2021 Bentley Bentayga plug-in hybrid details revealed

Luxury marque claims enough electric range for majority of journeys

BENTLEY has revealed its new Bentayga plug-in hybrid (PHEV), the first of two electrified models that the luxury car maker will release during 2021.

The new model arrives just a year after the first Bentayga Hybrid, which has quietly been withdrawn from sale in the UK. However, Bentley expects the updated version of the model to become the bestselling version of the high-riding model.

In line with the changes made to the other members of the Bentayga family — the Bentayga V8 and the W12-powered Bentayga Speed, which will not be available in the UK — changes have been made to the Hybrid’s appearance, most noticeably at the rear where elliptical rear lights have replaced the rectangular ones that adorned the outgoing model.

The number plate, which previously sat high, has been lowered to the bumper in order for Bentley lettering to take pride of place.

Minor changes have also been made to the front of the car in order to make it look more self-assured, including a larger grille (as is the fashion) and higher headlight placement.

Bentley has also focused on making the interior more user-friendly, honing in specifically on the infotainment system. A 10.9in touchscreen now spans the width of the centre fascia and is reportedly easier to see, touch and operate than the one in the previous Bentayga Hybrid. Apple CarPlay comes as standard, as does — for the first time in a Bentley — Android Auto.

Bentley reveals updates to Bentayga Hybrid

The new iteration is, like its predecessor, powered by a 3.0-litre twin-turbocharged V6 engine working in concert with a 126bhp electric motor. Given the similarity of the powertrain to the one it replaces, the new model is unlikely to significantly deviate from its predecessor’s performance stats, which include a 0-62mph time of 5.5 seconds — although this is yet to be confirmed.

The car run on electric power only at speeds of up to 84mph and the 17.3kWh battery is good for up to 31 miles before the petrol engine is needed. The total range is 536 miles, starting with a full tank and battery, though that’s according to the NEDC cycle, which is an economy test generally classed as outdated; it has been replaced in Europe by the more realistic WLTP cycle.

It’s likely, then, that the car’s WLTP electric range is below 30 miles. Bentley told Driving.co.uk that the Bentayga Hybrid is yet to complete certification and type approval in markets that use the WLTP cycle, and that it would release the figures once they have been obtained.

Either way, the Crewe-based car maker insists that the Bentayga Hybrid’s battery-only capabilities are more than adequate for the needs of its well-to-do clientele, saying that “in real world terms, the majority of journeys can be achieved completely in electric only, with zero emissions”.

Research by Bentley found that nearly all owners of the first generation hybrid use their cars at least several times a week, and that nearly 90% of these employ the car’s EV mode. Half of these owners told the car maker that they consistently take journeys of under 30 miles.

When the car is switched on its EV Mode is chosen as default, although it is possible to switch into Hybrid Mode or “Hold” Mode, which uses engine-sourced power only. Hybrid mode is best for long journeys, says Bentley, and it’s sophisticated enough to predict when best to use the car’s electric-only mode based on the navigation system route.

The battery charges at a rate of 7.2kW per hour, and can fill from empty in two and a half hours at max speed. The unit’s 168 cells have a guaranteed lifetime of 100,000 miles or eight years — whichever comes first — though in battery terms, “end of life” shouldn’t mean it becomes unusable, rather that range on a full charge dips below a certain level.

The new Hybrid is an important step for Bentley, which plans to manufacture only electric vehicles by the time that the ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars comes into effect in the UK in 2030. A PHEV version of the Flying Spur limousine is also expected to be unveiled this year.

The Bentley Bentayga Hybrid will be available from the third quarter of 2021 and will likely have a similar £130,000 price tag to the outgoing model.

If you’re interested in Bentleys, you might want to read our interview with the company’s boss, Adrian Hallmark.