Bentley sparks a buzz
Luxury marque's Flying Spur Hybrid electrifying Thai motorists seeking the best of both worlds
published : 30 Jan 2023 at 05:43
newspaper section: Life
writer: Kingsley Wijayasinha
British luxury carmaker Bentley enjoyed record sales in 2022, with almost all of the 81 orders placed during the year being for hybrid vehicles.
The most popular Bentley model is currently the Flying Spur Hybrid, which accounted for 49% of Bentley orders in Thailand during the past year at 40 orders, followed by the Bentayga Hybrid with 35 orders and a 43% share.
While orders for the Flying Spur Hybrid have been accepted since early 2022, the car made its official debut only last month at the Thailand International Motor Expo.
According to authorised importer Bentley Bangkok, hybrid luxury cars are gaining popularity among buyers in Thailand due to their ability to operate in electric mode while not compromising luxury or performance. Lower tax rates for hybrid vehicles also help bring down retail prices.
According to Bentley Bangkok, the Flying Spur Hybrid is available in three variants for 2023: S (16 million baht), Azure (16.6 million baht) and Mulliner (19 million baht).
Compared to the ICE version, this Flying Spur is differentiated by a Hybrid front wing badge, quad oval tailpipes and a charging flap on the left-hand rear wing.
The Flying Spur Hybrid has a body length of 5,316mm and wheelbase at a lengthy 3,194mm, ensuring a spacious cabin.
The new hybrid powertrain combines a 2.9-litre V6 petrol engine with a 100kW electric motor to deliver a combined 536bhp (95bhp higher than the Bentayga Hybrid) and 750Nm.
On its own, the new 2.9-litre V6 engine achieves 410bhp and 550Nm of torque up to 5,650rpm, sharing similar design methodology as the 4.0-litre V8. The twin turbochargers and primary catalytic convertors are positioned within the V of the engine. Fuel injectors and spark plugs have been centralised within each combustion chamber to ensure optimal spray patterns and combustion paths, and the camshafts are variable by up to 50 degrees. The engine delivers more than 150bhp per litre, even higher than the Flying Spur V8.
Meanwhile, the electronic motor is located between the transmission and the engine and provides up to 134bhp and 400Nm of torque. The permanent magnet synchronous motor delivers full torque instantly for silent acceleration from standing start, and the rapid response of torque minimises any perceived delay often associated with turbo lag.
It's the most efficient Bentley at the moment and has a range of 800km when fully fuelled. The 18kWh lithium-ion battery can be fully charged in two-and-a-half hours and offers a WLTP electric range of 41km. The power electronics convert the energy stored from the high-voltage battery to supply the e-motor or supplement the vehicle's existing 12V electrical infrastructure.
In terms of performance, the hybrid is almost as quick as the V8 variant, accelerating from rest to 100kph in 4.3secs, while the top speed is claimed at 285kph. In electric mode, the maximum speed is limited to 140kph, which is adequate for highways.
To provide further feedback to the driver, instruments include those showing additional information when the car is operating solely in EV drive as well as when regenerating whilst decelerating or using the combustion engine.
Inside the cabin, the automatic start/stop switch has been replaced with a control for the three E-Mode settings -- EV Drive, Hybrid Mode and Hold Mode -- enabling the driver to better manage battery usage during a journey.
EV Drive mode is engaged as soon as the car is switched on and maximises the electric driving experience, while additional information is available via the instrument panel, heads up display and centre screen for information on range, battery level and charging status.
Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid
Engine: 2.9-litre V6 TFSi ICE; 103kW electric motor
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Power (combined): 536bhp
Torque (combined): 750Nm
Battery capacity: 18kWh
Maximum speed (combined): 285kph
Maximum speed (electric only): 140kph