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Ettore Bugatti had it wrong: Bentleys are really the world’s fastest trains because that’s what they go like. And I mean that in the best way possible; 2023 Bentayga EWB, anyone? Soon, though, they’ll be the fastest electric trains as the brand becomes EV-only. But before that happens, Bentley is slowly transitioning its leather-enshrined speedsters to hybrid power. And the next step in that plan is the 2023 Bentley Flying Spur S.

The 2023 Bentley Flying Spur S subtly sharpens the brand’s cheapest sedan into one fine flying mallet

Although the Continental GT is one of the brand’s ‘entry-level’ models, it’s not the cheapest Bentley. That would be the Flying Spur, which, unlike the two-door Conti, is a sedan. But just because the Flying Spur is the most affordable Bentley doesn’t mean it’s not luxurious. And keep in mind that this 2.5-ton sedan goes over 200 mph.

However, while this road-devouring speed is what defines many Bentleys, not all owners stick to straight lines. For those clients, Bentley offers S versions of its vehicles with a bit more athleticism. The current-gen Bentayga and Continental GT have already shown off their S incarnations. And now it’s the Flying Spur’s turn.

The biggest visual difference between the 2023 Bentley Flying Spur S and the standard car are the former’s lack of chrome. Apart from the Bentley badge and trunk script, all the usual brightwork is blacked out. The grille, lower front fascia, mirrors, window trim, even the headlights and taillights—they’re all black or tinted black. So are the tri-spoke wheels. However, the brake calipers are painted red.

As for the interior, the 2023 Bentley Flying Spur S offers multiple two-tone leather-and-microfiber color schemes. Quilting costs extra but replacing the ‘S’ decal on the headrests with Bentley’s winged logo is a no-cost option, Car and Driver says. In addition, the Flying Spur S gets model-specific illuminated sill plates, a metal ‘S’ dash panel, and motorsport-chronometer-derived gauges like the Continental GT Speed.

But Bentley doesn’t just give the Flying Spur S some new trim and call it a day. The sedan also comes standard with a Sport mode, as well as rear-wheel steering and active anti-roll bars. Although it won’t be beating any Porsches at the autocross track, this should make the Flying Spur S sharper through the corners.

For the first time, an S-badged Bentley is available as a hybrid

The rear 3/4 view of a gray 2023 Bentley Flying Spur S driving down a European mountain forest road
2023 Bentley Flying Spur S rear 3/4 | Bentley

The 2023 Bentley Flying Spur S’ biggest news, though, is under its hood. Although the standard Flying Spur offers a twin-turbo W12, the Flying Spur S doesn’t offer it. Instead, its speediest powertrain is a twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter V8 hooked to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic and AWD.

However, I don’t think potential buyers will miss the W12 much. With 542 hp and 569 lb-ft of torque on tap, the Flying Spur S goes 0-60 mph in a claimed 4.0 seconds. Plus, if Car and Driver’s testing is anything to go by, Bentley might be underestimating the Flying Spur S’ speed. Also, the S gets a redesigned sports exhaust to give more sound to the fury.

But the big news is the 2023 Flying Spur S is the first Bentley S model with a hybrid powertrain. Specifically, it’s the same plug-in powertrain the non-S Flying Spur Hybrid uses. That means a twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 hooked up to an electric motor and 14.1-kWh battery pack.

The Flying Spur S Hybrid ‘only’ has 536 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque, so its top speed is ‘just’ 177 mph. However, it has a 26-mile pure-electric driving range. And while it doesn’t have a sports exhaust, Sport mode does enhance the engine note, but only for the driver. After all, it’s still a Bentley.

How much does it cost?

As of this writing, Bentley hasn’t released pricing or availability details for the 2023 Flying Spur S. However, it’s already listed on Bentley’s online configurator, so it should arrive in dealerships relatively soon.

As for the price, Car and Driver estimates the V8 model will start around $245K and the Hybrid at $243K. For comparison, the V8-powered non-S Flying Spur currently starts at $208,225 and the Hybrid at $213,325. So, who’s ready to board Bentley’s plug-in hybrid train?

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