► The new 2020 Bentayga is here
► V8 only at launch, hybrids to follow
► Mid-life facelift after five years
Before Urus, before Cullinan and long before the Aston Martin DBX there was the Bentley Bentayga.
The British luxury SUV arrived in November 2015 and received a mid-life facelift in 2020, with cosmetic, engineering and digital updates across the board. At launch UK buyers were presented with a single engine option, the twin-turbo V8, with the more powerful if less soulful W12 arriving later in the flagship Speed (626bhp and a shattering turn of speed; 3.8sec 0-62mph and 190mph flat-out).
Now, with the launch of a revised PHEV, the Bentayga range becomes three cars strong, with the new hybrid offering some 30 miles of e-only range and the promise of almost respectable fuel economy next to its V8 and W12 siblings.
Almost every panel has been changed to update the aesthetic. And while purists may recoil at mention of an SUV from one of the world's greatest luxury brands, the Bentayga has been a consistently strong seller, comprising roughly half of Crewe’s annual sales – and the head of design says the new look is designed to be more elegant.
‘We spent a long time examining how to improve the proportions and character of the car,' said JP Gregory, head of exterior design in Crewe. ‘The new Bentayga is still instantly recognisable as a Bentley, but now has a much greater road presence... It's a more self-confident looking SUV from whatever angle you look at the car. The prouder grille and higher, more focused elliptical headlights give a much more modern expression.'
The rear lights have been taken wholesale from the latest Continental GT coupe, giving a rounder, more unified look to the rear end.
We've already driven the new 2020 Bentayga - read our review here
What's new on the 2020 Bentley Bentayga?
As well as changes to the exterior wardrobe, Bentley has lavished much attention inside the new Bentayga. The seats are all-new and engineers claim extra rear legroom. One welcome upgrade is a new 10.9-inch infotainment touchscreen, which should make navigating the car's digital systems easier and more intuitive. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard.
CAR lived with the last Bentayga for nearly a year and you can read our long-term test here. That car was a V8 and that's the only engine offered initially with the 2020 facelift, although Crewe has since introduced the high-performance W12 Speed version. Now the Hybrid will also sit alongside the 4.0-litre V8 (542bhp and 568lb ft of torque) in the Bentayga line-up.
Tell me more about the new PHEV
As before, the fundamentals of the Hybrid remain the pairing of an electric motor with a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 in the SUV’s cavernous engine bay. Together, the two power sources deliver an unchanged-over-the-previous-car 443bhp and 516lb ft. As such, while clearly a lower performance rung than the V8, the Bentayga Hybrid nevertheless promises to be usefully urgent for an SUV. Remember to plug the car in and Bentley claims you’ll be able to squeeze 31 miles of electric-only range out of the battery, though expect to have to use enormous restraint to see that kind of number. Overall range is 536 miles.
On the NEDC drive cycle the numbers are 85.6mpg and 78g/km CO2, with more representative WLTP figures still to come. Before you scoff, Bentley reckons data it compiled from first-generation Bentaya customers suggests that nearly all of them use EV mode several times a week, and that half of them consistently cover journeys of less than 30 miles, meaning those journeys could be conducted on e-power alone. A Bentley-branded wallbox is included in the purchase price of your Bentyaga Hybrid, so there really are no excuses, while Hybrid-specific functions within the My Bentley app allow you to pre-heat or cool the cabin ahead of your journey, start the charging procedure (punch in a departure time and the electronics will optimise charging efficiency) and view a breakdown of your driving data.
The Bentayga Hybrid promises an attractive and very Bentley-appropriate blend of quiet refinement and effortless performance. As before the electric motor, rated at 126bhp and 258lb ft, is packaged within the transmission and offers extra punch during normal driving or near-silent, engine-off progress when EV mode is selected. It draws power from a 17.3kWh battery under the boot while also feeding charge back to it via the car’s regenerative braking function, which Bentley claims is seamlessly integrated with the car’s normal, hydraulic brakes.
Speaking in late 2020, CEO Adrian Hallmark described the new Bentayga Hybrid as ‘incredible, and even more refined than the first-generation car’. Look out for a review in due course, as well as news on Bentley’s other key 2021 PHEV, the hybrid Flying Spur.
Check out our Bentley reviews