Bentley will add a Bentayga Hybrid to its European market lineup, claiming it will be the first plug-in hybrid in the luxury SUV market segment. Bentley is already taking orders for the Bentayga Hybrid in North America, with deliveries slated for 2020, and the company says it’s the most efficient Bentley yet, with CO2 emissions of 79 g/km and a remarkable 80.7 mpg on the WLTP weighted, combined cycle. How that translates to real-world fuel economy remains to be seen, but at a starting price of $160,000 plus taxes, I don't think that many Bentayga Hybrid shoppers are as concerned about operating costs as they are about appearing to be kind to the environment.
Part of the new hybrid Bentayga's efficiency is due to the SUV's Intelligent Satellite Navigation system, which doesn't just figure out the quickest route to your destination, but also helps calculate the optimum split between electric and combustion power to use the minimum energy to get there.
Bentley is calling the Bentayga Hybrid “the world's first true electrified luxury car,” though Christian Koenigsegg might disagree, as the Regera has three electric motors augmenting its combustion engine and is fitted rather luxuriously. The Bentayga Hybrid is undoubtedly Bentley's first electrified car, though it certainly won't be its last, as the company has announced that every nameplate it currently sells will have at least a partially electrified version by 2023.
Bentley is also describing the Bentayga Hybrid as “the ultimate grand touring experience,” but as with Mr. Koenigsegg, the folks at McLaren probably have a different opinion, having just introduced that brand's first GT. Also, most folks image of a “grand tourer” is not that of a high-riding, almost three-ton (5340-pound) vehicle. Still, the Bentayga has one of the most impressive interiors in today's automotive world and I'm sure that driver and passengers will be well cossetted on their tours.
The Bentayga Hybrid is powered by a new turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 gasoline engine, paired with a 94-kW permanent magnet synchronous electric motor that puts out 295 lb-ft of torque, for a combined output of 516 lb-ft. The electric motor allows for short-range battery operation, immediate fill-in power to make up for turbo lag in the combustion engine, and regenerative braking.
The actual battery capacity not yet been revealed, but Bentley says that it is capable of a full recharge in just two and a half hours. The new hybrid SUV can get to 60 mph from a standing start in just 5.2 seconds and has a top speed of 158 mph. On battery power alone, the Bentayga Hybrid has a range of 24.23 miles on the WLTP cycle (31.7 on the NEDC cycle), with a total range of 464 miles.
There are three hybrid drive modes, EV Drive for electric power alone, Hybrid that uses data the above-mentioned navigation system to optimize power usage for maximum range, and Hold mode to preserve electric power for later use, for example, if your trip is taking you to an urban area. Many European municipalities are talking about eventually banning combustion propulsion in their city centers.
Deliveries are scheduled for British and European customers later this year, with U.S. deliveries slated to start in the first quarter of 2020.