Bentley has revealed its first ever plug-in hybrid, the Bentayga hybrid, marking the brand’s first step towards electrification, which will culminate in the launch of a pure electric mid-sized sports car by 2020.
The model, which is capable of up to 50km of electric-only range, uses an electric motor with a turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine – the same set-up used in the Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid. The motor acts as both, an electric motor and a generator. Performance figures have not yet been revealed but a total output of 456hp is expected.
It is the British carmaker’s most efficient model yet, with CO2 emissions of 75g/km on an NEDC cycle.
The standard Bentayga’s automatic start-stop switch is replaced with a control for three E Modes – EV Drive, Hybrid Mode and Hold Mode, all of which help manage battery usage.
There is also a revised infotainment screen and driver’s infotainment panel with information on performance, consumption and energy source. The navigation calculates the best usage of the electric motor and engine for each journey while a new mobile phone app enables remote battery charging, heating and cooling.
On a standard household socket, full charge of the car's battery takes 7.5 hours. However, those with a specific charging connection installed at home can reduce charge time to 2.5 hours.
Bentley has collaborated with design Philippe Starck to create a recharging unit for Bentayga Hybrid customers, which is intended to keep cables “neat and safe” while acting as a “functional piece of art”.
The only visual differences to a combustion-engined Bentayga are the copper-coloured ‘Hybrid’ badging on the lower front doors and tailgate and the copper finish to the wheel centres and Bentley badges. Inside, the tread plates will also read ‘Hybrid’.
The Bentayga's pure electric model – a mid-sized sports car – is expected to share a platform with the Porsche Mission E, which means it will be bigger than Bentley’s electric EXP 12-Speed 6e concept which was shown at the 2017 Geneva show.
Last year, Bentley confirmed that it will eventually offer plug-in hybrid variants of all its models. The Crewe-based automaker has previously said that it intends to be the leader in electrification in the luxury segment.