The new Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid Odyssean Edition offers sustainable materials, 400kW and 40km of electric range.
Bentley has launched its Flying Spur Hybrid with this, the limited-run Odyssean Edition, a rival to ultra-luxurious plug-in hybrid limousines such as the Mercedes S 580 e L.
The Flying Spur Hybrid Odyssean Edition is the first production model inspired by Bentley’s EXP 100 GT concept, which was unveiled in 2019 both to celebrate the company’s centenary, and to point in the direction of where the firm’s next 100 years lie.
Bentley is billing the Odyssean Edition as “the first step on a journey to introduce new sustainable materials” to the brand; as well as being capable of travelling for around 40km (official certification pending) in zero-emission electric mode, the Flying Spur Hybrid Odyssean Edition is awash with sustainable, eco-friendly materials.
Its open-pore wood is said to use around 90 per cent less lacquer than high-gloss veneers, while elements of the cabin are made from tweed derived from sustainable British wool. Embellishments on the outside, meanwhile, include a subtle, almost matte finish, rather than the eye-catching chrome or gloss black trim normally associated with Bentley.
As well as a 100kW electric motor fed by a 14.1kWh battery, the Flying Spur Hybrid is powered by the same 2.9-litre V6 petrol engine found in the Audi RS5, providing the car with a total of 400kW for a 0-100kph time of 4.1 seconds, making it just a tenth of a second slower than the Flying Spur V8.
Setting the car apart from other Flying Spurs are treadplates marked ‘Odyssean Edition’, an exclusive embroidery style for the diamond stitching on the upholstery, as well as a “curated exterior palette” of six “recommended” colours – although customers can specify the car as they wish.
The Odyssean Edition also features Bentley’s ‘Touring Specification’, a package of extras that includes driver assistance aides such as adaptive cruise and night vision, plus an illuminated Flying B bonnet mascot, a leather headliner, and the firm’s rotating display as standard.
The new car’s name is a telling nod to the task Bentley has on its hands over the next few years, as the brand will sell only plug-in hybrid models from 2026 and fully electric cars from 2030. Bentley is making no secret of this though, and the firm will offer its first full EV in 2025.
In Greek mythology Odysseus was said to have taken 10 years to return home to Greece following the Trojan war and Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey, which charted his travels, is shorthand for a huge, long-term undertaking. This makes Bentley’s choice of name for the launch edition of its latest plug-in hybrid car a telling one.
Such an undertaking for the British brand on the run up to 2030 is Odyssean not just from a technical point of view, but also from an existential one: Bentley is the largest producer of 12-cylinder petrol engines in the world, and is associated with large, powerful engines as much as it is leather and high-gloss wood interiors.
Bringing customers along with it as it moves to the sustainable, electrified future that all car makers must seemingly embrace if they wish to survive is clearly an essential task for Bentley.
The firm may well take heart from the fact that as well as being synonymous with long journeys, the hero after which its latest Flying Spur is named was also known as ‘Odysseus the Cunning’ for his intellectual strength.