Autocar reader Chris Thomson spotted this plug-in hybrid Flying Spur
The car is insured with a 2.9-litre engine
Confirming that it'll share its powerplant with the Panamera plug-in
Insurance database information shows that a recently spotted development car, caught on camera in London by Autocar reader Chris Thomson, is using the 2.9-litre V6 engine that’s also used by the Porsche saloon, rather than the 3.0-litre unit used in other hybrid models from the Volkswagen Group, such as the Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid.
The test car's hybrid system is evident due to the fitment of two fuel filler caps, one of which has been taped over.
Bentley refrained from commenting on the car when asked why a lower-capacity engine is to be used in the Flying Spur PHEV, but Autocar understands the 2.9-litre version has been chosen because it can provide a higher maximum power output.
This is because it features a larger crankshaft (which shortens the engine’s stroke) than the 3.0-litre engine. The Flying Spur PHEV is therefore expected to be launched with at least 456bhp and 516lb ft – the outputs of the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid. The Porsche is due in a higher state of tune at a later date, suggesting the pricier Flying Spur might be offered from the off with more power.
The Flying Spur PHEV is expected to have an all-electric range of around 30 miles. This will be an essential feature if it is to comply with ever-stricter global emissions regulations, particularly in China.
The plug-in hybrid will be part of the next-generation Flying Spur range, which, as scooped by Autocar recently, will be launched next year with a more distinctive design to more clearly carve out its own identity among its range-mates.
The next-generation car will also be offered with V8 and W12 petrol engines, but there won't be a diesel option.
Bentley’s push to electricification will also lead to the launch of an all-electric model that will have a technical relationship with the Porsche Mission E via its J1 electric architecture. This and other electrified cars, including versions of the Continental GT and Bentayga, form part of a plan to produce a plug-in variant of each of Bentley's models by 2025.