Bentley has confirmed its forthcoming SUV will be the first model to receive a plug-in hybrid powertrain, from 2017, before the technology is rolled out across the range. And to preview the tech the Bentley Hybrid Concept – based on the Mulsanne saloon – will be revealed at the Beijing Motor show later this month.
Although there are no specific power, performance or efficiency figures for the new concept, Bentley has dropped a series of hints. The pictures provided clearly show the Mulsanne’s regular 505bhp 6.75-litre V8 engine under the bonnet - this is boosted by an unspecified number of electric motors, although Bentley claims the plug-in hybrid system will offer and increase in power of 25 per cent and a drop in CO2 emissions of 70 per cent.
By multiplying the Mulsanne’s existing figures, that gives a power output of 631bhp with CO2 emissions of just 118g/km. It will also be capable of driving at least 50km (31 miles) on electric power alone before the engine kicks in – allowing zero emissions driving around town and storming performance when the road opens up.
To mark the Hybrid Concept out visually from the standard Mulsanne it features copper elements to highlight the car’s “electrical veins.” On the outside there are headlamp details, brake calipers and badges all finished in copper, while the interior features copped inserts in the veneers, instrument panel and copper-coloured cross-stitching on the seats.
Bentley’s chairman, Dr Wolfgang Schreiber said: “There is no doubt that plug-in hybrid technology is true to Bentley’s values of outstanding luxury and effortless performance. Combining our renowned engines with electric power reinforces and enhances both principles, and so we will gradually introduce this powertrain across our model range. By the end of the decade, at least 90% of our production will be available as a plug-in hybrid.”