Charge It, Jeeves: Bentley to Unveil Bentayga Plug-In Hybrid

Making good on a statement made a year ago, Bentley will show a plug-in hybrid variant of its cross-eyed uniquely styled Bentayga at March’s Geneva Motor Show. This continues its expansion of a model that is already built with a 6.0-liter W12 and, in some markets, a 4.0-litre diesel V8. A gasoline-fuelled V8 is apparently on tap, too.

This will mark the first electrified vehicle for the luxury brand, one better known for bespoke interiors than batteries and kilowatts. Going forward, though, there’s an increasingly excellent chance that electrons will spread like wild kudzu across the model range.

The Bentayga Plug-In Hybrid drivetrain will likely be similar to that found in the Porsche Cayenne and Panamera E-Hybrid machines, which use an Audi-sourced 333-hp supercharged 3.0-liter V6. In the Cayenne, the electric motor/generator produces 95 horsepower and 229 lb-ft of torque, which is 41 horses and 66 lb-ft less than the motor in the 2018 Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid. Knowing this, it’s possible that the electrified Bentayga will find itself somewhere between those two figures.

Porsche deploys a 10.8 kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which is mounted under the cargo floor and can be replenished from an optional onboard 7.2 kW charger. It is compatible with either a standard SAE J1772 connector or Porsche’s own charging system that mounts on an owner’s garage wall. Expect Bentley’s own charging system to be upholstered in the finest of woods and leathers, priced in the upper stratosphere.

Bentley sold about 1,200 Bentayga crossovers in America last year, or about one-third of the Q7s Audi shifts here in a single month. Still, it is far and away the brand’s best-selling model. In 2016, its first full year on the market, the Bentayga accounted for 5,586 of 11,817 Bentley sales worldwide.

Rumours swirled earlier this year over an upcoming all-electric “Baby Bentayga.” At the time, Automotive News quoted Rolf Frech, Bentley’s board member on engineering, as stating “If you are looking for such a car then we are looking at the combination with the possibilities to go full electric. It only makes sense if you get really new customers into the brand.â€�

It wouldn’t be a stretch to peg pricing of the Bentayga Plug-In Hybrid at a quarter of a million dollars. Those flush with cash can look for it on sale in the second half of this year.

[Image: Bentley]