Bentley's first-ever hybrid is coming next year.

It’s been awhile since we’ve last seen Bentley testing the plug-in hybrid version of its Bentayga luxury SUV, but the eco-friendly vehicle was back in the public eye this time performing some high speed tests at Germany’s Nurburgring. Of course, no one expects the Bentayga PHEV to be used on track, but the British company wants to make sure it performs well at high speeds, as most of the future owners will probably use the vehicle on motorways.

The Bentayga is a revolutionary model for Bentley in a number of ways, but most importantly it will become the brand’s first-ever plug-in hybrid model.

You won’t be able to easily differentiate it from the standard gasoline and diesel-powered versions at a glance, but a fuel cap on the rear left fender hiding the electric charger tells more about the nature of the SUV.The big mystery surrounding the Bentayga plug-in hybrid is the powertrain.

According to preliminary details, it will get either the hybrid system of the outgoing Porsche Cayenne Hybrid or the powerplant of the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid. The second option looks more plausible to us, so expect to see the same power figures, 462 horsepower (340 kilowatts) and 517 pound-feet (700 Newton-meters), as in the hybrid Panamera.

This system comprises of a 2.9-liter V6 gas engine, supported by an electric motor and a liquid-cooled 14.1 kWh lithium-ion battery pack installed underneath the floor. In the plug-in Panamera, the powertrain provides as much as 31 miles (51 kilometers) of pure electric range on the NEDC scale (think ~24 miles/38 km real world/EPA) , so similar numbers should be expected for Bentley’s first hybrid.

The exotic automaker has already promised all its future models will have plug-in hybrid versions and the Bentayga PHEV will be the first to arrive sometime next year. It will be followed by a hybrid Continental GT, which will also debut before the end of 2018.

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