Diesel may be a bit on the nose in the United States but elsewhere it’s still the fuel of choice.
That’s why Bentley, one year on from the emergence of the emissions cheating practices of its Volkswagen Group parent, is launching its first diesel in its almost 100-year history.
The first is the new Bentley Bentayga Diesel, which adopts the advanced diesel engine that debuted earlier in 2016 in the related Audi SQ7 TDI. The engine is a turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 that features two conventional exhaust-driven compressors (turbochargers) as well as an electrically-driven one.
The engine delivers 429 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque, which is enough to rocket the big SUV from 0-60 mph in just 4.6 seconds. The top speed is 168 mph. That isn’t too far off the pace of the 600-hp Bentayga W12 but the Bentayga Diesel also has the lowest carbon emissions of any Bentley, measuring 210 grams per kilometer. It also has an impressive range of approximately 621 miles on a single tank.
2017 Bentley Bentayga DieselEnlarge Photo
The turbochargers feature variable-geometry technology and are arranged in a sequential configuration. The electric compressor sits in the air path downstream of the intercooler, close to the engine. Its purpose is to add boost pressure at low revs while the two turbochargers are still spooling up. The result is peak torque—all 664 lb-ft—at just 1,000 rpm! All that grunt is then diverted to the wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive system.
A number of measures have been implemented to improve refinement. For example, the exhaust system has been acoustically engineered to minimize as much as possible the signature diesel rattle. You’ll notice that the Bentayga Diesel’s exhaust tips also feature a unique shape. The vehicle also sports “V8 Diesel” badges on its flanks and a blacked-out grille to further differentiate it.
Inside, the Bentayga Diesel is as plush as any vehicle you’ll find from the British firm. It’s filled with supple leather, exquisite veneered woods and real metal elements. Debuting in the Bentayga Diesel is a veneer with a new finish called Liquid Amber, as shown above.
Deliveries of the Bentayga Diesel will commence in early 2017. Unfortunately the United States isn’t on the list of countries it’s bound for. Don’t be too sad, though. A plug-in hybrid is due in 2017 and we’ll see it in local showrooms.