British automaker officially makes leap into the world of hybrid SUVs

Bentley is all set to debut the plug-in hybrid version of the Bentayga SUV at the Geneva Motor Show, making good on its goal of introducing electrified vehicles into its lineup. The plug-in hybrid Bentayga is the first model of its kind for Bentley, which has come a long way from its core identity as a purveyor of luxury automobiles. This specific version of the SUV adds to a growing number of variants attached to the Bentayga name. Since making its debut in 2015, Bentley’s SUV has increased its number of available models to include a range-topping W12, a 4.0-liter diesel V-8, and now, a plug-in hybrid.

Bentley to Bring a Plug-In Bentayga to the Geneva Auto Show Spyshots Exterior
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The plug-in hybrid variant should look very much like the other Bentayga variants, right down to the quad headlamps, the muscular rear haunches, and the large mesh grille on the front

The debut of Bentley’s plug-in hybrid Bentayga isn’t a surprise to anyone who’s been following the British automaker’s exploits in recent years. There’s been talk of this specific model becoming a reality as early as a year ago so to see it finally come to fruition isn’t raising any eyebrows. On the surface, the plug-in hybrid variant should look very much like the other Bentayga variants, right down to the quad headlamps, the muscular rear haunches, and the large mesh grille on the front. About the only difference from an aesthetic standpoint is the charger socket for the battery pack that’s located on the left side rear fender of the luxury SUV.

Speaking of the battery pack, that’s the big mystery surrounding the plug-in hybrid model. The British automaker hasn’t revealed the engine it’s going to use and the accompanying electric motor setup on the model. Previous reports have suggested that Bentley will tap into the resources of its sister brands, namely Audi and Porsche, for the Bentayga’s hybrid cocktail. That could include an Audi-sourced 3.0-liter supercharged V-6 unit that’s also being used by the Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid SUV. That engine could be accompanied by an electric motor that’s powered by a 10.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The SUV’s total output should approach around 450 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, numbers that would slot it in the middle of existing Bentayga variants, just above the 426-horsepower Bentayga Diesel and below the range-topping, 600-horsepower W-12 Bentayga.

Bentley to Bring a Plug-In Bentayga to the Geneva Auto Show Spyshots Exterior
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The SUV’s total output should approach around 450 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque, numbers that would slot it in the middle of existing Bentayga variants

Since this is still a Bentley we’re talking about, there’s little doubt in anyone’s mind that it’s going to come brimming in luxury. The combination of hybrid and luxury has been the go-to selling point of the SUV since it made its debut two years ago, and it’s worked out well for the British automaker. In 2016 alone — the first full year of the Bentayga on the market — the SUV accounted for almost half of all Bentley sales all over the world, totaling 5,586 of 11,817 Bentley units sold throughout the year. Just as impressive, Bentley sold close 1,200 Bentaygas last year in the US alone.

There’s no question that there’s a big market for a luxury SUV. Now we’re going to find out if there’s an even bigger market for a luxury SUV with plug-in hybrid capability. Bentley hasn’t announced how much the plug-in hybrid Bentayga is going to cost, but expect it to fetch somewhere in the $250,000 range, slightly more expensive than the W-12-powered variant.

References

Bentley Bentayga

Bentley to Bring a Plug-In Bentayga to the Geneva Auto Show Spyshots Exterior
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Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Bentley Bentayga Plug-in Hybrid.

2017 Bentley Bentayga High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 Bentley Bentayga.

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