Modernisation seems to be a concept Bentley is taking seriously these days. Many other luxury car makers are more cautiously approaching the thorny subject of ratcheting back the excess in a bid to do their bit for climate change. Bentley, however, has made a few metaphorical statements of intent in this regard in recent months.
Admittedly, the company isn’t producing its own version of the Chevrolet Bolt just yet, and it might be a little far-fetched to suggest this would be something on its radar, but in recent months a series of models have been launched by the manufacturer that are shining a distinct headlight towards the future.
Not least of which is the latest V8 Flying Spur, which, if compared to previous models, has undergone what can only be described as a distinct weight reduction programme.
This is the third in line since the model was first introduced in 2005, and it has been completely overhauled. The new Spur still looks like its ancestors, of course, but Bentley wants you to be in no doubt that this is a very different vehicle. Not least in the size of the engine. This is not the first time this powertrain has been available in a Flying Spur, but the tweaks to the rest of the car have all been designed to make the most of its capabilities.
This is classified as a luxury sedan, remember, and you don’t always expect amazing performance from vehicles in this bracket. All told, though, the speed and handling in the new model can still be described as athletic.
The thing is, while this V8 Spur is not as growly as other models have been, you don’t really notice that this is a streamlined version of what came before. The car still feels every bit as fancy as you’d expect, and it still has plenty of oomph.
In fact, Bentley stated that moves towards greener vehicles would “not compromise luxury or performance”. And the engineers and designers have made a fair fist of this in the new V8 Spur. You do not feel short-changed in terms of expecting something a little above average.
Bentley describes the interior of the car as a “cocoon of luxury”. Walnut veneer is fitted as standard, and the hand-stitched leather seats feature a pleasing twin-flute design.
There are sculpted air vents reminiscent of the Bentley "B", and a wide, floating console runs through the centre of the car, from the dashboard to the armchair-style rear seats.
The V8 Spur is a good early example of what the future is likely to hold in terms of luxury motoring. It’s a cert that, as the models progress over the next few years, the engines will get smaller, the bodies less heavy, and that trend seems to be beginning in earnest with this model.
It's not stopping there, either. The company announced the Flying Spur would be available as a hybrid in the future as well, with the stated intent that it will only sell electric vehicles by 2030. This coming version, Bentley says, will be its most efficient model, with the petrol part of its power coming from a 2.9-litre V6 engine, a little smaller than the 6-litre W12 motors fitted into earlier models.
The future is here, then, and it’s distinctly lightweight. Not that that is an insult in the case of the V8 Flying Spur, of course. Powering down seldom felt so agreeable.
Engine: 4-litre V8
Transmission: 8-speed auto
Price: From Dh830,000