Bentley probably isn't the first name most of us think of when it comes to SUVs, but the company's first foray into that section of the market has gone so well that it keeps adding new engines to the Bentayga SUV range. But now a truly revolutionary step is coming for the legendary luxury brand as it's set to unveil a plug-in hybrid variant of the Bentayga at the Geneva Motor Show in March, Automotive News reported.
This won't just be a first because it's an electrified Bentayga though. In fact, this will be the first time Bentley has ever offered a hybrid powertrain of any sort in any one of its vehicles, but it's only the start of what it has planned in this direction going forward. A year ago, Bentley announced it would be offering plug-in hybrid variants of all its models in the future, so it probably makes sense to commence the rollout with what is now Bentley's best-selling model.
Ever since the luxury SUV was launched back in late 2015, Bentley has been increasing the engines that can be specified in the Bentayga. It all started with a 12-cylinder petrol powerplant, which was then joined by a V-8 diesel at the start of last year. A turbocharged V-8 is being launched later this month, and the plug-in hybrid will go on sale in the second part of this year. At the moment, customers in the important US market only get the W12, but three of the four units will eventually be made available there, with the diesel likely to be the one left behind.
As Bentley is part of the Volkswagen Group, it's highly likely the plug-in hybrid powertrain will be an adapted version of the unit that's already available in the Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid. That system is a 2.9-liter V-6 petrol engine coupled to a 136 horsepower electric motor, which in the Porsche develops a combined 462 horsepower.
The only problem on the horizon appears to be the supply of the batteries, as Porsche recently revealed its supplier was struggling to keep up with demand. As the Bentayga is already Bentley's biggest seller with 5,586 units sold in 2016, a plug-in hybrid using the same battery as the Panamera E-Hybrid is sure to place considerable further pressure on supply.
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