Ultra-luxury automaker Bentley is giving it’s flagship Bentayga SUV, a next generation V6 engine and an electric battery, a combination that marks the company’s first step toward making all-electric vehicles.
The Bentley Bentayga Hybrid is described by the automaker as the world’s first luxury hybrid model. It isn’t, if you consider the Porsche Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo a luxury vehicle. And at a base price just short of $190,000 it certainly qualifies.
However, the Bentayga is a special level of luxury. And the plug-in hybrid version will be nearly identical, except for the obvious difference of having an electric motor. There will be a few other ways to identify the plug-in version.
The Bentayga Hybrid has a few “hybrid” badges on the exterior along with a charging port. The vehicle has two power sources: an electric motor and a new turbocharged 3-liter V6 gas engine. The vehicle will have the ability to drive 31 miles in electric only mode, before switching over to the gas engine. Drivers will be able to control what power source they want to use by switching between EV, hybrid, or hold modes. The hold mode keeps the battery power intact and uses the gas engine to move.
The hybrid also has a different infotainment screen than the original Bentayga to supply details on the plug-in’s performance, consumption and energy source. For instance, the vehicle’s traditional tachometer that displays engine speed is replaced with a dial showing when the car is operating in pure electric mode. A battery status dial replaces the coolant temperature gauge, Bentley says.
Bentley stayed true to its roots and tapped designer Philippe Starck to create a home charger that looks luxe. The so-called Starck Power Dock is sleek and minimalist and designed to keep charging cables tidy.
The hybrid, which will be showcased at the Geneva Motor Show this week, will be available in Europe later this year. The U.S. will follow shortly after, according to a Bentley spokesperson who didn’t give a specific date. Pricing has not been announced.