Like other luxury car brands, Bentley isn't immune to the political pressures of the environmental movement. With various regulations coming into effect over the next few years, the British automaker is in the process of introducing alternative powertrains in an effort to reduce its emissions.
This has already started with the introduction overseas of a Bentayga Diesel in 2016. The next step will be the introduction of a Bentayga Hybrid in 2018, a prototype for which has just been spotted at the Nürburgring.
While the prototype may look like any old Bentayga tester, a closer inspection confirms it’s a hybrid. For example, a look inside reveals a “PHEV” sticker, designating it as a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. There are two fuel filler caps on the vehicle, one for gasoline and another likely to hide the charging port.
Bentley showed a hybrid concept based on the Mulsanne flagship as early as 2014. While the concept paired the Mulsanne’s V-8 with an electric motor, the Bentayga Hybrid is expected to use a more modest V-6 as the internal combustion component of its powertrain.
It’s possible the powertrain will be a variation of the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid setup which consists of a 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V-6 paired with an electric motor integrated with the transmission. A similar setup is destined for Porsche’s latest Cayenne which shares a platform with the Bentayga.
Look for the Bentley Bentayga Hybrid to debut early next year, as a 2019 model.
Bentley hopes to increase acceptance and use of the plug-in technology. In fact, the automaker plans to introduce it across its range. Fortunately for it, preliminary information coming back from other Volkswagen Group brands on plug-ins suggests there is plenty of room to educate and encourage use of the technology’s electric-only capability more regularly.