The firm’s first-ever hybrid vehicle is almost here!

Introduced in late 2015, the Bentayga is Bentley’s first-ever SUV. It’s also the most expensive and luxurious, factory-built SUV in the world as of 2017, as well as the quickest to 60 mph and the fastest in terms of top speed thanks to its brand-new, 600-horsepower W-12 engine. In 2016, the Bentayga also became the first Bentley to use a diesel engine, something that seemed incredible a few years back. Come 2017, and the rumors that the British firm is also working on a hybrid drivetrain for the SUV have been confirmed by a new prototype that was spotted testing in the wild.

Sporting an additional "fuel" cap, this test car was also registered with the British licensing agency as a hybrid vehicle, so there’s no doubt that Bentley is indeed stepping into the electrified territory. What’s still a mystery is the drivetrain, although I’m very positive that the electric motor is paired to a Porsche-sourced V-6 gasoline engine. There’s no word as to when it will break cover, but it’s safe to assume that Bentley’s first hybrid will show itself to the world by the end of 2017. Most likely it will happen at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September.

Continue reading to learn more about the Bentley Bentayga Plug-In Hybrid.

Exterior

2017 Bentley Bentayga
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2019 Bentley Bentayga Plug-In Hybrid Spyshots Exterior
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Bentley Bentayga Gasoline/Diesel Bentley Bentayga Plug-In Hybrid
Not surprisingly, Bentley’s first hybrid shares all of its exterior features with the standard gasoline model.

Not surprisingly, Bentley’s first hybrid shares all of its exterior features with the standard gasoline model. Setting it apart is the extra fuel cap on the left side rear fender, which hides the charger socket for the battery pack. Our paparazzi also checked the license plate with U.K.’s Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency, which confirmed that the vehicle is an "electric hybrid."

Other than that, the SUV has the same design language based on the Continental GT, including the quad headlamps and the muscular rear haunches. The hybrid will feature the same aluminum body panels, which save more than 500 pounds compared to a traditional steel body construction.

2019 Bentley Bentayga Plug-In Hybrid Spyshots Exterior
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2019 Bentley Bentayga Plug-In Hybrid Spyshots Exterior
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The hybrid may get a few unique design features though, including some sort of "Hybrid" badge.

The hybrid may get a few unique design features though. The diesel version, for instance, has a black Matrix grille with chrome surround and central bar, different badges on the lower front door edge, and a twin-quad exhaust tailpipe design. It also comes with a new, 20-inch ten-spoke alloy wheel design, while a new 21-inch Mulliner version in silver or grey is available at extra cost. Expect similar items for the hybrid, including some sort of "Hybrid" badge.

All told, you’ll need more than a quick look to notice that this SUV isn’t the traditional W-12 model, but an electrified version with a smaller engine.

Interior

2017 Bentley Bentayga High Resolution Interior
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Note: Interior from stadard Bentayga.

Look for the same Continental GT-based cockpit with a wider center console and raised armrests in the door panels.

Just like the exterior, the interior should carry over almost unchanged from the gasoline and diesel models. Look for the same Continental GT-based cockpit with a wider center console and raised armrests in the door panels, redesigned, three-layer dashboard, and all the luxury features you can get from a luxury automaker.

The Bentayga’s cabin is made of handcrafted leather, wood, and metal trim, and equipped with an eight-inch touchscreen and a large dial in the center console. The front seats are adjustable 22 ways and feature heating, ventilation, and massage functions. Two seating configurations for either four or five people should be offered, just like in the non-hybrid model. In the four-seat version, the rear seats are adjustable 15 ways and rear-seat entertainment includes a 10.2-inch Android tablet.

2017 Bentley Bentayga High Resolution Interior AutoShow
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Note: Interior from stadard Bentayga.

Bentley debuted a new Liquid Amber finish with the diesel version, which should be made available for the hybrid too.

Bentley debuted a new Liquid Amber finish with the diesel version, which should be made available for the hybrid too. This variant should also be available with numerous options from the Mulliner division. These include a Hamper Set, complete with refrigerator, bespoke fine Linley china cutlery, crockery and crystal glass, and storage area for dry goods, as well as the bespoke, mechanical Tourbillon clock by Breitling. The latter is described as the most complex of watch mechanisms, being automatically wound periodically by a dedicated high-precision winding mechanism within the car. The watch is machined in solid gold, with a choice of either a mother-of-pearl or black ebony face, and decorated with eight diamond indexes. It’s also ridiculously expensive at $160,000!

That’s Porsche 911 Turbo money right there!

But will the hybrid have any unique features inside the cabin? Expect to find something different in the center display and digital instrument cluster, as both should include specific menus with hybrid drivetrain related information such as battery charging, battery life, mileage, and so on.

Drivetrain

The British firm will borrow a gasoline-electric combo from the Volkswagen Group.

Bentley has yet to release details as to what drivetrain will motivate the hybrid model, but it’s safe to assume that the British firm will borrow a gasoline-electric combo from the Volkswagen Group. More specifically, it should share underpinnings with the Cayenne S E-Hybrid, which uses a 3.0-liter V-6 and an electric motor that deliver 410 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque combined. However, the newer Panamera E-Hybrid ditched the 3.0-liter V-6 in favor of a slightly smaller 2.9-liter V-6. A similar switch is expected to happen in the upcoming Cayenne E-Hybrid too, which should mean that the Bentayga would also get a 2.9-liter engine. On the other hand, info from the Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency claims that this prototype has a 3.0-liter engine.

Could this mean that Bentley will use the outgoing V-6 instead of the newer powerplant? It would be weird to say the least to opt for slightly dated technology. There’s also the scenario that Bentley is still testing the prototype with the old engine, but that wouldn’t make much sense either since the company needs precise fuel economy and performance data with the new engine.

The Bentayga should be at least as powerful as the Panamera E-Hybrid, which benefits from a 325-horsepower V-6 and a 134-horsepower electric motor.

It looks like it will remain a mystery until official information is released, but my bet goes on the newer, 2.9-liter V-6 paired with the updated electric motor. If this proves to be the case, the Bentayga should be at least as powerful as the Panamera, which benefits from a 325-horsepower V-6 and a 134-horsepower electric motor. Total system output is rated at 456 horsepower and 516 pound-feet, which is nothing to sneeze at, even for an SUV. For reference, the gasoline W-12 model comes with 600 horsepower and 664 pound-feet, while the Bentayga diesel has 429 horsepower and 664 pound-feet on tap. It’s safe to assume that the hybrid model will crank out more horsepower than the diesel.

Although it isn’t very likely at this point, the Bentayga hybrid could also get a beefed-up version later in its life-cycle. Such a model would be powered by drivetrain found in the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid, which combines electric power with a 4.0-liter V-8. This combo generates a massive 680 horsepower and 626 pound-feet of twist.

Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid specifications

Number of cylinders 6
Displacement 2.9 liters
Combustion Engine 330 HP
Electric Motor 136 HP
Total Output 462 HP
0 to 60 mph 4.4 seconds
Top Speed 172 mph

Prices

2019 Bentley Bentayga Plug-In Hybrid Spyshots Exterior
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Pricing for the Bentayga Hybrid is still a mystery, but it’s safe to assume that it will cost more than the diesel model. Actually, Bentley may price it above the W-12-powered version, which retails from $229,100. If this happens, the Bentayga Hybrid will become the most expensive SUV on the market.

Competition

The Bentayga is pretty much the only large, luxury SUV on the market right now and this will only change when Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce will launched their first haulers for 2018. However, while both Lambo and Rolls-Royce are likely to launch hybrid versions of their vehicle in the future, it won’t happen anytime soon. So at this point, there are only a handful of SUVs that have hybrid drivetrains and premium features.

Porsche Cayenne S-E Hybrid

2015 Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Also made by the Volkswagen Group, the Cayenne was the first premium SUV to offer a hybrid drivetrain. Borrowed from the less expensive Volkswagen Touareg, the gasoline-electric combo was last updated in 2014. Now, the 3.0-liter V-6 and the electric motor crank out 410 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque, which is powerful enough to give the Cayenne S-E Hybrid a sporty attitude on the road. Most likely, this drivetrain will be replaced with Porsche’s new 2.9-liter V-6 and upgraded electric motor, which will move output beyond the 450-horsepower and 500-pound-feet marks. Granted, it probably won’t be as powerful and luxurious as the Bentayga, but it should be as quick given that the Bentley will be heavier. And it will be significantly more affordable too with a sticker below $90,000. The current model retails from $79,900 in the United States.

Find out more about the 2018 Porsche Cayenne S-E Hybrid

Audi Q7 e-tron

2016 Audi Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI quattro High Resolution
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2016 Audi Q7 e-tron 2.0 TFSI quattro High Resolution
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Yet another SUV based on the same platform, the Q7 also comes with a hybrid drivetrain, but one that’s entirely different. Instead of a gasoline engine, the Audi uses a 3.0-liter V-6 diesel, which makes it more fuel efficient than the competition. On the other hand, it’s not as powerful, with the combo being rated at only 373 horsepower. Torque is pretty solid though at 520 pound-feet, which sprinting from 0 to 60 mph takes only 6.2 seconds, which makes it almost as quick as the 3.0-liter TFSI gasoline version and second to only the SQ7, also a diesel SUV. A more powerful Q7 hybrid isn’t likely right now, but as I mentioned before, it’s one of the very few options you have right now. Unfortunately, the Q7 e-tron isn’t available in the U.S. In the U.K., pricing starts from £66,510, which makes it less than a £1,000 more expensive than the Porsche Cayenne S-E Hybrid.

Learn more about the 2018 Audi Q7 e-tron

Conclusion

2019 Bentley Bentayga Plug-In Hybrid Spyshots Exterior
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The Bentayga is already a big deal for Bentley. Not only its first-ever SUV, it’s also the company’s first-ever diesel, so it granted Bentley access to two niches, while also acting as the firm’s most environmentaly friendly vehicle yet. The Bentayga Hybrid will take things up a notch as the brand’s first plug-in hybrid vehicle and will back Bentley’s promise to build increasingly more fuel efficient and low-carbon cars. It’s an important step for the brand, especially if it will be followed by hybrid versions of the Continental GT and Flying Spur. It will also open the door for other luxury brands to join the market with hybrid or even all-electric vehicles.

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    • * Highly expensive
    • * Might cost more than the gasoline version
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