MALIBU, Calif. – When I to start with moved to New York Metropolis in the early 1990s, two occupations ahead of I turned an automotive writer, I worked as a preschool trainer in Brooklyn. I rode my bike to operate from Manhattan every single working day, about the Brooklyn Bridge, one particular of the most bountiful options for auto-recognizing in a town with the nation’s lowest prices of auto ownership. The most notable vehicle I noticed routinely was a stately and really violet Bentley sedan. The only point far more outrageous than its Azure Purple exterior coloration, and the unique rumbling of its signature 6.75-liter V8, was its vanity license plate. Seeming to signify that its operator was a proctologist or gastroenterologist, it study, MD TUSH.
As I drove that car’s descendant, an excessively purple Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid, I couldn’t stop pondering of MD TUSH, whomever they were. Their flash. Their panache. Their dedication to currently being seen – even from the elevated bike route of New York’s primary suspension bridge. 1 could argue that this is section of the position of an celebration car or truck like this, a $204,000 (base price) sedan that is as prolonged as a Chevrolet Tahoe. It is meant to make an effect.
So it truly is counterintuitive that the Flying Spur Hybrid usually starts off in EV Travel method, which prioritizes the sole use of the rechargeable 14.1 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. It decidedly does not make an effect. I suppose that one particular are unable to discount the ingredient of surprise. But in that manner – just one of a few accessed by means of a metal button on the middle console’s button-resplendent floor – the major 4-door skulks off with eerie silence, and will continue to do so for about 25 miles on the European WLTP cycle (EPA certification has not nevertheless been accomplished, but it will probable be reduce than the EU variety), whereupon it requires 2.5 hrs to demand with a rapid charger of unspecified voltage by using a conspicuous port on the remaining rear fender.
As a preview of Bentley’s promised all-electric potential – which will start off with its to start with fully battery powered-car in 2025, en route to a comprehensive-line voltaic conversion by 2030 – the Flying Spur has some allure. With its silence, thrust, and uncanny eeriness, electric powered power fits extremely-luxury limousines.
But though the electric powered motor provides a not-insignificant 134 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque – more than enough to propel the 5,523-pound behemoth up to 80 mph, ultimately – it’s mainly intended for lower-speed use all around town, notably in urban locales that have or are about to ban (or intensely tax) the use of ICE autos in the town center.
As a stopgap compliance vehicle, this will make some perception. Nonetheless, like Bentley’s past effort at hybridization, the Flying Spur Hybrid sports activities some worries. With its new 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 introducing 410 hp and 406 lb-ft to the electron sipper, the PHEV has a combined complete of 536 hp and 553 lb-ft. That is just a bit fewer than the 386-pound-lighter Flying Spur V8, but acceleration doesn’t undergo as a lot as you’d hope: the -60 mph time of 4.1 seconds is just one-tenth of a next slower than the V8. The trouble is it does so in a fairly un-Bentley-like manner. The powertrain does not feel as effortless as a automobile from the Traveling B brand name ought to. There’s some thing marginally coarse about its motion, its emotion. One thing virtually achieving, like the motor is operating more durable than it really should to obtain its tasks.
It also feels oddly indecisive when in the two other travel modes: Hybrid, which blends electric power resources to optimize performance, and Maintain mode, which proficiently locks out the all-electric vary so there is certainly however some obtainable when you attain one of these EV-only urban facilities. Alternatively of a reliable, and pleasant, thrum, the powertrain switches modalities with the capricious fervor of a cat with the midnight crazies. Electric! Engine! Each! Motor! Electrical! It’s noticeable, which it shouldn’t be in a Bentley, all the extra so since the brand provides a dedicated gauge in the cluster that charts only this. It’s the very first time I missed the times of old, when autos like this did not even hassle with a tachometer. Rolls-Royces continue to you should not.
This touchiness also by some means took absent from the car’s driving, managing, and braking capacities. In prior engagements, the non-hybrid Traveling Spur completely astounded with its agility, the outcome in aspect of its trick four-wheel-steering procedure, its active anti-roll bars, and the disc brakes housed within 20-, 21-, or 22-inch wheels, every of which is somewhere around the sizing of Polyphemus’ make contact with lens. The mountain and canyon roadways pushed right here in Malibu are amongst the most suitable in The us. But I did not experience the exact wonderful, joyous giddyup of the W12 or V8 in the Spurple Reign. I tried out the activity method, dubbed “Bentley,” and even toyed with the Specific environment for the computer system controlled throttle, steering, and transmission. It was much above normal, but no matter what I did, I couldn’t get the spurs into this Spur.
The good thing is, the cabin maintains most of the characteristics that make a contemporary Bentley these kinds of an very pleasurable position. The dolphin-colored leather-based on the seats and steering wheel may possibly as nicely have clicked like Flipper it was so enchanting. The purple leather-based all over the place else would’ve manufactured Prince experience at household. The optional 5-determine Naim stereo definitely pulverized, transforming the new Weeknd album into nihilistic disco bucket wheel excavator. The carbon fiber trim is no doubt amid the finest out there, but personally, of the 56 billion strategies Bentley suggests you can configure a Flying Spur, carbon fiber wouldn’t be on the create sheet for my $250,000 sedan. Crewe’s veneers are between the most effective in the world so why skimp on the marquetry in favor of, nicely, plastics?
Absolutely nothing is skimped on in the again seat, which I savored even more than the thrones up when given an option to be chauffeured. It reclined, it lacked superfluous Liquid crystal display displays. (Thank you, I have my personal excellent display screen here in my hand.) It even had massagers, something that purple butt doctor’s Bentley didn’t have, even although, unlike this imperfect version of a virtually best sedan, it would have been accurately on model.