Bentley Bentayga Hybrid Offers Less Highway MPG Than V8 Model

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

While some degree of valueless virtue signaling accompanied the launch of Toyota’s Prius, most hybrid customers are an exceptionally practical lot. Fixated on the long game, they’re willing to weigh the added cost of supplemental electrification against an uptick in efficiency — attempting to calculate the duration of ownership required before they can start raking in the savings. However, the math doesn’t always work out like you’d think.

Recently assessed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the 2020 Bentley Bentayga Hybrid may not be the model for high-end customers looking to maximize their fuel economy. According to Green Car Reports, which obsessively tracks all things electric, Bentley’s Hybrid is actually less efficient on the highway and boasts a shorter maximum range than its V8 alternative.

The EPA rates the hybrid model at 17 mpg city, 21 highway. While the more-expensive V8 only manages 14 mpg around town, its highway economy is superior.

From Green Car Reports:

In hybrid mode, it achieves EPA ratings of 17 mpg city, 21 highway, and 19 combined. Just looking at combined ratings, it’s the member of the Bentayga lineup getting the best mileage. But looking at highway figures — where you’re hoping a plug-in hybrid will deliver good efficiency, after its charge is depleted — the $156,900 Bentayga Hybrid is outdone by the $171,025 Bentayga V8, which gets 23 mpg highway.

Combustion engine cranking, the Bentayga V8 also has about 100 more hp than the Hybrid, and accelerates nearly a second quicker to 60 mph. It might also, from what we hear, sound better. It also has a longer EPA-rated highway range — of 518 miles, versus 430 for the Hybrid (including a charge and a full tank).

Over the last few years, engineers from several automakers have told me they’re becoming convinced there is a law of diminishing returns when it comes to battery technology (one reason why the industry keeps funding its evolution). While incredibly high development costs play a factor, they’re actually more concerned with weight. The more mass a vehicle possess (or has to lug around as cargo), the bigger its battery pack has to be to ensure a useful range — adding more weight.

At 5,776 pounds, the Bentayga Hybrid is almost 500 lbs heavier than the turbocharged V8 model when both are equipped to allow room for five (the V8 can be optioned to seat seven occupants). Combined, its 3.0-liter V6 and hybrid E-Drive system make 443 bhp with peak torque coming in at 516 lb-ft. Meanwhile, the standalone 4.0-liter V8 delivers 542 bhp and 568 foot-pounds.

It’s probably wise Bentley priced the V8 so much higher than the hybrid. With the exception of offering roughly a dozen miles of electric-only driving before requiring a recharge, the hybrid powertrain doesn’t really offer anything unique. To get the most from it, one would also have to spend a large portion of their time below highways speeds. That might go over better in Europe, where destinations are typically closer (and where nations are discussing the eventual banning of exhaust emissions in urban areas, anyway). Meanwhile, well-heeled Americans would probably look at the Hybrid and shrug if it were a more mainstream car. But its status as a premium luxury item could make that irrelevant. Small as they will undoubtedly be, we’re curious to see how Bentayga sales progress this year.

Our advice to rich people? Just buy the 6.0-liter W12 version while you still can.

[Images: Bentley]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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2 of 24 comments
  • Tylanner Tylanner on Apr 14, 2020

    Simply piteous.

  • HotPotato HotPotato on Apr 14, 2020

    Just another bad-faith Euro plug-in hybrid with pointlessly short electric range, iffy economy benefit, and inability to run on electricity under anything but a feather foot. Why do these rolling monuments to one-cheek engineering exist, when Chevrolet and, more recently, Toyota are happy to license plug-in hybrid technology that actually works? Because they're not supposed to work. They're supposed to grant sneaky Euro richies access to 1) EV zones in city centers, where ICE cars aren't allowed, 2) tax breaks that were meant for people whose cars actually have an environmental benefit, and 3) primo parking, since the high cost of fat electrical cables means EV charging spots are usually right next to buildings...while still driving the car they want. Bentley, Volvo, BMW, Audi, Mini -- they all make variations of these crapmobiles, and they all deserve to be shamed for it. I'm a big believer in PHEV technology. Done right (Chevy Volt, Honda Clarity PHEV, Toyota Prius Prime) you can make a strong argument that it offers more environmental benefit for less money than BEVs. And if you think you don't care, bear in mind they're a good way to raise the fleet average enough to keep the Hellcats and such around. But these third-rate luxury PHEVs are discrediting the concept.

  • Rando [h2]Coincidentally, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is more than $41k as well -.-[/h2]
  • Ajla "Gee, wonder why car (as well as home) insurance rates are much higher in places like Florida..." Severe weather is on the list but even if a benevolent genie reverted the climate to circa 1724 I think FL would still have high cost. Our home insurance rates have increased 102% since 2021 and I don't think weather models account for that much of a change in that period. Florida's insurance assignment of benefit regulation meant that it had ~80% of the country's of the insurance lawsuits on ~12% of the nation's claims and litigated claims can be expensive to insurance companies. The state altered some regulations and is having some success on getting more companies back, even with the severe weather risks, through relatively bipartisan efforts. With car insurance just beyond the basic "Florida" stuff, the population increase of the past few years is overwhelming the roads. But, I think the biggest thing is we have very low mandated car insurance levels. Only $10K personal injury and $10K property damage. No injury liability needed. And 20% of the state has no insurance. So people that actually want insurance pay out the nose. Like I commented above my under/uninsured coverage alone is 2.5x my comprehensive & collision.
  • Juan Let's do an 1000 mile drive and see who gets there first.
  • Eliyahu CVT needed for MPG. Outback is indeed the legacy of, err, the Legacy.
  • Gayneu I can comment on these. My wife always thought the Minis were "cute" so I bought her a used 2005 (non-S, 5 speed) for one of her "special" birthdays. She loved it and I kinda did too. Somehow a hole developed in the transmission case and the fluid drained out, ruining the car (too expensive to fix). A local mechanic bought it for $800.We then bought a used 2015 S (6 speed) which we still have today (80k miles). Her sister just bought a used S as well (also manual). It has been a dependable car but BMW-priced maintenance and premium gas hurts for sure. I think the earlier generation (like in the article) were better looking with cleaner lines. The 2015 S rides too stiff for me (Chicago roads) but is a hoot on smooth ones. It does seem to shift weird - its hard to describe but it shifts differently from every other manual I have driven. No matter how hard I try, so won't let go of her Mini.