► Bentayga range now includes sporty S
► Alongside regular V8 and Hybrid in Europe
► CAR's full debrief of luxury SUV
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. The range has expanded since then, with the standard V8 being complemented with the W12 Speed (only available in certain markets, the plug-in Hybrid and now the S.
What does the Bentayga S bring?
It's designed to be a sharper-edged version of the luxury SUV. The Bentayga S stil has the same power output as the normal V8 (542bhp, 568lb ft and a 0-62mph sprint in 4.5 seconds) but Bentley has tweaked some of the handling characteristics with engineering.
The brand's 'dynamic ride' active anti-roll tech is standard, and the parameters of the sport mode have been recalibrated, with sharper turn-in from the steering, increased damping from the air suspension and a more relaxed stability control system. A sports exhaust is also standard, turning the demure growl of the standard V8 into a proper snarl.
Visually, the S can be spotted by its bespoke 22-inch wheels, black trinketry around the lights and grille and larger rear spoiler. Inside, you can specify an Alcantara-spit upholstery with embroidered S badging on the seats.
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.
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