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Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid (2019 - 2022)

Nobody makes a car quite like Bentley.

Starting price:

Why we love it:
  • Supremely opulent
  • Endless customisation options
  • Superb fuel consumption (for a Bentley)
Where it could be better:
  • Compromised ride comfort
  • Reduced boot space
  • Driver visibility is a tad poor
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Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid Mulliner

Nobody makes a car quite like Bentley. Well, maybe Rolls-Royce would have something to say about that. Nevertheless, the Flying Spur Hybrid Mulliner is an excitable saloon that promises extravagance, opulence, and boundless luxury for all fortunate enough to sail in it.

The Flying Spur is effectively a stretched, four-door Bentley Continental GT. Given that the coupe is Bentley's closest thing to a supercar, it should provide a fantastic driving experience.

Bentley doesn’t do trim levels like ordinary manufacturers. First, you have to select which version you want. And the Flying Spur comes in no fewer than seven different flavors – including the menacing ‘Speed Edition 12’, a blacked-out beast celebrating the last hurrah for its iconic 6.0-litre W12 engine.

Secondly, you have to select the powertrain, which includes that W12 engine (it produces 634PS, by the way), a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 (549PS), and Bentley's own plug-in hybrid, comprising a 2.9-litre V6 and an electric motor. We are interested in the latter – producing 544PS – and we're driving the Mulliner Blackline specification, which Bentley describes as the "pinnacle of automotive luxury".

Thirdly, you can then choose your own design of colors and interiors, either by selecting Heather, Sienna, Ascot, or Flare - Bentley's suggestions - or, of course, completely customizing your own. It doesn't stop there, either. You can then customize just about everything on the car, and even if it's not in the brochure, Bentley will probably cater to your suggestions - for a price.

The Mulliner has 22-inch black painted and polished wheels (with self-leveling wheel badges!), a 12.3-inch infotainment touchscreen with Android Auto/Apple CarPlay, digital radio and SatNav, a 10-speaker sound system, silver door mirror caps, sports pedals, acoustic windows, keyless entry, an automatic boot lid, and electrically deployable picnic tables. That really is the tip of the iceberg.

You don't need to know precisely what 'diamond milled aluminum' or 'three-dimensional diamond hide' means to understand that this is a Bentley and this is all about indulgence. If you intend to drive it yourself, you may be interested to know that this model has all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid Mulliner

From the outside, the Flying Spur Hybrid Mulliner looks poised and extravagant. It also appears muscley. The grille is so broad that, if it opened its mouth, it would look like it could gobble up a small hatchback, while crystal-like circular headlights and sidelights give off a modern take on a classic look. The widened lower grille also dominates, creating space for air intakes and fog lights. Around the side are chrome fenders, massive alloys, and silver strips. Meanwhile, the back seems slightly more sensible until you look down and stare at the wide quad exhaust tips.

You have likely already formed an impression of the interior – and it's a case of 'where do you want to start'? We are told that we've got a tri-tone cabin in Linen and Beluga leather, with a Gold accent and facias in Grand Piano Black. The steering wheel is two-toned – mainly cream but with a black outline – and there’s lots of chrome and brushed aluminium in the centre console and along the dashboard. Our infotainment screen even rotates to hide it from view, revealing three analogue dials instead. Behind the steering wheel, a digital instrument display replaces the analogue dials. Even the gear lever – standing upright in brushed aluminium – looks incredibly satisfying to hold. And every switch is so well-damped that you could pass the time just by pushing buttons and feeling the happiness course through your veins.

Polished wood veneer features heavily – again, with many colour options – while the build quality is utterly superb.

On The Road

Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid Mulliner

Handling & Performance

As we've already covered, the Flying Spur Mulliner's plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version is 544PS. However, the accelerator pedal delivers an instant burst of torque when pressed, so the responsiveness is greater than with the V8 or W12 engines. As a result, and due to the 4.3-second 0-62mph time, you can overtake quickly, and really get going if you find a stretch of road long enough. In terms of handling, this is where the Flying Spur Hybrid Mulliner struggles, perhaps unsurprisingly. All that weight being shifted to one side as you try to take a bend at speed will cause some understeer on entry and, once you've dealt with that, oversteer on exit. That is par for the course with big saloons, with the Flying Spur simply trying to resist what you’re doing by leaning the other way. Take things steadier, though, and it'll reward you with a decent weight and feel to the steering, which provides plenty of feedback, enabling you to point the car in the chosen direction and have confidence it'll turn in. Once again, it's just a matter of patience with it. Ride comfort is lovely, helped by the air suspension, which adds plenty of absorption to the ride.

Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid Mulliner

Space & Practicality

Visibility in the Flying Spur is quite heavily compromised, with thick pillars at both the front and rear. However, a reversing camera is among the convenient technology offered as standard to overcome this problem.

The Mulliner can be specced as a four or five-seater. We have got the four-seater version, which features a centre console that runs the entire car’s length, adding to the convenience.

We would personally pick this unless you need five seats – and even then, the middle isn’t the nicest place to sit. Why? Well, it’s squashed between two full-size seats, which seems at odds with the relaxing sumptuousness offered by the Flying Spur.

The electric front seats have lots of adjustment, so finding a comfortable driving position is simple. You won't struggle for headroom or legroom in the front or back. However, rivals from BMW and Mercedes-Benz – notably the 7-Series and S-Class in their long wheelbase forms – actually offer more room inside, which may not please those looking to be driven by a chauffeur.

The hybrid's boot space measures 351 litres - 69 litres less than in the non-hybrids - and, unless you're going to risk putting objects on the back seats, you won't get any more, as the rear seats don't fold down, even in the five-seater. Again, both BMW and Mercedes-Benz offer more room – even in their plug-in hybrid versions.


Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid Mulliner

Running Costs

At least one consolation of owning the PHEV version is that it’ll cut the otherwise horrendously high running costs of operating a Bentley. It will do 85.6mpg, emitting just 75g/km of CO2.

Admittedly, those figures aren't striking for a plug-in hybrid. But, for a Bentley, we'll gladly take it and run, especially when you consider the V8 returns 22.2mpg (270g/km of CO2) while the W12 manages 18.8mpg (340g/km of CO2).

Servicing costs for the hybrid are likely to be incredibly high, though at least you can save some money in the benefit-in-kind tax if you choose the Flying Spur as a company car. It will also do 25 miles of all-electric driving on a full charge of its 18kWh (15kWh usable) battery, although the actual figure is likely to be a little lower in practice.

You only get a three-year warranty from Bentley, but it comes with unlimited mileage – and you can upgrade to four or five-year warranties at a cost.


Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid Mulliner

Overall, the Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid Mulliner is utterly fantastic – as long as you (or your company) can spare the money to buy/lease and maintain one. Most of us mere mortals haven't got access to that kind of cash, though.

So, if faced with such a problem, you may be better off going for a BMW 7-Series or Mercedes-Benz S-Class instead. The German models are more practical, offering greater interior space, larger boot capacities, and more standard kit. And, while still expensive, they're a fraction of the price.

Both cars drive better than the Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid - and saving money through better fuel consumption likely won't appeal to you if you can afford the Bentley in the first place. But all this is massively missing the point.

Frankly, the Flying Spur Hybrid Mulliner could be terrible to drive, highly impractical and do 5mpg, and we'd still say it was amazing! Why? Because of its looks and what the automaker stands for. A Bentley is a piece of automotive art, and the marque appeals to customers in its unique way, after all.

If you have got your heart set on a Flying Spur Hybrid Mulliner, the drawbacks don't matter a single jot.

Secure your test drive today
Request a Bentley Flying Spur test drive
By Tim Barnes-Clay
Apr 16, 2024

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