Bentley’s stated intention to become a “global leader in sustainable luxury mobility” before the end of the decade looks an especially challenging goal given its cars are, traditionally, powered by indulgently powerful and thirsty petrol engines. But by 2026 it promises the entire range will be either plug-in hybrid or fully electric, making this battery-assisted version of the updated Bentayga a very important car for the brand. Combining all the luxury, status and stature you’d hope for in a Bentley, the hybrid can also cruise on electric power alone for around 25 miles or cover big distances with a combination of that and a powerful petrol engine for what in theory is the best of both worlds. Read more on the rest of the Bentayga range here.
“In day to day driving the ability to cover around 25 miles without firing up the petrol engine at all will help cut costs”
Any Bentley is, of course, a huge indulgence but the hybrid Bentayga at least lets you own one with a clean conscience or, at least, greatly reduced tax bill. Thank the 82g/km CO2 rating for that, this alone slashing your Benefit In Kind liability compared with the 302g/km of the equivalent V8 if you’re running it on the company. Or, more likely, your company. In day to day driving the ability to cover around 25 miles without firing up the petrol engine at all will help cut costs, though for your typical Bentley owner the convenience of not having to fill it up all the time will be of greater importance. Based on usage patterns of the previous Bentayga Hybrid, Bentley asserts that the majority of journeys were carried out in the EV mode, and 90 per cent of owners travel less than 30 miles a day so could conceivably treat it as an electric vehicle with the bonus of an onboard petrol engine for longer trips. Be aware that if you do the economy quickly dives, and on a 220-mile motorway trip we only saw 28mpg. Horses for courses but where the hybrid suits city or suburban driving if you regularly cover big miles you might actually be better off sticking with the petrol V8.
Expert rating: 4/5
Reliability of a Bentley Bentayga Hybrid
“Much of the Bentayga is shared across VW group brands such as Audi and Porsche”
You don’t get much feedback on public forums from Bentley owners but much of the Bentayga, including engines, transmissions and the 48V electrics powering the active anti-roll - as well as the infotainment system - are shared across VW group brands such as Audi and Porsche. As such everything is tried and tested across many and various different models and there aren’t many reported issues, beyond one recall on fuel lines and another on third-row seatbelts on the previous version.
Expert rating: 4/5
Safety for a Bentley Bentayga Hybrid
“If you opt for the Touring pack, you get adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist and a head-up display”
While the Bentayga is packed with tech many safety systems which are standard on cheaper cars are optional extras, as is often the way in the luxury sector. For instance you need the Touring pack to get adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist and a head-up display. There are fancy new headlights with three settings: Town, Country and Motorway, each of which actively adjusts the height, range and spread of the beam accordingly. It even means you can stay on full beam on country roads without blinding oncoming drivers.
Expert rating: 3/5
How comfortable is the Bentley Bentayga Hybrid
“We were particular fans of the variable massage settings in the front seats”
If SUVs are popular for the sense of security and commanding view of the road ahead the Bentayga takes that to extremes, its commanding (some might say domineering…) stature meaning you have a literally elevated position over everyone else around you. Combine that with incredible refinement from the clever, variable height air suspension and extensive sound deadening, the soft leather under your backside and the silent but powerful acceleration of the hybrid powertrain and you have an incredibly relaxing place to spend time. This is the same whether you’re seated up front or in the back, especially in the four-seater option with its individual rear seats. We were particular fans of the variable massage settings in the front seats (also available in the rear on the four-seater), though even Bentley’s system can’t quite match those of Mercedes for sheer indulgence here. And, while the Bentayga is obviously a big car, the same can’t be said for the boot, which will prove a squeeze if you’re planning a grand tour with all those seats occupied.
Expert rating: 5/5
Features of the Bentley Bentayga Hybrid
“Many people still like physical buttons and switches, and when they’re executed this nicely you won’t hear any complaints from us”
This updated Bentayga gets a significantly upgraded infotainment system running through a larger central touch-screen with a variety of connected functions and the option to run your phone apps via wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Tech fans will probably prefer the more futuristic, touch-sensitive surfaces in other premium SUVs like the Audi Q8 with which the Bentayga shares its basic foundations. But many people still like physical buttons and switches, and when they’re executed this nicely you won’t hear any complaints from us. The the more traditional vibe suits the Bentley brand, too. Ditto the vast range of options for personalisation in terms of leathers, woods and other trim materials to make your Bentayga feel even more special, or sound it if you choose the spectacular Naim stereo fitted to our test car. Sure, it costs nearly £7,000 alone. But we’d tick that box in a heartbeat having experienced it!
Expert rating: 4/5
Power for a Bentley Bentayga Hybrid
“The hybrid system has been very cleverly tuned to deliver that silent, instantly available sense of power Bentley drivers love”
The Bentayga Hybrid combines a turbocharged six-cylinder engine with an electric motor, the combination driving all four wheels independently or in partnership through a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic gearbox. Together they put out a combined 449 horsepower and 700Nm of torque, which is an interesting comparison with the equivalently priced V8 version with its 550 horsepower and 770Nm. The hybrid system has been very cleverly tuned to deliver that silent, instantly available sense of power Bentley drivers love and it certainly doesn’t feel slow. But it’s carrying a lot of extra weight, which you feel on the brakes when you try to slow it down. And if you want a fast Bentayga the V8 or the monstrous Speed models are still the ones you want. If, however, you do most of your driving at town speeds the performance of the hybrid is more than adequate, the silence under electric power at town speeds contributing to the soothing sense of relaxation and wellbeing, while the transition to combined power with the petrol engine is seamless enough not to intrude.
Expert rating: 5/5
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