2015 Bentley Flying Spur V8
Last year, the Bentley Flying Spur dropped Continental from its name, but it lost nothing when it came to showcasing British luxury performance motoring at its best. Well, this year it loses something else…4-cylinders from its signature W12 engine. So, let’s see if less turns out to be more.
Yes folks, as much as we hate to admit it, sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. That’s where this 2015 Bentley Flying Spur V8 comes in.
For some, 12-cylinders pumping in harmony to produce glorious amounts of power is just more than they can handle or perhaps wish to pay for.
But this is no lightweight V8 we’re talking about here. It’s Audi’s aluminum 4.0-liter twin-turbo unit that, after some unique Bentley tweaks, performs some internal combustion magic of its own, pulling 500-horsepower and 487 lb-ft. of torque. That may be over 100-horsepower less than the W12, but with 100-pounds of weight also removed from the front end, it should translate to a more enjoyable experience at the track.
So we “suited up” in proper Bentley fashion and made haste to our test facility. And unless you’ve recently driven the W12 Flying Spur, you’d be hard pressed to notice a difference in acceleration, as this thing just flat takes off. There’s gobs of power off the line, and rear-biased all-wheel-drive to apply it.
Power continues to build in a very linear fashion, and 60 miles-per-hour arrives in just 4.6-seconds. That’s only a tenth off our time in the W12. The 8-speed automatic transmission provided smooth and fast shifts, and in 12.9-seconds, we were at the end of the ¼-mile with the needle pointing at 111 on the speedo. So, unless you absolutely will settle for nothing but the best or are always in a real hurry, there’s not much need for the 12.
At 5,300-pounds plus, there’s still a lot of weight to hustle through the cones. But this Flying Spur does so with surprising agility, though you want to make sure suspension is at its firmest setting to keep body roll at a minimum. You can find both under and over steer should you go looking, but initiating either requires some very aggressive inputs with the wheel or with the throttle.
Even more amazingly, bringing this 2½-ton dreamliner to a halt from 60 happens in just 107-feet, with smooth and steady stops that belie the frictional ferociousness that is transpiring behind this car’s 21-inch painted alloys.
Though technically no longer part of the Continental family, the Flying Spur sees similar exterior embellishments to last year’s Continental GT Coupe V8. That means it’ll take a keen or perhaps distinguished eye to spot the dark finish to the grilles, red background of the flying B logo, and figure-8 shaped exhaust finishers.
There’s always lots to love when you’re talking about Bentley interiors. Now, we can’t say this Newmark tan motif would be our first choice in color as we prefer to leave the saddle-brown theme to our pickups, but material quality and finish are every bit as exquisite as you would expect.
Amenities include beautiful Eucalyptus wood veneer, picnic trays, Naim for Bentley Premium Audio, refrigerated bottle cooler, massaging seats, full length center console with seating for just two in the back, dual LCD screens, and a remote to control most of the cars functions from the back seat.
If you’re smart enough to send the chauffeur home for the day and take up residence in the front seat, you’ll agree that this may be the best handling close to 3-ton sedan out there. It does indeed feel massive, but highly capable and stable. Just plan ahead a bit for turns as there’s no dartiness to it.
While this basic chassis has been around for quite some time, and we wonder just how much further corporate parent Volkswagen can go with it, does the average luxury buyer really care about any of that? Probably not, and you won’t either. Just relax and enjoy the ride.
Despite the smaller V8 engine, there’s still a gas guzzler tax, as Government Fuel Economy Ratings come in at 14-City, 24-Highway, and 17-Combined. Our average of 18.0 miles-per-gallon of Premium was around 8% better than we achieved in the W12 Flying Spur. That still makes for a very poor Energy Impact Score however, burning through 19.4-barrels of oil per year while expelling 8.5-tons of CO2.
Priced about $20,000 under the W12 at $200,245, it may be the everyman’s Flying Spur, but it’s still not for every man or woman; more for those with the necessary “funds” be they trust, hedge, or otherwise.
Much as in the Continental GT Coupe, the V8 engine in the 2015 Bentley Flying Spur sedan makes for a better overall car. Sure, in the luxury realm there is always an accepted space for prestigious overkill. But as far as we’re concerned, this is a case of less is more.
- Engine: 4.0 liter
- Horsepower: 500
- Torque: 487 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 4.6 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 12.9 seconds @ 111 mph
- EPA: 14 mpg city/ 24 mpg highway
- Energy Impact: 19.4 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 8.5 tons/yr
2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid
Crossed Up Corolla Gets More Efficient
Toyota offers a hybrid powertrain in just about everything they make, so it did seem odd that last year, when they debuted an all-new SUV version of their long-time best-selling Corolla, a hybrid was nowhere to be found. Well, it didn’t take long for Toyota to correct that situation, delivering this Corolla Cross Hybrid for 2023.
With prices for everything seemingly going up daily, we can all use a little more cost efficiency in our lives. That’s a mission that Toyota has been undertaking for some time now and continues to do it with this 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid.
The Alabama-built Corolla Cross arrived just last year as Toyota’s attempt to bring their best-selling nameplate into the SUV era, and give them an additional entry into the most popular automotive segment going right now, small crossovers.
There are some RAV4 styling cues here, but the Corolla Cross is mostly its own deal, and the Hybrid is more than just a fuel efficient option, it has added performance too. So, it’s offered only in Toyota’s S line of trims S, SE, and XSE, where the standard Corolla Cross is available in base L, LE, and XLE.
There are some differences outside, most notably unique front and rear fasicas; the front with a much more aggressive look, with larger grille and blacked-out trim.
Black trim and logos in back too, along with a redesigned bumper; plus, you can optionally go 2-tone by adding black paint to the roof.
Great packaging has it feeling roomier inside than most small 5-seat utes, straddling the line between subcompact and compact. And seats are way more comfortable than your typical urban-minded utility.
In fact, the entire interior feels quite upscale, and the layout will be very familiar to those stepping up from an actual Corolla.
Those who put off buying a Corolla Cross until now will be rewarded with upgraded infotainment, as all Hybrid’s will come with Toyota’s latest 8-inch touchscreen multimedia system standard.
The Hybrid’s small battery is located under the rear seat, so there’s minimal loss of rom, with a good 21.5 cubic-ft. of cargo space available; expanding to 61.8 with rear seatbacks folded.
Getting to the heart of the matter, the Corolla Cross Hybrid’s fuel-sipping ways are courtesy of the 5th generation of Toyota’s Hybrid System which outputs a combined 196-horsepower through its trio of electric motors and naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine. One of those motors operating strictly the rear axle for standard all-wheel-drive.
At our test track, there was a nice little chirp of the tires off the line, but that’s where the excitement ended.
So while a 7.5-second trip to 60 may not raise your blood pressure, it’s a full 3-seconds quicker than the standard Corolla Cross we tested last year. We’ll take that!
CVT automatic means engine revs and engine noise both hang relatively high throughout the whole ¼-mile, which took us 15.6-seconds to complete, finishing at a reasonable 90 miles-per-hour.
The Hybrid also gets a “sport-tuned” suspension, and indeed it felt light and nimble through our cone course, very neutral too, with no noticeable understeer or oversteer. Steering was light but still provided good feedback. With some grippier tires, this would certainly give the best handlers in the segment a run for their money.
But the real reward comes in Government Fuel Economy Ratings which are 45-City, 38-Highway, and 42-Combined. We averaged a great 43.3 miles-per-gallon of Regular; that’s a 40% increase over the 30.9 miles-per-gallon we averaged in the standard Corolla Cross last year.
But, that does come at a cost, though it’s difficult to make direct comparisons with separate trim families, but pricing starts at $29,320 for the Hybrid, about 3-grand over a base all-wheel-drive non-hybrid. Top XSE comes in at $32,400.
As influential as Toyota is in spreading the hybrid doctrine, it was indeed odd that the Corolla Cross arrived last year without a hybrid option. Smartly, it didn’t take them long to right that wrong, as it was always part of the plan, and the Corolla Cross has benefitted from it greatly. The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid is not just more efficient, it’s more capable, and a much better small utility all around.
- Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder
- Horsepower: 196
- 0-60 mph: 7.5-seconds
- MW Fuel Economy: 43.3 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: e-CVT
- Torque: 139 lb-ft
- 1/4 Mile: 15.6-seconds at 90 mph
- EPA: 45-City, 38-Highway, and 42-Combined