Bentley Bentayga plug-in taps VW Group parts bin

A Bentley Bentayga on display in March at the Geneva auto show

Photo credit: BLOOMBERG
Jay Ramey is an associate editor with Autoweek, an affiliate of Automotive News Europe.
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After the debut of the diesel Bentayga, packing a triple-charged 4.0-liter V-8 engine generating 429 hp, there was really only one unexplored powertrain option for Bentley's luxury tank: a hybrid.

A plug-in hybrid Bentayga is indeed in the works, and prototypes have been spotted testing in the UK, Auto Express reports. Yes, ultimately this means the Bentayga will be able to take advantage of diamond lanes reserved for electrics and hybrids, traveling along with Toyota Priuses and Nissan Leafs.

Don't write off this version just yet. The prototype Bentayga has been testing with a powertrain borrowed from sister brand Porsche's Cayenne S E-Hybrid, which pairs a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V-6 making 333 hp with an electric motor producing 95 hp, for a total system output of 416 hp in the current Cayenne.

We would expect a production version to use the newer 2.9-liter V-6/motor combination from the new Panamera E-Hybrid, generating a combined 462 hp with the help of a 100-kilowatt electric unit.

A redesigned Cayenne is imminent, but the Bentayga isn't due for a redesign just yet -- it hasn't been on sale that long -- so just about the only exterior changes expected on this model will be an extra cap for the charging socket and perhaps some distinct wheels and badging. The plug-in hybrid is expected to arrive in late 2017.

The Bentayga won't be the sole Bentley model to receive the plug-in hybrid powertrain: The Continental GT will follow suit. It remains to be seen whether Bentley will be able to stick with its promise of offering hybrid power in 90 percent of its lineup by the end of the decade, but with the Bentayga accounting for half of Bentley's sales, it's not difficult to imagine more models gaining this option. Having access to the Porsche parts bin certainly helps.


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