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New Bentley Bentayga PHEV arrives at Geneva

The Bentley Bentayga SUV has gained a plug-in hybrid version, which combines an electric motor with a new 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine

Bentley has added a plug-in hybrid powertrain option for the Bentayga SUV, making it the brand’s first electrified vehicle. The firm says it is its “first step towards full electrification”, and it lines up alongside W12, V8 and V8 diesel versions of the Bentayga.

Under the skin of the Bentayga Hybrid is a new turbocharged 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine, mated to an electric motor and generator. Bentley has yet to release any power or performance figures for the new model, but claims CO2 emissions of 75g/km, while an official range of 31 miles on electric power only is claimed, as measured under New European Driving Cycle tests. Recharging the battery pack will take 7.5 hours from a household three-pin plug, and a 2.5-hour charge time is quoted for those with a proper connector.

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While the Bentayga Hybrid retains the same Sport, Bentley, Comfort and Custom driving modes, the stop-start switch in the cabin has been replaced by a control for three new hybrid only features – EV Drive, Hybrid Mode and Hold Mode. Each of these modes alters how reliant the car is on the battery and electric motor for propulsion, with EV Drive switching the car onto electric power only, and Hold Mode for holding charge and relying more on the V6 engine.

The infotainment system and instrumentation has been changed too, to reflect the car’s hybrid power source. For instance, the rev counter has been altered with a new segment dedicated to how much electric power is being used, while a battery status dial replaces the coolant temperature gauge. A live energy flow diagram is now available on the infotainment screen and the TFT display in the middle of the instrument panel.

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The satellite navigation setup works with the hybrid system too, calculating the best balance of electric motor and engine usage for every journey in a bid to be as efficient as possible. For instance, it can store electrical energy in reserve if the navigation sees city driving ahead. Bentley says it can ration electrical energy so efficiently, that on-board charge reduces to zero on arrival.

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New functions have been added to the MyBentley3 smartphone app too. Owners can now use their smartphones to monitor battery charging remotely, alongside being able to pre-heat and cool the vehicle’s interior. The app can locate charging points too, and send them to thee car’s navigation system.

The Bentayga Hybrid’s charging socket is located behind a flap on the opposite side of the car to the fuel filler. Aside from that, copper coloured ‘Hybrid’ badging and copper coloured wheel centres are the only design changes on the outside. In the cabin, the tread plates gain hybrid branded inserts.

Elsewhere, the same technology and driver assistance systems present across the Bentayga range are included. That means adaptive cruise control teams up with Bentley’s Traffic Assist function, while traffic sign recognition, rear cross traffic alert, park assist, infrared night vision and a top-down view camera system are also available.

Alongside the Bentayga Hybrid, Bentley has revealed a concept charging unit for the home, designed in collaboration with Phillipe Starck. There’s currently no word if the Bentley by Starck Power Dock will be offered to customers, and we’re still waiting to hear UK prices and specifications for the new Bentayga Hybrid, though Bentley says it’ll hit the market in the second half of 2018.

Click here for all the latest from the 2018 Geneva Motor Show...

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