By on April 13, 2020

2017 Bentley Bentayga:

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.

2017 Bentley Bentayga rear

[Images: Bentley]

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24 Comments on “Bentley Bentayga Hybrid Offers Less Highway MPG Than V8 Model...”

  • avatar

    Because Bentley driver’s number one concern is gas mileage. Does driving a hybrid alleviate rich people guilt of driving such an ostentatious status symbol?

  • avatar

    Our it could be that our test sucks? YMMV, and all that.

  • avatar

    Basically all of these worldwide are sold to people who live and spend their time in cities. Highway mpg in general matters far less than you would think from the American car press, which appears to think that every destination is immediately off an exit from a magically uncrowded interstate.

    (To even reach an interstate at all from my house, I have to drive 3-4 miles along 25 mph city streets, over one or two steep hills depending which interstate I choose.)

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Well, at least it’s about 10% cheaper to buy. That might net a few more customers, meaning maybe 100 per year.

  • avatar

    Largely to get access into cities which restrict autos which exceed a certain level of CO2 emissions.

    Hybrids and in particular PHEVs, never made much economic sense for a large % of drivers.

    W/ PHEVs, in the (limited) battery mode/range, are still carrying around an ICE which still requires ICE maintenance and when the electric range is depleted, are lugging around a heavy battery which kills fuel economy.

    Pretty much the worst of both worlds and one is still paying a pretty hefty premium (which is why PHEV sales have never really taken off even w/ subsidies in many European countries/municipalities).

    A much lighter and drastically cheaper 48V system would suffice for most (battery power taking over in low speed/stop-n-go situations).

    • 0 avatar

      And the reality is, unless you are playing Top Trumps with Richard and James, the total HP and torque are not really relevant, even in everyday driving. Using 400+ horsepower on city streets is pretty much impossible most of the time, and will result in a speeding infraction in a handful of seconds. And who would buy a Bentley to drag-race Mustangs?

  • avatar

    Not surprised, VW’s technological chops are well behind Toyota or Tesla. And the owners don’t care- Bentleys are basically the official rental cars for the “Exotic at $400/day” crowd.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    The sooner electricity is harnessed for performance above all else, the better. A smaller battery to haul around can still give a massive jolt ( *pun/no pun ) to the prime mover. This could apply to towing up a hill as well as for outright acceleration. My ideal design would have a small Diesel engine, able to both drive an axle and freewheel as needed, that charges a battery – again, as needed. 4X4 electric torque goodness augmented by direct-drive Diesel torque goodness when required. Horsepower is a neato number but, unless you drive at or near the redline in your vehicle with great frequency – you drive torque. As we all know, EVs are as fantastic at generating* torque as are Diesel engines. Marry the two and sell me one.

  • avatar

    Anyway, it will be bought by Russian, Chinese and Saudi nouveau riches. I doubt that this abomination is made for Europeans. But I may underestimate Europeans.

    • 0 avatar

      Europeans will buy it because certain city centers are either going to a toll for all ICE-powered vehicles, or banning them altogether. So it won’t be long before you cannot drive in central London or Paris on gasoline/diesel power. That’s why this thing exists. It’s also why most PHEV’s have a “save the battery for later” mode, so you can drive from your estate or suburban tract house or whatever into the city and switch to electric mode when you get there.

  • avatar

    I’m going to solve this problem for them.

    Make it a V8 Hybrid.

    Problem solved. Let me know when I get to pick up my company loaner.

  • avatar

    Hybrids don’t really help much on the highway. They are usually Atkinson cycle, which helps a little, and super tall gearing. I don’t know how Bentley managed to make it do worse than the V8, though.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Next the Bentley Turbo 4 Bentayga for those who buy the ultimate luxury car and ask how many mpgs will this get and can I afford the gas.

  • avatar

    WAG is that the final drive ratio is lower to give it better acceleration with the relatively weak electric motor, thus the ICE is running at higher RPMs in highway situations. couple that with the fact that the hybrid bits aren’t doing so much in highway operation either.

  • avatar

    Wow. An under-performing, all-hype, politically-correct “environmentally friendly” vehicle apparently designed for use in an under-performing, all-hype, politically-correct “environmentally friendly” environment.

    This is the predictable result of Greenie nutjobs actively destroying what’s proven to work in favor of non-viable “sunshine and unicorns” technology. Wishing will make it so!

    The primary purpose of “green” legislation is to remove “green” from consumer wallets, and to replace freedom with excess governmental regulation.

  • avatar

    Simply piteous.

  • avatar

    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.

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