2020 Bentley Bentayga Hybrid First Review
- Plug-in hybrid version of Bentayga is most efficient Bentley ever
- First ultra-luxury plug-in hybrid on the market
- Powered by 335-hp turbo gas V6 and 126-kWh motor
- More than 16 miles of electric-only range
- On sale at the end of 2019, priced from $156,900
Bentleys are known as large, plush ultra-luxurious six-figure models, and you might think that vehicles at this price point don’t have fuel economy as a high priority. But times are changing. Look at Bentley, which has committed to a future of electrified vehicles. Its goal is to have hybrid versions of all models by 2023, and electric options for all models by 2025. The first to benefit from hybrid power is the company’s Bentayga SUV, coming to American dealers by the end of 2019. The 2020 Bentley Bentayga Hybrid is the most efficient version of this SUV, as well as the least expensive, starting at $156,900, and Bentley anticipates that the Hybrid will make up 15 percent of Bentayga sales.
How much will the 2020 Bentley Bentayga Hybrid cost?
The starting price for the 2020 Bentley Bentayga Hybrid will be $156,900.
The plug-in hybrid setup is a good match for the Bentley SUV. Starting from a stop offers fantastic acceleration up to about 30 mph or so, and the vehicle is whisper quiet. We drove it in hybrid mode, where the vehicle optimizes the use of the engine and the battery to get the best range. Power delivery is smooth, as are the transitions from gas power to electric motor. At freeway speeds, there is still ample power and we had no trouble passing other vehicles. While the powertrain still has plenty of power, it isn’t the same thrust you would get from the V8 or the W12. Even so, getting a little less power in exchange for better fuel economy and the ability to drive in electric-only mode is going to be a smart compromise for some Bentayga buyers.
The biggest weakness of the Bentayga Hybrid is its brakes, which is a challenge that every automaker faces with hybrids. In this case, more work could be done to improve braking feel, the issue here is the transition between regenerative and conventional braking. In this case, the brake response felt artificial, the stopping force coming on a touch later and grabbier than you’d expect.
There isn’t much that’s different about the interior of the Hybrid compared with the rest of the line, and that’s terrific. It is an ultra-lux interior, draped in quilted leather, with high-quality switchgear. Materials are soft and supple, and Bentley paid special attention to small details, such as stitching and interior accents.
Because of the battery packs, hybrid models aren’t available with the optional third row, so they are 5-passenger only. You can use a feature in the dash-mounted screen to gauge energy use.
How is the Bentayga Hybrid different from the standard Bentayga?
Until now, the Bentayga had been available with a 612-horsepower W12 engine or a 541-horsepower V8 engine. The new hybrid uses a 335-horsepower turbocharged V6 plus a 126-kilowatt permanent magnet synchronous motor, which put out a system total of 443 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. This combination not only offers the best fuel efficiency, but it also has the lowest starting price. All Bentaygas come with an 8-speed automatic transmission.
You can drive the Hybrid in three modes: EV mode (electric power only), Hybrid (electric and gasoline), and Hold mode, which reserves the battery for when you want to run on battery power alone. And, like other hybrids, the Bentayga Hybrid uses regenerative braking. You can drive up to 84 mph in EV mode.
Why would a high-end luxury car company offer hybrid powertrains?
There are a few reasons why Bentley introduced the hybrid version of its Bentayga. First, the SUV will benefit from better overall fuel economy. Even when it isn’t driven by full electric power, the 2020 Bentley Bentayga Hybrid works as a regular hybrid, and brake regeneration plus automatic stop/start contribute to improved MPG. Second, by making this vehicle capable of running solely on electric power, you can reserve that 16-plus miles of use for use in cities where vehicles that don’t have ultra-low emissions are fined. (London is one of those cities, and more are following suit.) Third, according to Bentley’s data, more than 35 percent of luxury car buyers are interested in electric powertrains. And finally, the Bentayga Hybrid slots in as the lowest-priced SUV in the line. That could make this model especially attractive to a younger, somewhat eco-conscious buyer.
How long does it take to charge?
The 2020 Bentley Bentayga Hybrid will take 2.5 hours to charge with a 240-volt charger, seven hours via standard wall outlet. It uses a 13-kWh battery.
What is the fuel economy for the 2020 Bentley Bentayga Hybrid?
Official fuel economy hasn’t been announced for the Hybrid, but we do know that it’s expected to have a 16-mile all-electric range. We also know that fuel economy for the V8 Bentayga is 17 mpg combined. Because the Hybrid uses a smaller engine, plus the motor for hybrid mode, plus regenerative braking, fuel economy should be notably higher than that of the V8-powered model.
When does the 2020 Bentley Bentayga Hybrid go on sale?
The 2020 Bentley Bentayga Hybrid is expected to go on sale in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2019.