2014 Bentley Hybrid Concept

Okay, we’ve seen Porsche , BMW and Audi all experimenting with hybrid and electric cars , which is okay. But now things are getting a little more upscale in the electrification of luxury cars to help boost mpgs without losing performance and comfort. The latest of the entrants is Bentley with its Beijing-bound Hybrid Concept, which is little more than an electrified and copper-accented Mulsanne . Hey, if you’re gonna reveal a new hybrid engine, then why not show it off in your flagship sedan?

The details are still a little scarce on the Hybrid Concept, but Bentlry did let us in on a few details. We know that the hybrid drivetrain will carry the same 6.75-liter V-8 gas burner as the base model, but with electric motors added to boost fuel economy and output, while decreasing CO2 emissions. According to Bentley, this drivetrain bumps fuel economy up by 25 percent and guts CO2 by 70 percent.

What’s more, this drivetrain is in Bentley’s future plans, and it will slowly make its way into every Bentley vehicle.

we expect to hear more about the car following its debut at the Beijing Auto Show on April 20th.

Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Bentley Hybrid Concept.

Exterior

Bentley Hybrid Concept
Bentley Hybrid Concept
Bentley Hybrid Concept

The most notable of changes are copper highlights strewn about the outside, including inside the headlights, on the radiator shell bezel, on the brake calipers and on the cross stitching on the front grilles.

On the outside, the Hybrid Concept looks like your run-of-the-mill Mulsanne, but there are a few subtle differences that stand out. The most notable of changes are copper highlights strewn about the outside, including inside the headlights, on the radiator shell bezel, on the brake calipers and on the cross stitching on the front grilles. Rounding out the copperizing of the Hybrid Concept is a copper strip above the trimming that runs around the lower-third of the car, the center caps on the wheels and the "Hybrid" badges on the fenders.

Other than the sleek copper highlights, which really make the concept pop, the rest of the car is a plain-Jane Mulsanne, if it is even possible to call the luxo-rig "plain..."

Headlights In Detail

Bentley Hybrid Concept

Wheels In Detail

Bentley Hybrid Concept

Interior

Bentley Hybrid Concept
Bentley Hybrid Concept
Bentley Hybrid Concept

The cabin of this concept — like the exterior — is mostly the same as the Mulsanne that it is based upon. Also like the exterior, the cabin has copper accents throughout, as the gauges have copper centers and copper trimming around the outside edges, inserts on the veneers, switch bezels, knobs, and even on the top of the gear shift knob.

Drivetrain

Bentley Hybrid Concept

What I learned was that this is indeed a plug-in hybrid that increases fuel efficiency by 25 percent and reduces CO2 emissions by a whopping 70 percent.

Bentley dove into some details on the drivetrain without giving up too much. What I learned was that this is indeed a plug-in hybrid that increases fuel efficiency by 25 percent and reduces CO2 emissions by a whopping 70 percent. This would put the fuel economy of the hulking 6.75-liter engine under the Mulsanne’s hood at 14 mpg city and 23 mpg highway, which isn’t too bad fir this massive sedan. Bentley didn’t say anything about the final output of this drivetrain, but the base engine produces 505 horsepower and 752 pound-feet of torque, and I would expect the hybrid system to bump this to about 515 horsepower and 760 pound-feet. On top of more power and better fuel economy, this Hybrid Concept can travel 50 km (about 22 miles) on electric power alone.

The transmission likely remains the same eight-speed auto from the current Mulsanne and it should remain rear-wheel drive.

Prices

Bentley Hybrid Concept

Bentley absolutely has plans to develop this drivetrain for its entire range, and I suspect the Mulsanne version would see about a $25,000 premium on this drivtrain. This would put the Mulsanne at nearly $330,000.

Competition

2015 Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II

Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II

There is no hybrid, premium luxury sedan on the market today, so we’ll have to focus on the gasoline-powered rival to the Mulsanne: the recently refreshed, 2015 Rolls-Royce Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II. Under the Ghost’s hood is a 6.6-liter, V-12 powerplant that puts down 563 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque. Though it has four more cylinders to feed, the Ghost is not too far off from the Hybrid Concept in fuel economy, as it gets 13 mpg city and 29 mpg highway — I take that uncertified fuel-economy number with a grain of salt.

On the outside, the Ghost is showing its age, despite a refresh, but then again, so is the Mulsanne. In terms of luxury, the two models are equally matched, as they both have enough goodies to keep top-level executives happy for a long, long time.

The Ghost comes in at $307,900, so the two are pretty evenly matched in terms of pricing.

Again, this is not a hybrid model, so trying to compare it to the Hybrid Concept is nearly impossible.

Conclusion

Bentley Hybrid Concept

Luxury barges that hit 60 mph in under six seconds are insane, but they are the norm for today’s top executives. Now with gas prices shooting up and the CAFE standards looming, even Bentley has to start looking into boosting its fuel economy numbers. Distributing this drivetrain across its entire lineup — even on the new SUV — seems logical and wise on Bentley’s behalf.

LOVE IT
  • Increase in fuel economy
  • Lower CO2 emissions
  • Copper highlights look gerat
LEAVE IT
  • The base Ghost betters its highway mpg
  • Super-expensive
  • Do the people who buy a $330k car really care about fuel prices?

Press Release

Bentley is envisioning a powerful and even more efficient future with the Bentley Hybrid Concept – a technology showcase that previews Bentley’s first plug-in hybrid model, set to be a dedicated version of the all-new SUV available in 2017. The Bentley Hybrid Concept will be on display at the Beijing International Automotive Exhibition on Sunday 20thApril.

Bentley Hybrid Concept

As the first luxury brand to present a plug-in hybrid, Bentley leads the way in bringing new powertrain choice to the luxury automotive sector. Dr Wolfgang Schreiber, Chairman and Chief Executive of Bentley Motors, comments:

“There is no doubt that plug-in hybrid technology is true to Bentley’s values of outstanding luxury and effortless performance. Combining our renowned engines with electric power reinforces and enhances both principles, and so we will gradually introduce this powertrain across our model range. By the end of the decade, at least 90% of our production will be available as a plug-in hybrid. We are proud to be pioneering these developments in the luxury sector.”

The Bentley Plug-in Hybrid System

Bentley Hybrid Concept

Through Bentley’s hybrid system, customers will have a wider choice of modern, powerful and efficient powertrains. The plug-in hybrid system will offer a power increase of up to 25% together with a 70% reduction in CO2 emissions, both without any compromise to the exquisite luxury, timeless design and industry-leading refinement for which Bentley has become renowned. Bentley hybrids will also be capable of driving at least 50 km on electric power alone, allowing for emissions-free city driving with the option of enhanced performance on the open road.

The Bentley Hybrid Concept

The Bentley Hybrid Concept is based on the flagship model in the Bentley family, the Mulsanne, to show that hybrid technology enhances even the pinnacle of luxury and performance. Copper is used as an exterior and interior styling element to highlight the car’s electrical veins, including copper details to the headlamps, radiator shell bezel, brake calipers, feature line details and badges. Copper accents continue in the cabin, with inserts to the hand-crafted veneers fascias, switch bezels and instruments. Copper cross‑stitching to the Mulliner Driving Specification diamond-quilted interior provides the finishing flourish.


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