Bentley has hinted at the launch of a hybrid for the past couple of years and confirmed at the reveal of its EXP 9 F in 2012 that an electrified option was being considered for the SUV concept’s eventual production version. Now the British automaker has previewed its hybrid system in a concept version of its Mulsanne flagship, and has promised to offer the system in its SUV no later than 2017.

Bentley’s first hybrid will be a plug-in hybrid, with the system developed using technology from the automaker’s Volkswagen Group parent. Although at this point it’s only been confirmed for the SUV, Bentley says the fact that it is showcasing its hybrid system in the Mulsanne is proof that the eco-friendly technology can enhance even the automaker’s most luxurious models.

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Bentley states that its hybrid system will offer a power increase of up to 25 percent together with a 70 percent reduction in CO2 emissions, when compared with the standard Mulsanne’s twin-turbocharged 6.75-liter V-8. Considering the engine in stock form produces 505 horsepower, an extra 25 percent brings the tally up to 631 horsepower. In electric-only mode, Bentley says the hybrid Mulsanne will be able to travel up to 31 miles on a full charge of its battery.

No further details on the hybrid tech have been revealed, but we can see that the Mulsanne’s V-8 remains present. Engineers have likely integrated an electric motor with the car’s automatic transmission and placed a lithium-ion battery in the floor of the car or its trunk. Charging can be done at home and likely on the road as well, using regenerative braking.

In designing the concept, copper is used as an exterior and interior styling element to highlight the car’s electrical veins, including copper details to the headlamps, radiator shell bezel, brake calipers, feature line details and badges. Copper accents continue in the cabin, with inserts to the hand-crafted veneers fascias, switch bezels and instruments.

More details should be revealed following the hybrid Mulsanne concept’s debut at the 2014 Beijing Auto Show on April 20. For more from the show, head to our dedicated hub.


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