Bentley’s Bentayga SUV recently went through a major overhaul and the British marque is now ready to roll out an updated version of the Bentayga Hybrid.
In fact, a plug-in offering up to 31 miles of driving in pure electric mode, the Bentayga Hybrid will be followed to market by a second PHEV later this year, Bentley revealed. These come as a critical step by the uber-exclusive Volkswagen brand which delivered a shocker late last year, announcing plans to make all of its offerings hybrid by 2026 and then switch to pure battery-electric propulsion across the line-up by 2030.
“The Bentayga Hybrid is the next step on our journey to becoming the world’s leading sustainable luxury mobility company,” said Adrian Hallmark, Bentley’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Bentley will transform from a 100-year-old luxury car company to a new, sustainable, wholly ethical role model for luxury, and the Bentayga Hybrid is the first model to pioneer our company’s recently announced Beyond100 strategy.”
As with the Bentayga V-8 and Bentayga Speed models, the new Hybrid undergoes a generally evolutionary update to its styling, both inside and out. Key exterior updates include wider-set headlamps, a larger grille and revised oval taillamps. The most notable interior changes center around the infotainment system, with its larger display.
The second-generation plug-in pairs a twin-turbo 3.0-liter V-6 with an electric motor housed within the transmission. The package makes a combined 443 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. That might sound like solid numbers, though in Bentley territory, it reads like the lowest-powered package of all three Bentayga models. But the electric motor delivers its torque instantaneously, meaning it might appear quicker than its 5.2-second 0-60 mph rating would suggest.
The Bentayga Hybrid can be operated in any of three different driving modes, including EV Drive, where the e-motor does all the work – unless you top 84 mph, at which point the V-6 fires up. “This is ideal for city driving and for shorter journeys,” Bentley suggests, noting that the electric motor provides a relatively tame 126 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.
The motor draws power from a 17.3 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery — up from 13 kWh with the original Bentayga
Hybrid. Using the European NEDC test cycle, that’s enough to get 31 miles out of the big bruiser, though U.S. EPA numbers are all but certain to be lower. Again, based on the European data, gas/electric combined range comes in at 536 miles.
To yield maximum range, Bentley has taken a number of interesting steps. That includes the “predictive e-mode,” Bentley says, explaining in a release that, by “inputting a destination, the car will automatically engage the correct Drive Mode for each part of the journey, constantly calculating the most efficient use of battery charge and storing electrical energy for sections of the journey where it is most useful – such as when arriving in the city.”
The Bentayga Hybrid also introduces the “Bentley Hybrid Efficiency Accelerator Pedal.” It provides a “pressure point” while driving in all-electric mode to encourage a driver to back off on the throttle to stay in EV Mode and minimize battery consumption.
The new Bentley Bentayga does offer some other new high-tech features, including Wireless Apple CarPlay – which now displays on a larger, 10.9-inch super high-resolution touchscreen. There are a number of new functions within the My Bentley connected services suite, as well.
Bentley has left a number of questions unanswered, despite issuing a seven-page news release. Among the key questions: when will the new Bentayga Hybrid reach the U.S., and what will it cost? Expectations are that American dealers will start taking deliveries late in the 2021 model year. The current model starts at $156,900 — surprisingly, making it the most affordable version of the SUV.
The other question is what Bentley model will next get the plug-in drivetrain? We hope to have more on that in the near future.