Years ago, Bentley boldly promised to offer a plug-in hybrid version of every single car in its lineup. It launched its electrification offensive at the 2018 Geneva Auto Show with the first-ever Bentayga Hybrid.
The British automaker hasn’t released full technical specifications yet. All we know at this point is that power comes from a gasoline-electric plug-in hybrid drivetrain built around a new 3.0-liter V6 engine equipped with a turbocharger. The electrified Bentayga has a 31-mile electric-only range, during which it’s completely silent, before the six-cylinder discreetly rumbles to life. The power generated by both sources flow to all four wheels through an automatic transmission.
Here’s an impressive statistic: the Hybrid emits just 75 grams of CO2 per 100 kilometers. To add context, the Toyota Prius — often elevated as the poster child of the clean car clan — emits 70 grams. In other words, Bentley designed a mammoth SUV loaded to the gills with upmarket features that’s nearly as clean as a humble Prius, which is certainly no small feat. The Bentayga Hybrid stands out as the company’s most efficient model ever.
Charging the lithium-ion battery pack takes seven and a half hours when it’s plugged into a regular household outlet, or two and a half hours when using a quick charger. Three electric modes named EV drive, hybrid, and hold, respectively, let the driver choose the best way to dispense electricity. EV drive puts the V6 to sleep and relies exclusively on electricity for as long as possible. Hybrid does exactly what its name implies: It powers the Bentayga with a mix of electricity and gasoline. Hold draws no electricity to retain the pack’s full charge until it’s needed.
To make going hybrid as convenient as possible, Bentley developed a smartphone application that lets users remotely start, end, or simply check on the charging process. It also teamed up with designer Philippe Starck to create a wall-mounted charger that doubles as a work of art.
The charger might be the only indication you own a hybrid. Copper-colored accents denote the Hybrid from other members of the Bentayga lineup, including the V8-powered model also making its debut at the Geneva Auto Show and the mighty W12 model, but you have to look closely to see them. Designers added hybrid-specific emblems on the bottom of the front doors and on the tailgate, plus copper center caps on the alloy wheels.
As cossetting as ever, the cabin is a parade of craftsmanship that highlights soft leather, hand-picked wood veneers, thick carpet, and knurled knobs. The instrument cluster is hybrid-specific. It incorporates an analog gauge labeled “EV drive” and a special menu that illustrates the power flow in real time. The eight-inch touchscreen integrated into the center console can display the same information if needed.
The Bentley Bentayga Hybrid will go on sale in select markets (including the United States and China) before the end of the year. Full technical specifications and additional information, such as pricing, will be released in the weeks leading up to its on-sale date.
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