Bentley’s Commitment To A Sustainable Future Sees Electrifying New Developments

Bentley Motors has christened the new year with a monumental announcement confirming the retirement of its legendary 12-cylinder W12 petrol engine. The luxury car manufacturer introduced the W12 in 2003 and has produced more than 100,000 units at Bentley’s Crewe factory in Cheshire over the last two decades. With production ceasing in April 2024, this marks the first step in the company’s sustainability pledge to have all its cars be fully electric by the beginning of the next decade. 

This shift aligns with broader industry trends and governmental regulations, such as the UK’s ban on selling new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2030, with plug-in hybrids to follow suit five years later. This has caused other significant manufacturers, like Jaguar and BMW, to move towards adapting their vehicles with either hybrid or full-electric motors. Bentley follows this trend as the automaker has committed to offering hybrid powertrains across its entire model catalogue after transitioning away from its iconic petrol engine. 

Despite bidding farewell to the iconic W12 engine, Bentley intends to allow car enthusiasts one last launch featuring the renowned motor. The Bentley Flying Spur Speed will be featured in a series of models that showcase the company’s sustainable evolution with a mixture of hybrid and petrol vehicles. True to fashion, the W12 engine delivers an exhilarating 467kW at 6000rpm and a torque of 900Nm between 1350rpm and 4500rpm. Thereby propelling the Flying Spur Speed from 0 to 100km/h in a mere 3.8 seconds, with a top speed reaching an impressive 333km/h.

In addition to the W12 engine, Bentley will offer a hybrid variant of the Flying Spur as the first step towards a greener future. Powered by a 2.9-litre V6 twin-turbo engine and a 100kW/400Nm electric motor, the Flying Spur Hybrid provides an eco-friendly alternative without compromising performance. The 18kWh lithium-ion battery, positioned under the boot floor, offers approximately 40km of purely electric driving range and a top speed of 128km/h. Moreover, charging the battery is a convenient process, with Bentley stating that using a home-installed single-phase 7.2kWh wall box takes around 2.5 hours to charge from zero to 100 per cent; alternatively, the vehicle can also be plugged into a regular household socket, although, this will take longer to complete a full charge. 

In terms of technology, Bentley ensures a seamless and sophisticated driving experience with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT) that transfers power to all four wheels. Furthermore, the Flying Spur Hybrid features three drive modes – EV, Hybrid, and Hold – catering to different driving scenarios and preferences. For example, Bentley suggests that drivers complete small regular trips, like work commutes, in EV mode and then switch to Hybrid for long haul drives that would benefit from the added power of the V6 engine. Bentley claims that by using this combined cycle for the Flying Spur Hybrid, drivers could achieve an impressive fuel efficiency of 3.3L per 100km. 

In addition to showcasing Bentley’s proficiency in powerful vehicles, the Flying Spur also demonstrates the manufacturer’s prowess for design and craftsmanship both inside and out. At 5.3 metres in length, this vehicle eclipses other cars with its mammoth size, although the exterior design and standard Cambrian Grey colouring disguise its substantial size. Other colourways are also available for the Flying Spur variants, with the Spur Speed featuring Sunset Orange and Deep Red paint options, while the Spur Azure can be purchased in either Teal or Khaki Green. These standout colours are also accompanied by the standard Black and Charcoal Grey variants offered across all models in the Flying Spur Launch.

The interior of the Flying Spur exudes luxury, with high-class detailing like authentic timber veneers, knurled chrome dials, and Beluga trim. The seating is clad in soft ‘Linen’ leather, with contrast stitching and seat piping available for an additional cost. While both rows of seating are heated, the rear seats also include adjustable settings and massage features to ensure a relaxing passenger experience. In terms of practicality, the hybrid variant sacrifices some boot space due to the battery array under the floor, but the luxurious experience remains uncompromised. 

The interior also boasts a variety of modern technology and infotainment, including a standard Apple CarPlay and a suite of climate controls. The optional Rotating Display function for the front command centre can hide the central screen, creating a dash-width expanse of Walnut timber reminiscent of classic coachbuilding. Furthermore, the Flying Spur Speed includes removable tablets on the backs of the front seats that can be connected to streaming services. 

The Flying Spur Speed stands as a tribute to the W12 engine’s legacy, offering a driving experience that merges brains and brawn seamlessly. Despite its hefty starting price of over $570,000 before on-road costs, the Bentley Flying Spur Speed has proven irresistible to luxury car enthusiasts, with all 18 available units of the Batur already sold. As Bentley navigates the evolving landscape of the automotive industry, the Flying Spur Speed pays homage to the brand’s legacy while hinting at a future dominated by electric and hybrid technology. The retirement of the W12 engine is a testament to Bentley’s resilience in adapting to changing times, as the company waves in its new era of electric vehicles that continue to uphold its century-old tradition of excellence.