2019 Bentley Bentayga Hybrid First Drive: Big luxury ‘ute offers yet more choice

The Execution
The 443 hp total is 100 shy of the Bentayga V8. Bentley says the hybrid should hit 60 mph in 5.2 seconds, eight tenths of a second slower than the V8 but 1.2-seconds faster than the Range Rover plug-in, in case any of that matters to you. The Bentley’s top speed is 158 hp. The official electric-only range is 16 miles, but Bentley says 20 miles is realistic, and also says one of its engineers has seen 30 miles.
My drive route is a half day in and around Silicon Valley. With the average home price hovering around $11 million it’s arguably the perfect venue, consisting mostly of slower-speeds in town plus a couple freeway blasts.
The Bentayga feels at home doing both: silently and smoothly stretching its legs on freeway runs or putt-putting around town with the silky composure befitting a Bentley. The acceleration is akin to a decent supercharged V6. Plenty brisk enough for most, I suspect.
The drivetrain has three modes: EV Drive, Hybrid Mode and Hold Mode. The first two are self-explanatory while Hold leans on the V6 more than Hybrid mode, the idea being to conserve as much juice as possible for later use. The transition between running on electricity to running on the V6 is imperceptible. The only way I can tell it’s even happening is if I’m watching the tach.
There are four active suspension modes, Sport, Bentley, Comfort and Custom. The car is comfortable and composed in all of them and keeps body roll in check really well, especially in sport. The brakes are the only thing I find weird, more like an on-off switch, but I find that in plenty of other hybrids, too. Generally the Bentayga Hybrid wafts along beautifully, like a proper, coddling, luxury SUV should.