Bentley Flying Spur vs Iceland: can you run a £155k luxury car on water, straw and volcanos?

Bentley Flying Spur vs Iceland: can you run a £155k luxury car on water, straw and volcanos?


The irony of taking a big, purple £155k Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid to Iceland to talk about the environment isn’t lost on us. But there is a point to be made. As Magazine’s Ollie Marriage tries to demonstrate by crossing Iceland in a luxury car by using nothing more than water, straw and volcanos to power it. Want to watch a bit of on the internet? Welcome to the most comprehensive collection of official clips you’ll find on YouTube. Whether you’re searching for a caravan challenge, Ken Block in the Hoonicorn, cars versus fighter jets, Stig power laps or the latest Chris Harris Drives, you can find all the iconic films here.Want to share your views with the team?

hello and welcome to dawn in iceland scotland is about 500 miles that way the arctic circle only about 100 miles that way but what looks like the end of the earth is as you pan around actually just a great starting point so we have a plan is it possible to drive from one side of the iceland all the way to the other powered by nothing more than water straw and volcanoes looks a lot like a bentley flying spur doesn’t it and a purple bentley flying spur at that now i know it’s fashionable to say that when you feel cold it’s a bit baltic but here it really is practically arctic so i’m gonna go get in the car and i’ll tell you more once we’re underway just look at this place it’s absolutely astonishing right i’ve just about stopped shivering enough now to be able to tell you about the car because you might be wondering if this is sort of some high-tech bentley test bed but it’s not it’s just the new flying spur hybrid which means it’s got a twin turbo v6 up front mated to 130 horsepower electric motor so there’s nothing particularly radical about it yes it’s a plug-in so you’ve got a maximum range of about 30 miles but the v6 is definitely the dominant partner it develops over three times the power of the electric motor with a total output of 536 horsepower this thing can do 177 miles an hour and not to 60 in 4.1 seconds it looks to me as if bentley is eager to show that eco credentials don’t have to compromise performance speed is all well and good but a hybrid exists to reduce emissions now the official figures for this haven’t yet been announced but when they are i guarantee they will be ridiculous claiming this can do 80 miles to the gallon and emit 60 grams per kilometer of co2 and that’s because the test cycle bears no relation to real life so i tell you what we’ll do we will set some unofficial figures for bentley and to do that i need to go and top up the tanks all the electricity for car charging on iceland comes from renewable energy which is great the only drawback is that bentley charges quite slowly because it’s only got a seven kilowatt ac charger so i’m going to leave that doing its stuff and i’m going to tell you about straw because this isn’t e10 or synthetic fuel it’s not even commercially available yet hence why i’m filling up the old fashioned way instead straw is turned into fermented biomass bear with me a second and that is turned into ethanol and then there’s some chemistry and if you want more than that you look it up on google well i’m a bit busy over here okay so the trip meter’s reset we’re rolling the other side of iceland is 450 miles away and i want to see if we can go the whole journey without having to top up our renewable resources and that is going to be right at the cusp of what this car can do i’m pretty sure a w12 wouldn’t be able to do this journey this might be able to if we’re really gentle with it but actually the hybrid in order to make way for a bigger battery it has actually has a fuel tank that’s 10 liters smaller than the w12s only 80 liters rather than 90 but an 80 liter tank is still a big fuel tank so range is currently saying 391 miles we’ve got i think it’s probably about 435 to do let’s see how we get on the speed limit is 90 kilometers an hour across most of iceland but more than that it is not really a country you want to go haring through everywhere you look it’s just stunning so all you want to do is rest your elbows on the heated heated armrests kick back and just calmly absorb everything in front of you who needs a drone shot montage you just pull over at the side of the road around here and look the bloody glacier it’s astonishing and yes i am driving an ev mode around here but yes the irony is not lost on me that i’ve just driven a heavy luxury car past a glacier that has retreated two kilometers in the last hundred years half of that in the last 20 years if you want a visual representation of global warming there it is and the hybrid flying spur feels like a baby step when what we need is a giant leap bentley’s first all-electric car is still five years away you worry about the impact that you’re having that this journey is having as we drive across iceland but then you look at it and you think well it does at least give you an awareness of what does exist on this planet and i appreciate that cuts both ways coming from a man who is currently driving a bentley through this landscape but in the grand scheme of things this car has now done 235 miles and it has averaged over 28 to the gallon i can’t think of another bentley i’ve ever driven that would do that so yeah this is a bentley that has proved surprisingly economical so far we’ve done nearly 248 miles and we’ve done it at 28 to the gallon but it’s not just out there arty types like to talk about the frame helping to emphasize the painting and it’s the same here i think if the scenery was any less jaw-dropping the damson leather might feel a little bit ott but here when the views are like this it feels all kinds of complementary it’s beautiful the warmth of the materials are just fabulous there’s a lot going on on the instrument display i will say that it’s quite hard to keep pace with all the bits of information but you’ve also got buttons and we like buttons i think the flying spur is a car you want to drive yourself it’s the only big saloon i can think of where you don’t look like the chauffeur when you’re driving it i don’t want to be in the back i want to be right here with this steering wheel and those views ahead hang about i think that’s another perfect opportunity for a stop and a clunky visual metaphor to go with it remember what i was saying about this car being powered by water i think you can see where i’m going with this but i’m gonna go there anyway that’s skogafoss one of the biggest waterfalls in the country and iceland actually develops 70 of its electricity through hydro so yeah that’s the only point i wanted to make back in the car so it can travel at up to 84 miles an hour just on ev mode but you won’t want to because a that crushes the battery very quickly and b the acceleration isn’t exactly pacey you need the petrol for that but actually it drives very smoothly and nicely using the electric the throttle is very nicely calibrated but what bentley haven’t gone in for and they’re not alone in this is they’re not using a one pedal system so if you want to slow down you need to use the brake and you can get a little bit of regeneration in under braking but you’re not going to recharge the battery very quickly what is more interesting though is that this car uses weight to its advantage it’s got good aerodynamics and that means that when you lift off at speed whether you’re using the petrol or the electric you coast using the car’s momentum and then it just doesn’t seem to lose any speed whatsoever helps the economy and i realized i’ve just said petrol and i shouldn’t have said petrol obviously it’s running on straw but straw is important because it’s a second generation biofuel now first generation biofuels things like wheat grain vegetable oil and sugar cane could also be used for human consumption or the land that they’re grown on could be used for production but straw is a waste it’s a by-product the only other thing it’s really used for is bedding for your pet rabbit so can you tell the car is running on straw no of course you can’t it’s got the same rating as regular petrol so it feels no different at all because this is a v6 the engine is not the smoothest thing about it and doesn’t purr and hum like a bentley should but i will say this though we have barely been using more than 2000 revs today and all the handovers and its mannerisms at low revs between electric and petrol straw have been faultless you just don’t know what it’s running on it’s just making some decisions and you’re going along with it so that is not 450 miles to where we’re going it’s more so this isn’t like going to your normal petrol station we’re fueling up at the side of the road in the night doesn’t matter this is all a bit of an adventure iceland’s astonishing landscape its volcanoes waterfalls and glaciers not only give us opportunities for clean energy they also remind us how fragile nature is a fragility at odds with the flying spur hybrid which doesn’t quite convince as a true electrified bentley but it is heading the right way on our 471 mile drive across this spectacular country we averaged exactly 28 mpg and for a bentley that’s impressive it’s not the end result we want but as we said at the beginning of this journey it’s a great place to start from so we didn’t quite manage to drive all the way across iceland without having to refuel but we topped up with our biofuel last night by the side of the road and now we’ve come here to top up our electricity and here is a geothermal power station and the power for this comes from volcanoes foreign

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