Bentley plans plug-in blitz from 2018

Bentley Bentayga luxury SUV front tracking
18 Feb, 2016 11:21am Richard Ingram

CEO insists hybrid is the fuel of the future, but pushes back plug-in Bentayga

Bentley boss Wolfgang Durheimer has confirmed that the first electrified Bentley is at least two years away – despite speculation that a plug-in Bentayga was scheduled for release shortly after the SUV went on sale last year.

“The first electrified Bentley will come in the Bentayga in 2018”, he told Auto Express.

This forthcoming plug-in drivetrain isn’t limited only to the Bentayga, though. Sales and marketing boss Kevin Rose insisted all models apart from the current MulsanneContinental GT and Flying Spur included – are mechanically capable of the technology, with Durheimer confirming we’ll see a bigger roll-out across the range in the future.

“Before we see a pure electric Bentley, we’ll see plug-ins on all model lines”, he said. “It’s not only a bridging technology, it’s a solution for the future.”

Bentley Flying Spur V8 S gets more power and better handling

CEO Durheimer wouldn’t rule out the introduction of an all-electric flagship in the future, though. “Whether the world needs a fully-electric Bentley will come in time. I will not exclude it.

“I don’t consider it a positioning criteria for our customers”, he said. “Our criteria are luxury and performance. This is why I count on plug-in hybrids. They answer the question.”

Bentley Bentayga luxury SUV rear quarter

While Bentley’s first ever diesel engine is expected to launch in the Bentayga in the next 12 months, it won’t be seen as a global solution to lower running costs and reduce emissions. The demand for diesel is still strictly limited to Europe – with the US, China and the Middle East benefitting from low oil prices that allow buyers to run cars with big, thirsty W12 petrol engines.

This is where hybrid will play a big part for companies like Bentley. It satisfies the wants and needs of the brand’s biggest markets, while also meeting potential EV-only legislation in city centres across the globe.

Should Bentley stick with thirsty W12s? Or invest in an all-electric future? Let us know in the comments below...