Bentley is barreling toward an all-electric future by 2030, but the British ultraluxury brand is giving one of its soon-to-be-extinct engines some extra limelight.
For 2021, Bentley is reviving the optional V-8 engine on the Flying Spur sedan, which was redesigned for 2020. The 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged engine, also used in the Continental GT and Bentayga SUV, has 542 hp and 568 pound-feet of torque. The W-12-powered Flying Spur packs 626 hp and 664 pound-feet of torque.
"We are able to get almost the same performance out of the 4.0-liter V-8 as we have from our W-12," said Hans Holzgartner, global product manager for the Flying Spur. "The V-8 ... doesn't quite have that ultimate punch of the W-12, but it's a fun car. And for most people, it'll do 99.9 percent of what they need every day."
The Flying Spur with the V-8 weighs about 220 pounds less than the W-12 model. The V-8 is also equipped with cylinder deactivation for improved fuel efficiency. The Flying Spur V-8 starts at $198,725, while the W-12 model starts at $223,725. Both prices include shipping. U.S. deliveries should begin early in the second quarter.
Bentley forecasts a majority of Flying Spur customers globally will opt for the V-8 variant in 2021, with only about 16 percent sticking with the W-12.
"We kind of know what to expect from previous generations," Holzgartner said of Flying Spur V-8 customers. "So we know those people, by definition, will be perhaps a little bit younger. A little bit more adventurous in the way they spec cars. So I'm fully expecting to see more blackline specification, for example, more black 22-inch rims."
He said W-12 buyers tend to be a "classic customer" and pick traditional interiors with a wood veneer.
Bentley has repositioned the Flying Spur as its flagship model after discontinuing the larger, and lower volume, Mulsanne. "We will be building around between 1,500 and 2,000 Flying Spurs a year versus around 700 Mulsannes a year," Holzgartner said. "So there's a clear leap there in terms of numbers."