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First drive: Bentley Bentayga Hybrid. Image by Bentley.

First drive: Bentley Bentayga Hybrid
Bentley is launching two plug-in hybrids this year on the road to electrification. This is the first, the new Bentayga Hybrid.

 



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Bentley Bentayga Hybrid

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The road to environmental change is paved with green intentions, or something like that. The point is that while everyone is on the road, some are at the national speed limit, others are using adaptive cruise control to just stay at the same pace as rivals and some have stopped at the services for an organic coffee to rethink their plan. Electrification is easier for some than others and Bentley is to be applauded for its decision to go fully electric at the end of this decade. In the meantime though, it's launching more plug-in hybrids such as this, the Bentayga, which can glide silently and smugly though the low emission zones without so much as a whiff of emissions.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Bentley Bentayga Hybrid
Pricing: 186,020 as tested; model starts at 155,500
Engine: 3.0-litre V6 petrol with electric motor
Transmission: ZF eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Body style: five-door SUV
CO2 emissions: 82g/km (VED Band 76-90: 105 in year one, 625 years 2-5)
Combined economy: 83.1mpg
Top speed: 158mph
0-62mph: 5.5 seconds
Power: 449hp at 5,300-6,400rpm combined
Torque: 700Nm at 1,340-5,300rpm combined
Boot space: 479 litres

What's this?

This is the new Bentayga, but greener, with the same hybrid powertrain as the old Bentayga. That means hybrid technology consisting of a three-litre petrol V6 developing 340hp and 450Nm and an e-motor producing 128hp and 350Nm. Together they make 449hp and 700Nm. They also help this 2.6 tonne luxury SUV to 60mph in 5.2 seconds and a top speed of 158mph.

Crucially, it can travel up to 25 miles in EV mode, which means that you could live in London and travel around town in electric mode all the time. Bentley says many owners of the previous generation do just that and then they only use the petrol motor when they head out of town. When people ask why we even have hybrids and don't just jump to electric, that's the reason. That and because at the moment, pure electric is heavy, really really heavy. The battery pack in the Bentayga features 168 cells in 12 modules and weighs 210kg. It enables you to travel 25 miles. There's a bit of a weighting game going on in anticipation of lightweight batteries in the years to come.

That's enough tech though, this is a Bentley, it's all about luxury. The design of the new model is much more pleasant with better definition to the main lines and more sculpted surfaces. The rear has ditched its bulk and trimmed down although why Bentley felt it needed to pander to the trend for dynamic swooshy lighting I don't know. Hopefully you can spec it without it.

The interior is a big improvement over the last generation too with a better design to the dashboard. It feels less bulky, more designed as though someone has spent time in the old one and carefully considered how to make it better. That sounds obvious but believe me, it's not always the case.

There's loads of hand-stitched leather, crafted wood and knurled metals to create the true five-star motoring ambience. Every piece of material has a story to tell, either of its origin or the person who carefully formed it to fit the car and the requirements of its new owner.

How does it drive?

The default is electric mode, perfect if you need to pull out of the driveway and head to the airport to catch an early flight. Even when the petrol engine does kick in though, the new Bentayga is much quieter than the old one, at least for those sat inside anyway. It's more comfortable too, soaking up bumps in the road even better than before.

The driving position is good and there are dozens of adjustments to the seat and steering wheel. The steering itself could do with a bit more feedback, after all this is a Bentley with its roots in sporty machines. This isn't the sportiest of the range though, for that you'll need to look at the S or the Speed and while there is electric assistance, the V6 is the smallest engine Bentley uses.

Despite the six of the thing at 5.1 metres long and 2.2 metres wide, it does feel smaller than the last generation, more nimble, easier to scoot through country lanes, but even in Sport mode its weight is apparent.

You can have some fun in electric mode if you're careful with the accelerator. Bentley says it will cruise up to 84mph in electric but we only managed to get up to around 60 before the torque reached the point where the V6 kicks in. We played with the Hold mode which saves the battery until you need it, ran it in Sport and and cruised in the pre-programmed Bentley mode and after a drive of 60 miles the battery was spent with 335 miles still showing on the range of the engine. Charging it on a fast charger takes around 2.5 hours, but it's best plugged in at home or the office on a standard plug for 6.25 hours.

Verdict

We're really impressed with the new Bentayga. Its design is a vast improvement and the interior is not only fabulously comfortable and full of handcrafted luxuriousness, but it's also been elevated some of the design and technology changes. If you want proper Bentley performance then the hybrid probably isn't for you, but if you want the best of both worlds in this era of consciousness then it's a fine example of the genre.

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Exterior Design

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Interior Ambience

5 5 5 5 5 Passenger Space

4 4 4 4 4 Luggage Space

5 5 5 5 5 Safety

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Comfort

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Driving Dynamics

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 Powertrain


Mark Smyth - 30 Jul 2021









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2021 Bentley Bentayga Hybrid. Image by Bentley.2021 Bentley Bentayga Hybrid. Image by Bentley.2021 Bentley Bentayga Hybrid. Image by Bentley.2021 Bentley Bentayga Hybrid. Image by Bentley.2021 Bentley Bentayga Hybrid. Image by Bentley.

2021 Bentley Bentayga Hybrid. Image by Bentley.2021 Bentley Bentayga Hybrid. Image by Bentley.2021 Bentley Bentayga Hybrid. Image by Bentley.2021 Bentley Bentayga Hybrid. Image by Bentley.2021 Bentley Bentayga Hybrid. Image by Bentley.








 

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