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In-depth reviews

Bentley Bentayga Hybrid review

While Bentley has made worthy updates to the interior and exterior, the second-generation Bentayga Hybrid uses the same powertrain as the previous model, so it falls short of rivals

Overall rating

3.5 out of 5

Pros

  • Electric mode
  • Interior quality
  • Improved styling

Cons

  • Not as characterful as V8 or W12
  • Unchanged powertrain
  • Limited electric range
Car typeElectric rangeFuel economyCO2 emissions
Plug-in hybrid25 miles83mpg82g/km

Bentley is on its way to becoming an all-electric company by 2030, with the first zero-emissions model from the prestigious British brand expected to arrive in 2025. In the meantime, Bentley has launched a plug-in hybrid version of the Flying Spur limousine and this: the second-generation Bentayga Hybrid.

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Like the electrified Flying Spur, the new Bentayga Hybrid also features a plug-in hybrid powertrain. It combines a 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine, an electric motor and a 17.3kWh battery for a total power output of 443bhp and 700Nm of torque – the same as the previous generation of Bentley’s electrified SUV.

However, the 2.7-tonne machine can still accelerate from 0-62mph in 5.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 158mph. But it’s not just about speed and power with the Bentayga Hybrid, as thanks to the hybrid system it can return up to 83.1mpg and emits 82g/km of CO2. That's almost four times better fuel economy than the V8 version of the Bentayga, however, the all-new plug-in hybrid Range Rover that's arriving later this year will emit less than 30g/km of CO2 and boasts an electric driving range of up to 62 miles. 

The Bentayga Hybrid on the other hand is capable of 25 miles of pure-electric driving, with an electric top speed of 84mph, which is the same as previous-generation car could do. It would have been good to see some improvements in these areas, especially because even the much less expensive BMW X5 has a much longer electric driving range, emits less CP2 and can return up to 235mpg, compared to the Bentley’s 81mpg.

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While the powertrain is the same as the previous generation's, the styling – inside and out – has been updated. The most noticeable difference is a larger and more upright grille, which now looks more in line with the rest of the range, flanked by a pair of huge LED matrix headlights designed to look like cut-crystal glassware. The rear of the Bentayga has been entirely redesigned and now comes complete with oval tailpipes.

On this model, you also get 'Hybrid' badging outside, plus a selection of up to 22-inch alloy wheels and a range of new paint colours. Inside, Bentley has replaced the more traditional dials with a digital driver’s display. The rest of the cabin is pure Bentley, though, and with high-quality materials lining every surface, it somehow feels more luxurious than before. There's also a new 10.9-inch infotainment screen that supports Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay.

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As well as the typical settings for the suspension, steering and so on, you also get a choice of three extra driving modes: EV, Hybrid and Hold. EV lets you run only on battery power, while in Hybrid the car’s system works out the most efficient balance of engine and electric-motor use. Finally, Hold ensures the car retains as much charge as possible for when you need it, like when driving in town.

Fully recharging the relatively small 17.3kWh battery takes around two and a half hours from a regular home wallbox, or up to seven hours if you have to use a three-pin socket. Due to the battery’s location under the boot and rear seats, the Bentayga Hybrid still isn’t available in seven-seater form – only in four or five-seat configurations.

On the road, the Bentayga feels at its majestic best in EV mode, which lets you silently waft around town. The driving experience is particularly serene when you select Comfort mode for the suspension, and it also allows you to appreciate the accuracy of the Bentayga’s steering, its powerful brakes and the outstanding quality of the interior – all the things that define a true Bentley.

But once the V6 fires up, you begin to question this luxury SUV’s £155,000 price tag somewhat. The engine is almost characterless, lacking the personality you get on the move from the V8 or W12 motors fitted to the other models in Bentley’s range.

Overall, the Bentayga’s interior quality and the tranquility you experience in EV mode can't overcome the powertrain’s other flaws, especially given the Bentayga Hybrid’s limited pure-electric range means you don’t get to enjoy zero-emissions driving in it for very long.

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Richard is editor of DrivingElectric, as well as sister site Carbuyer.co.uk, and a regular contributor to Auto Express. An electric and hybrid car advocate, he spent more than five years working on the news and reviews desk at Auto Express and has driven almost every new car currently on sale.

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