Posh splice

The very first electrified Bentley sedan has finally made its way to the Philippines, and it should prove to all and sundry that efforts at reducing one’s carbon footprint need not get in the way of, well, luxury and performance.

The Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid, which now joins the V8- and W12-powered variants of the Crew-headquartered brand’s full-sized high-performance luxury saloon, is a study in refinement. Engineers effectively conscripted a 2.9-liter V6 gas engine and complemented it with Bentley’s proprietary E-Motor which is connected to an 18kWh lithium-ion battery. On tap is a total of 544hp and 750Nm, with the “energy stored in the battery supplementing the existing 12-volt electrical infrastructure of the vehicle.”

The clock is loudly ticking for fossil fuels and Bentley, with the company promising to offer a hybrid option across its entire model range by 2024. Things will ramp up fairly quickly, as the marque’s first electric vehicle (BEV) rolls out in 2025 and, by 2030 only BEVs will be sold. This means the world’s largest producer of 12-cylinder gas engines is quickly pivoting into a champion of electrification.

The bigger picture is tucked into Bentley’s Beyond100 strategy, as the company “aims to become a global leader in sustainable luxury mobility. To achieve this, Bentley is reinventing every aspect of its operations as it seeks to become an end-to-end carbon neutral organization on its second century.”

In a statement, Bentley Manila President Benedicto Coyiuto said, “The new Flying Spur hybrid ushers in Bentley’s electrified lineup in the Philippines. This model arrives immediately supported by the infrastructure, technical expertise, and strategic alliances which PGA Cars – the official and exclusive partner of Bentley in the Philippines – has invested on and established in the past few years.”

I recently had the chance to try the vehicle in Singapore, and I am pleased to report that the Flying Spur Hybrid scores high in both performance and posh. For a heavy, hulking sedan (weighing more than 5,500lbs) it shames much smaller vehicles by being an agile rabbit – sprinting from a standstill to 100kph in a mere 4.3 seconds. Bentley says that this is more proof in the pudding, that “hybridization does not compromise luxury or performance, because the blend between the internal combustion engine and electric motor is unperceivable,” it declares in a release. An eight-speed dual clutch automatic transmission allows the driver to access the performance goodness – on the way to a claimed top rate of 285kph.

Bentley Manila Managing Director Christopher Chan

The Flying Spur PHEV’s lithium-ion battery can be fully charged in as little as 2.5 hours, and when at 100%, it promises up to 41 proven kilometers of pure electric range even with the A/C on. This is simply blissful whether you’re the one piloting the head-turner, or lounging in the backseat with the massage function turned on. There’s really no “best seat in the house” when each one offers massive amounts of comfort and luxury.

The pure-electric capability saves gas (and cuts carbon emissions), and then when that is depleted, the V6 will kick in seamlessly in the inimitable Bentley fashion.  By default, the Flying Spur’s system will select the EV Drive mode – perfect for shorter, intra-city trips. But you can choose Hold, which will let you access the EV range when you desire it. Hybrid, of course, intelligently combines the V6 and E-Motor for optimum range and performance.

Those who worry that electrification will compromise the values that Bentley vehicles are known for should rest easy. The Flying Spur Hybrid is a proper Bentley. It just happens to be electrified.

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