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Best of British plugs in for Australia

Plug-in hybrid Flying Spur to be Australia’s first electrified Bentley, arriving 2022

13 Jul 2021

BRITISH luxury car-maker Bentley is greening its image with the addition of its Flying Spur Hybrid, the brand’s first electrified model for the Australian market, poised to launch in the second half of next year.


The plug-in hybrid limousine, Bentley’s second hybrid after the Bentayga SUV that is yet to reach Australia, is the next step in the brand’s ‘Beyond100’ strategy that will see it depart from internal combustion engines and move to become an EV-only car-maker by the end of the decade.


Bentley leant on parent company Volkswagen Group for the Flying Spur’s drivetrain, sourcing it from Porsche. It is the same powertrain as the Panamera Hybrid, with a 2.9-litre bi-turbo petrol V6 linked to a 100kW electric motor that is fed by a 14.1kW/h lithium-ion battery.


The sedan’s drivetrain pumps out a combined 400kW/750Nm and is different to its SUV sibling, which has an Audi-sourced 3.0-litre bi-turbo V6 petrol and a 94kW electric motor for a combined 330kW/700Nm.


Bentley claims the electrified Flying Spur is good for the 0-100km/h dash in 4.3 seconds, about the same as the petrol V8 version, and faster than the Bentayga Hybrid’s 5.5 seconds.


The company has not released fuel consumption or emission figures pending certification but said the sedan has a driving range of 700km, an electric-only range of 40km and that it is “the most efficient Bentley ever”. It can be fully charged in about two and a half hours from a domestic mains power outlet.


Its zero-emissions ability puts the electrified Flying Spur precisely in its natural environment; the CBDs of cities including London, Brussels, Beijing, Paris, Berlin and Madrid that have restricted access to conventionally powered vehicles.


Bentley’s latest hybrid is subtly distinguished from its V8 and W12-engined siblings by “Hybrid” badges on the front guards, oval-shaped exhaust outlets and a covered charge port on the left-rear fender.


Inside, the engine stop/start button has been replaced with an ‘E Modes’ controller that enables the driver to toggle through EV Drive, Hybrid Mode and Hold Mode.


EV Drive mode is engaged as soon as the car is switched on and maximises the distance the car can travel solely on battery power, making it ideal for city driving and for shorter journeys.


The flow of energy can also be displayed via the infotainment screen. Additional information is available to the driver via the instrument panel, heads-up display and centre screen, including range, battery level and charging information.


Hybrid mode maximises vehicle efficiency and range using data from the navigation system and is ideally used for longer journeys.


It uses predictive E-Mode and engine coasting while following directions from the navigation system, automatically engaging the correct drive mode for each part of the journey and calculating the most efficient use of battery charge.


Hold mode balances engine and electric power to hold high-voltage battery charge for later use by conserving electric energy. It is also the default setting when the driver selects Sport mode to provide consistent boost and recuperation.


Connected car services, in addition to those included with petrol-fuelled Bentleys, include battery charge, car statistics and a special comfort pack that provides remote heating or cooling of the cabin.


Other features include a choice of 20-, 21- or 22-inch wheels in various designs and, as with other Bentley models, customers get an array of exterior and interior customisation options.


All the required market specific cables are included to facilitate charging of the vehicle at the home or at commercial charge points at work or in public car parks. A Bentley-branded wallbox is available as a no-cost option.


All Flying Spurs are manufactured at Bentley’s home in Crewe, which is touted as the world’s first carbon-neutral factory for luxury car production.


Bentley has yet to announce prices for the hybrid. The Flying Spur V8 sells for $378,197 plus costs, and the W12 from $469,000 plus costs.


The first customer deliveries are expected before the end of 2021, with Australian-delivered cars to arrive in the last half of 2022.


Bentley has sold 108 cars this year, up 18.7 per cent on the same period in 2020. The majority (52) are for the Continental coupe and convertible range, with 16 Flying Spurs and 40 Bentagyas sold.

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