Bentley Bentayga Hybrid trades cylinders for batteries

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Bentley Bentayga Hybrid Successfully Replaces Cylinders With Battery

Bentley unveils the new Bentayga Hybrid, its “true luxury SUV” plug-in hybrid

Bentley believes it is the first to build a “true luxury SUV” plug-in hybrid with its new Bentayga Hybrid. The only real rivals in this upper echelon of monolithic 4x4s are the Rolls-Royce Cullinan (currently fully non-electrified), the Aston Martin DBX (a plug-in version is on the horizon), and possibly Maybach, which will launch the full EQS -Electric SUV in the next two years. Another obvious rival – and first at the hybrid stage – is the Range Rover, which has just unveiled its fifth-generation model; Range Rover 2022 offers engine options ranging from diesel to plug-in hybrid, and promises a full EV in 2024.

In this endeavor, Bentley’s persistence with hybrid technology is starting to seem a bit old-fashioned. The first all-electric Bentley isn’t due until 2025 at the earliest, when we can expect the big W12 and V8 engines that have defined the brand for generations to be both old-fashioned and out of date. .

As a member of the VW Group, Bentley has access to some of the best automotive engineering in the world, but in practice it tends to lag slightly behind sister companies like Audi and Porsche. In terms of luxury, it doesn’t matter much, as a big part of the making of a Bentley is the wealth of materials, details and craftsmanship. The other ingredient is the lashes of power.

On the market since 2015 (and having received a major overhaul and a successful facelift in 2019), the Bentayga is taking a bit of time. The hybrid model can’t even be described as the most advanced model in the Bentley lineup – that honor probably goes to the latest version of the Flying Spur, which is set to release in Europe soon.

Both cars weigh practically the same weight, both have a hybrid drive system and a V6, but the Bentayga only has 31 miles of pure electric range. Figures have yet to be released for the Flying Spur, but that should be more in line with the Porsche Panamera Hybrid, which gets a (very slightly) more respectable ride of 35 miles of electric-only ride. Neither is particularly impressive.

Ultimately, the main benefactor of the Bentayga Hybrid is Bentley itself, thanks to the reduction in overall fleet CO2 emissions the car offers to help the company adopt strict regulations. We also assume that no one buys a Bentayga Hybrid to reduce their monthly expenses; the battery is basically touted as a performance booster that will upgrade a V6 to V8 status without any side effects of smog.

The advantage is a vast improvement in the range. Driven with care, you can go over 500 miles in a Bentayga Hybrid, making it more of a “grand tourer” than most GTs. There’s even a special “efficiency accelerator” that provides feedback to your right foot, encouraging a lighter touch to prevent the V6 from triggering unnecessarily.

The Bentayga Hybrid sits at the bottom of Bentley’s performance rankings, although it is still way above everyone else. Unless you are very familiar with the V8 or W12 models, you won’t really miss the difference. There’s a slight lack of sound and drama compared to traditional models, but all of this is offset by the lack of any guilt associated with deploying the throttle.

This is something that the most avid electric and hybrid vehicle drivers are likely to know; bursts of speed that can be invoked without breaking the eardrums or causing prying eyes. The Bentayga is richly refined and a very pleasant machine to drive, in addition to being surprisingly easy going once you get the hang of its dimensions.

The combination of ICE and EV gives the big Bentayga a less clinical feel than other big electric SUVs, like the Audi e-tron and Mercedes EQC. Part of the wonder of quiet luxury cars is the technical integrity required to dampen the ardor of an intricate block of machinery that turns fuel into motion through a meticulously choreographed process.

Bentley is incredibly good at it, as it should be, but among experts known to disguise the existence of a traditional engine, so far only Mercedes has taken the plunge and brought an electric vehicle to the next level. of its range, the EQS.

Otherwise, it’s Bentley driving as usual. The fixtures, fixtures and fittings are first class. If you want to go beyond the already exceptional base finish, Bentley’s specialist Mulliner division will give you limitless options. The dark green Viridian car shown here was built as a one-off for The Macallan Estate in Speyside, Scotland, as part of the ongoing partnership between the two brands.

So, is the Bentayga Hybrid the first true green Bentley? That term is still a bit of an oxymoron, considering its grandiose scale, colossal power, and the unfettered opulence this car still stands for. It is certainly a step in the right direction. §


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