- ‘Serene driving, future-focused technology’
- Bentley’s first step towards electrification
- Advanced motor combines with new V6 petrol engine
CREWE, England – Bentley has at last revealed in-depth info on what it claims is ”the world’s first luxury hybrid car” It’s the Bentayga and is said to be the brands first step towards full vehicle electrification for ”the serenity of silent motoring with exquisite comfort and effortless performance”.
Some of us, of course, might mention the word ”boring!” But anyway…
It’s a plug-in hybrid, which means it usually powered by a petrol engine; full electric can be in invoked for 50km in highly-taxed central cities such as London; or hook ’em together for seriously enormous torque and acceleration.
None of the above is new: I’ve driven variations from a number of brands right here in South Africa over the years and several times been disappointed by the battery-only range – though that was way offset by the, er, electrifying performance of hydrocarbons and electrons running in parallel.
BEHIND THE NAME
You will by now, no doubt, be wondering where the funny name comes from so here’s the answer from Google (to save you the trouble: Bentley officially unveiled the name in January 2015. It was inspired by the Taiga (the world’s largest transcontinental snow forest), by combining the first four letters of Bentley and an altered spelling of Taiga. For our historically or current African readers, Bentayga means “carried interest” in Swahili.
Which interest will be hefty if you decide to finance your Bentayga rather than pay cash…
‘OASIS OF TRANQUILLITY’
Bentley’s media release again: ”The Bentayga Hybrid feels and rides like a true Bentley, providing the refinement, effortless performance and exquisitely tranquil cabin environment for which the luxury British brand is famed. It represents the future of luxury mobility; an oasis of calm and tranquillity in the city and beyond.” (Wonder how it would fare in the Taiga? – Ed )
Adrian Hallmark, chairman and CEO of Bentley Motors, told this humble website in a media communication: “The Bentayga Hybrid is our first step on the road to electrification, It combines traditional Bentley values with the very latest technology.
”It gives customers the best of both worlds – engaging effortless performance on the open road and silent emissions-free driving in the city which will become increasingly important with the ever-changing regulations around the world.
“Following Bentley tradition, the Bentayga Hybrid pioneers a new automotive sector – the luxury hybrid – and sets Bentley on the path towards a sustainable electrified future.”
You plutocrats can’t get one yet, however: orders will be taken in ”selected” markets in the second half of 2018. Meanwhile, here’s more about the car…
At the heart of the Bentayga Hybrid are two power sources – a very efficient electric motor and a new turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine. The E Motor doubles as motor and generator and the package adds a model to the existing range of Bentayga models.
It has all the flexibility associated with the current W12 V8 Diesel and V8 derivatives along with permanent all-wheel drive and four on-road modes – Sport, Bentley, Comfort and Custom. (Amazing how the Chelsea Tractor detractors of big 4×4 wagons of recent years have shut up now they’ve proved their worth in the UK’s recent flooding and current devastating snowstorms.)
The facia data displays have added info from the E Motion system, detailing performance, consumption and energy source. The traditional tachometer (rev counter, Cyril) is replaced by a dial showing when the car is operating in pure EV Drive or engine speed if the combustion engine is operating.
A battery status dial replaces the coolant temperature gauge.
HOOK IT TO YOUR CELLPHONE
The infotainment screen can display energy flow in each of the three E Modes, showing whether the vehicle is being powered by energy supplied by the battery, or the combustion engine – or whether energy is flowing backwards to charge the battery. Really high-tech is Bentley’s use of satnav to calculate the best use of motor / engine at any given time.
Entering a satnav destination will engage the correct E Mode for each part of the journey, constantly calculating the most efficient use of battery charge and storing electrical energy for sections of the journey where it is most useful – such as when entering a city.
The system will reduce on-board charge to zero just as the vehicle reaches its destination, maximising overall efficiency.
More Hybrid-specific functions will be remote charging, cabin heating and cooling, and vehicle status – using your cellphone, silly! The car will also know where the nearest charging station exists.
INFOTAINMENT FEATURES ABOUND
Or, of course, charge the battery from a domestic socket – though that will take seven-and-a-half hours. Install a commercial charger and that can be reduced to two-and-a-half. For a battery-only range of more than 50km a full charge from a domestic household socket will take 7.5 hours. However, owners/leasers with an industrial connection installed at home can reduce the charge time to just 2.5 hours.
A suite of driving assistance systems and infotainment features, the Winged Ones says, have made the Bentayga Hybrid ”an innovative and advanced SUV”: auto cruise control, coming corners reported by the satnav, city boundaries and speed-limits. Nothing new there, then…
Neither are road-sign recognition, approaching traffic warning at junctions, and all-round camera surveillance. Bentley must have worked hard on a new name for such cameras: it came up with Top View, which we think is neither accurate nor original. Oh year, and autonomous parking – which VW introduced donkey’s years ago.
BTW, VW is involved in the cars’ assembly…
…AND FOR MORE OPULENCE
Riders in the Rear get entertainment tablets equipped with 4G, wifi, and Bluetooth. Ho-hum, the whole car gets audio from pretty good to outright amazing, the latter with 18 speakers and the whole car sparkles with polished inlays and shiny metal trim, sighs with the air expulsion of high-quality bull leather and, best of all, is hand-crafted by the skilled Bentley workforce.
The opulent feeling is completed by the fixed back, dividing the interior cabin from the boot. Also trimmed in the signature diamond quilting and including a ski-hatch, it creates an enclosed rear cabin space that sets new standards in the SUV sector.