A Look Back At The First-Ever Hybrid Bentley SUV – The Bentayga Hybrid

You probably know that the Bentayga is the most successful Bentley model of all time. Yes, the company did achieve high production numbers with the Continental GT, but this uber-luxury SUV has already sold almost 30,000 examples. That is insane for a company that managed to sell just 200,000 cars since it was introduced in 1919! However, Bentley is showing no sign of stopping, and environmentally aware customers eagerly await the newest version of its best-selling model.

With Bentley’s first all-electric car reportedly coming to market in 2025 and it being predicted to be an SUV, we wanted to look back at the plug-in hybrid Bentayga SUV that was released in 2019. While we’re not sure if the first full electric Bentley will be a part of the Bentayga line, exciting times are ahead!

Electrification

It is no secret that Bentley as a company is under a lot of criticism from environmentalists for its high-performance and thirsty V8 and W12 engines. The typical Bentley clientele is certainly not concerned about fuel economy, but it is about the environment, and the company decided to adopt a new plan. By 2026 all Bentley models will be electrified, and by 2030, the whole model lineup will be carbon-neutral. Very ambitious, we must say, but it just shows that the direction in which the entire industry is going is definite and that electric vehicles are here to stay, although we still have our doubts. If you want to hang on to the good old days of petrol excess, hurry up and buy one of the last fossil fuel-powered Bentleys. If you don’t want to wait for a full-electric Bentley then consider the Bentayga Hybrid with plug-in technology.

Under The Hood

Instead of a V8 or W12 petrol unit, there is a twin-turbo 3.0-litre V6 under the hood paired with a 126 hp electric motor and 17.6 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The combined output is 443 hp and, more importantly, 516 lb-ft of torque. Yes, the power is significantly down compared to V8 and especially W12 versions, but so is the price. Bentley managed to keep the performance at an acceptable level and even improve the ride and comfort. The 0 to 60 mph time is 5.5 seconds, a full second slower than the 4.0-litre V8 model, and the base price is just over 130,000 pounds which is cheaper than petrol-only models. The 8-speed automatic transmission is the same, as well as the standard all-wheel-drive system. What is remarkable, however, is CO2 levels – the Bentayga Hybrid produces just 124 g/km, which is half of what the V8-powered version is making.

Battery

The 17-6 kWh battery pack is enough for up to 31 miles of pure electric driving, which is not a coincidence. Bentley states that a recent survey shows that most Bentayga owners (90% to be precise) use their cars daily and that their routine includes shorter trips (less than 30 miles). The company is sure that this could be achieved by using electric power only, significantly reducing the amount of pollution and improving the fuel economy. Since the battery pack is somewhat small (because this is a plug-in hybrid, not a full EV), it can be changed relatively quickly in two and a half hours by using a home charger with a 7.2 kWh capacity. Of course, the battery can be topped or charged while driving by using well-known systems like regenerative braking. The Bentayga Hybrid is equipped with something called “Hybrid Efficiency Navigation.” It is a very clever system designed to automatically switch between petrol or electric power during the planned route for maximum efficiency and work with the driver informing him how to drive in order to achieve optimal regeneration. Although there are still no official consumption figures available, we are sure it is significantly better than petrol-powered models.

Design

The Bentayga Hybrid is almost indistinguishable from its petrol-powered cousins from the outside. Adopting the new and refreshed look, the Hybrid has the same front end design, LED matrix headlights, Continental GT-inspired rear lights, and recognisable shape. Eagle-eyed car spotters will be able to recognise it by two things – its small “hybrid” badge on the front wings and additional socket opening on the left, just behind the rear doors. The interior is practically unchanged and features the same levels of comfort and luxury you would expect from this model. The 2019/2020 redesign brought even more equipment, better materials, and a slight turn to more digital controls, replacing the numerous buttons and switches with a 10.9-inches central infotainment display to control most of the functions.

A Compelling Package

The Bentley Bentayga Hybrid is a pretty compelling package that perfectly combines the luxury and performance you would expect of such a vehicle with environmental concerns and modern technology. Although a bit slower than the rest of the Bentley fleet, it is by no means slow and still provides its customers with adequate performance and driving dynamics. However, the importance of the Bentayga Hybrid is not just in fantastically low CO2 emissions, at least for the vehicle of its size or improved fuel consumption. This model is the first plug-in Bentley and genuinely 21st-century luxury model. It is also a start of a new era for this proud brand and the beginning of complete electrification of the Bentley range. It precedes the Bentley Flying Spur Hybrid, which will be available later this year and their first all-electric car coming in 2025 which as we touched on at the top of the article is rumoured to be an SUV!

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