The Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid was a unique sensation to drive, to put it mildly. I’ve driven several high-end vehicles that provide a pleasant and smooth ride, but there was something about the Flying Spur Hybrid that was completely unexpected: the impeccable attention to detail and the innate feeling of history.
I had a variety of initial impressions throughout my short tenure as a Bentley driver. The first impression I had was of the appearance, followed by the first impression of the exquisite workmanship in the inside, and then the first impression of actually driving it. However, there was a brief period of time when I was stuck in Los Angeles traffic that I had the overwhelming impression that I was driving a part of history. Driving it gave me a sense of being a part of something bigger than myself, not the same as when you drive a historic automobile. All these connections to Bentley that I had no idea I had suddenly flooded in, fully unprepared for them. And what brought about this moment was the interior’s painstaking attention to detail, which combined traditional Bentley design features with more contemporary ones.
I made sure to go between San Diego and Los Angeles numerous times throughout my week-long automobile rental in order to log a significant number of miles behind the wheel. The Flying Spur Hybrid seamlessly transitioned between its 2.9-liter, twin-turbocharged V6 engine and the 134 horsepower electric motor with its 18kWh battery, handling both heavy traffic and interstate travel with ease. By pressing a button on the centre console, the design makes switching between the various driving modes quite simple. Additionally, the car’s Predictive E-Mode analyses the route’s length, battery life, speed restrictions, junction count, and anticipated levels of traffic congestion to determine when to automatically make the smooth changeover.
The fact that the vehicle generates 537 horsepower from its V6 and hybrid system is very astounding given its enormous frame (5,523lb, to be precise). The Flying Spur Hybrid can go from 0 to 60 mph in only 4.1 seconds and from 90 mph to 100 mph in 9.5 seconds, and it has a peak speed of 177 mph. Despite having a 25-mile battery range, it is ideal for the annoying stop-and-go traffic that major cities are known for.
My particular model was the limited Odyssean Edition, which celebrates sustainability and has distinctive style and materials that are all motivated by the company’s future-focused goals. Little unexpected elements like the painted Pale Brodgar accents on the brightware, lower bodywork, and the 21″ ten twin-spoke wheels greet you before you even get in the vehicle. Additionally, it features insignia for the Odyssean Edition on the ‘D’ pillar and the treadplates when the doors are opened.
The hybrid’s sculptured exterior is impressive and according to Bentley, was inspired by fuselage surfacing in aviation, with its all-aluminum exterior panels with sharp undercut lines and flowing surfaces. It boasts a retractable Flying B mascot on the hood (which lights up at night), imposing radiator matrix that throws back to the 1957 Bentley S1 Continental Flying Spur, LED matrix headlights that actually cut a whole in the beam to avoid blinding oncoming drivers, and a tapered rear designed to feature the Bentley script.
Once you’re inside, you’re hit with a gorgeous wood veneer paneling and three-dimensional diamond-quilted leather inserts in the doors and rear quarter panels. According to Bentley, they wanted to take their tradition of quilting and push the envelope by moving the game on to the next level. Their introduction of 3D leather quilting is a ground-breaking process that hasn’t yet been seen before.
The comfort levels throughout the cabin are unmatched, with heat/cool and massage features in every seat and little design elements that ensure everyone a comfortable ride regardless of their height, like armrests that continue past the door frames to allow one more space to slide their elbows back and mood lighting to ensure everyone a peaceful drive.
And, of course, the technology present gives you everything you could ever want from a driving experience. The rotating centerpiece that previously made a splash in 2020 with the Flying Spur is back, providing customers the ability to choose between the main 12.3” infotainment touchscreen, a set of three analogue gauges (outside air temperature, a compass, and a chronometer) or a book-matched piece of veneer. No matter how many times you see it, the seamless rotation is just as impressive every time.
There’s also a digital instrument display behind the steering wheel that gives the option to view the dials in Classic or Expanded mode — the latter offering a wider view of the navigation map, in addition to the view on the central touchscreen. Then in the back, passengers are treated to their own entertainment system that can be popped out and used like a tablet. This gives rear passengers complete control of things like the climate and music.
The Flying Spur Hybrid serves to further emphasize Bentely’s commitment to its Beyond100 Strategy to become an end-to-end carbon neutral organization and world’s leading sustainability mobility company. As the brand’s most environmentally friendly car to date, sustainability falls right in line with Bentley’s vision of the future and the importance of aligning their values with the needs of their customers. “The values become more and more important,” explains Bentley America’s CEO, Christophe Georges, when speaking about luxury consumers and how the market has shifted. “[Consumers] want to be aligned with the values which are conveyed by luxury brands. It’s all about the emotion we create and the desire it creates.”
By adding the Flying Spur Hybrid to their lineup, Bentley has officially established a family of hybrids for the first time (the other being their Bentayga Hybrid), proving that hybridization doesn’t have to compromise luxury or performance. “The interior execution, the level of craftsmanship we have … [it] will always remain. We can always work with new materials, but the level of craftsmanship and the way we do it is the benchmark and is unique in the industry,” informs Georges. “This is clearly part of our DNA and it is coming from our history. All this design language existed for a very long time. There are some critical characteristics … which are specific to the Bentley DNA, which are never compromised. Even when we speak about electric cars.”
It’s the brand’s DNA that informs the design’s meticulous attention to detail and how it’s been combined with performance. “The first impression of the product is the design,” says Georges. “And then you have … the class and beauty of the interior, which really stands out and conveys the understanding that this has been done with a lot of attention and time. When you touch, you can feel [and] see the quality. And then you have the driving experience; the way the car drives and the emotion it creates. The power and handing. It can drive as a sports car and at the same time, it gives you all the feeling [of luxury] . And this combination is quite unique in the market. The best combination of luxury and performance.”
Designed, engineered and handcrafted in Bentley’s carbon-neutral factory in Crewe, UK, the Flying Spur Hybrid is available to order in most markets, but is currently not available in EU27, UK, Switzerland, Israel, Ukraine, Norway, Turkey and Vietnam. If you’re in the market for a Flying Spur Hybrid, the price probably doesn’t matter much to you, but it starts at around $210,000 if you’re curious.