar territory. Bentley uses a version of the latter’s infotainment system and controls from the former. That’s a good thing because that cuts the interface’s learning curve, simplifying the user experience. Quick responses and minimal submenus add to the system’s ease of use, ensuring you’re not fiddling about too long to find what you need. Perhaps the highlight of the Bentley multimedia experience is the Naim audio system. With 21 speakers and 2,200 watts, you get power, clarity, and immersion all in one package. Together with extensive levels of customizability, this unit guarantees a fantastic listening experience no matter your music preference.
Like the infotainment system, the driver assistance features in the Flying Spur Hybrid came from Volkswagen Group’s arsenal. That’s not a bad thing because they work quite well. Lane centering does a great job at keeping you from drifting around while adaptive cruise control seamlessly follows traffic flow. The car also reacts quickly to changing conditions and backs off right away if someone cuts you off and helps you execute evasive maneuvers.
An Electrified Grand Tourer for Four (or Five)
Having everything means comfort and agility must coexist within one vehicle. This trait allows Bentley to distinguish its vehicles from other ultra-luxury brands. The Flying Spur Hybrid serves as one of the best examples because of how masterfully it balances ride and handling even without active anti-roll bars. While not an all-out sports sedan, this machine tackles corners with the confidence of one thanks to its exceptional body control and rear-wheel steering system. The latter allows the car to remain neutral through turns and rotate nicely, keeping it predictable and easy to drive. Since it’s AWD, you get plenty of grip on the road. It’s also rear-biased, further improving handling and preventing the Flying Spur from plowing into turns.
For the times you simply want to cruise, the Flying Spur Hybrid also happily does that. Put the car in Bentley mode (read: Normal), and it happily devours long stretches of highway effortlessly. The suspension does a fabulous job ensuring no one feels any impacts even when equipped with massive 22-inch alloy wheels and sticky performance rubber. This sedan flattens the road beneath it and glides over everything. Most importantly, the exceptional levels of comfort don’t affect the car’s poise, resulting in beautifully balanced road manners.
Further magnifying the Flying Spur Hybrid’s uncompromising character is its braking performance. For its size, this beast stops with authority and doesn’t have any nose dive. Seamless transitions from regenerative to mechanical braking only enhance that because it retains the firm pedal feel. Additionally, this allows you to input the right amount of stopping power thanks to its progressive build-up.
2022 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid: No Compromise Power
Like its underpinnings, the Flying Spur Hybrid shares its powertrain with the Porsche Panamera. It couples a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-6 with an electric motor, an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and an 18.9-kWh battery pack with 14.1 kWh of usable capacity. Despite its 5,538-pound curb weight, the big electrified Bentley accelerates to triple-digit speeds with ease. Thanks to the engine’s broad power band and the electric motor’s instant torque, you always have the full output within easy access. A quick-shifting gearbox and non-existent turbo lag amplify the sensation of ease you get.
The real strength of this electrified Flying Spur is the versatility of its powertrain. It cuts compromise down by giving you the ability to operate in all-electric mode for 21 miles. That means you get total peace during a portion of your drive. Plug the car into a level 2 AC charger and you get to experience that calmness again after 2.5 hours. During my week with the car, I easily managed 30 miles per charge in mostly city driving. When driven as a conventional hybrid, the Flying Spur Hybrid can travel up to 430 miles. It’s EPA-rated at 17/22/19 mpg city/highway/combined. Considering the power and flexibility you get, this mill is perfect for showing new adapters the virtues of an electrified powertrain.
All-electric mode, however, reveals one quibble. Since this uses a parallel hybrid setup, the electric motor lives between the engine and gearbox meaning you feel shifts in all-electric mode. Additionally, the transitions from all-electric to hybrid operations happen abruptly from time to time, disturbing the car’s tranquil nature.
The Bridge to the Future
Bentley’s first of five pure electric vehicles arrive in 2025. These will be underpinned by the architecture being developed with Audi under Project Artemis. That means plug-in hybrid variants of the Flying Spur and Bentayga remain the only electrified offerings for a few years. Think of these as the bridge to the future, the vehicles that ease Bentley’s clientele into electrification and introduce them to its benefits.
The perks go beyond luxury, efficiency, and power too. As more regions implement stricture climate and congestion regulations, driving zero-emission vehicles becomes more imperative. Without the ability to operate in all-electric mode, you need to either pay a fee based on your car’s carbon emissions or you can’t enter certain areas, limiting your mobility. A vehicle with 21 miles of all-electric range or more like the Flying Spur Hybrid negates that because you can save the battery charge for these zones and use the internal combustion engine outside of them. Once again, electrification removes compromises in your ability to move about.
On paper, the 2022 Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid looks like a compliance car or a filler so the brand can say it offers electrified vehicles. Upon closer inspection, that’s far from the case because the advantages it brings go beyond the vehicle itself. You get a taste of the future all without compromising on driving dynamics, comfort, and luxury. No, it’s not as smooth as the V-8 and W-12 variants but it more than makes up for it by giving you extended periods of quiet tranquility in all-electric mode. Simply put, the Flying Spur Hybrid brings the best of all worlds. If you have the means to splurge on this, which costs $278,500 as tested, then you’re getting yourself into a true Bentley. A car that doesn’t know the meaning of compromise.