Geneva Motor Show - This, says Bentley, is the world’s first luxury hybrid, and the company’s first step towards full electrification, the Bentayga Hybrid.
Hype aside, it’s a fairly conventional (by today’s standards) plug-in hybrid, combining a new three-litre turbopetrol V6 with an electric motor that also functions as a generator to charge the battery pack - both directly and by regenerative braking.
On the flight deck, the idle stop control is replaced by a new drive mode control for the three E modes - EV Drive (pure electric - good for about 50km, says Bentley; we’ll take that under advisement), Hybrid (using both as needed) and Hold (petrol only, keeping the battery fully charged for a stealthy ‘final mile’).
The traditional rev counter gives way to a dial showing when the car is operating in pure electric mode, or engine speed if the V6 is operating, and a battery status dial replaces the coolant temperature gauge. The infotainment screen can display energy flow in each mode, showing whether the car is running on battery power or engine power - or whether power is flowing back to the battery in order to charge it.
The Bentayga Hybrid uses satellite navigation calculate the best combination of electric and petrol power for each trip. Once you’ve entered your destination, the system will automatically shift to the correct E mode for each part of the drive, constantly recalculating the most efficient use of battery charge and storing electric power for sections of the journey where it’s most useful, such as arriving in the city, reducing on-board charge to zero just as you reach your destination.
'MyBentley3' online services, operated via a smartphone app, now include e-Charging, where the app will list nearby charging stations (based on your search criteria), and give you the option to set them as destinations on the car navigation system.
The socket for the Bentayga Hybrid’s charging cable is on the opposite side to the petrol filler cap; it can be connected to either a 220 volt domestic power supply (in which case a full charge will take about seven and a half hours) or, if you have one in your garage, an industrial power supply, reducing charge time to 2.5 hours.
Everybody will know how eco-sensitive you are by the copper-coloured ‘Hybrid’ badging on the lower front doors and tailgate, and the copper finish on the wheel centres and Bentley badges, as well as the ‘Hybrid’ insert on the tread plates.
The Bentayga Hybrid will become available to order in selected markets from the second half of 2018.