2023 Bentley Bentayga S, Azure Hybrids Debut More Power, Comfort and Range
Both the sporty Bentayga S Hybrid and the comfy Azure Hybrid luxury SUVs have a larger battery pack and up to 27 miles of EV range.
Antuan GoodwinReviews Editor / Cars
Antuan Goodwin gained his automotive knowledge the old fashioned way, by turning wrenches in a driveway and picking up speeding tickets. From drivetrain tech and electrification to car audio installs and cabin tech, if it's on wheels, Antuan is knowledgeable.
ExpertiseReviewing cars and car technology since 2008 focusing on electrification, driver assistance and infotainmentCredentials
North American Car, Truck and SUV of the Year (NACTOY) Awards Juror
During my first drive of the V8-powered Bentayga EWB, I found myself wondering what's next for the plug-in hybrid variant of Bentley's luxury SUV. I needn't wonder more after this morning's announcement of new Bentayga S Hybrid and Azure Hybrid models joining the lineup.
Bentayga S Hybrid
A new 18-kilowatt-hour battery (slightly larger than the 17.3-kWh unit in the standard Bentayga Hybrid) sits at the center of the S Hybrid's performance gains. With a larger reserve to draw from, the electric motor has been boosted to 100 kilowatts (up from 94 kW) or about 134 horsepower. Combined with the 3.0-liter turbocharged V6, the Bentayga S Hybrid outputs a total of 456 hp -- 13 ponies more than the base Hybrid.
The S Hybrid will sprint from 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) in 5.3 seconds, nearly identical to the non-S spec, which sort of makes sense given the modest hp bump and likely heavier battery. Hybrid top speed is also unchanged at 158 mph and -- though Bentley's release doesn't specify -- it's probably a safe bet that the EV mode's top speed of 84 mph also persists.
With a lighter right foot, the bigger battery should yield improved EV range. Bentley is targeting 27 miles of silent running on a full charge before the combustion engine steps in to extend the S Hybrid's range. Acceleration should also feel more responsive in EV mode thanks to the electric motor making about 15% more torque (295 pound-feet).
Like the Bentayga S V8, the S Hybrid receives a complement of handling upgrades, including a 15% increase in damper stiffness in Sport mode and a retune of its stability control to allow a bit more dynamic fun before the electronic nannies step in. There's even a sports exhaust that adds a bit of auditory engagement at speed and can be adjusted to create different effects for front and rear seat passengers.
Visually, the S Hybrid distinguishes itself with Blackline exterior trim, unique 22-inch wheels, a rear spoiler and front bumper inspired by the Bentayga Speed and red-painted brake calipers. Inside, performance dials grace the digital instrument cluster and "S" emblems can be found throughout the cabin.
At the opposite end of the comfort-performance spectrum is the Bentayga Azure Hybrid. This more luxurious, wellness-focused spec matches many of the new creature comforts that debuted on the Bentayga EWB Azure with the plug-in hybrid powertrain. The Azure Hybrid also features the new, larger 18-kWh battery and should boast the same 27-mile EV range.
The standard Bentayga Hybrid is already quiet, especially in EV mode, but the Azure steps up with improvements to active and passive sound cancellation that reduces cabin noise by up to 26% depending on the frequency and seating position. The Azure model also features a smoother, more supple ride with suspension hardware tuning that's said to pass 27% less vibration and harshness to passengers than its competitors.
Grade-specific comfort front seats feature 22-way adjustment and heating and ventilation. Bentley has also dug deep into the science of what it calls "wellbeing behind the wheel," using the findings of neuroscience studies when designing the Azure Hybrid's cabin. To make a long story short, passengers are treated to much nicer materials, patterns and colors than the already luxurious standard Bentayga and it makes them feel good. From the diamond quilted leather upholstery with 15 hide colors to choose from to the myriad wood veneer options including three new open pore choices, contrast stitching and mood lighting, the Azure Hybrid promises to be a feast for the senses.
Further enhancing wellness through safety is the Touring Specification, which includes driver assistance features such as adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist and low-speed (below 37 mph) enhanced traffic jam steering assist.
Available to order
The Bentayga S Hybrid or the Azure Hybrid are available to order now in most markets. Pricing hasn't been announced for either spec, but both are sure to be more expensive than the standard Bentayga Hybrid's six-figure base price. With bespoke luxury vehicles such as these, price can vary wildly depending on paint, upholstery, bells and whistles. The manufacturer suggested retail price is truly just a suggestion at this level.
With the arrival of the Bentayga S Hybrid and Azure Hybrid, Bentley moves closer towards its goal of offering hybrid powertrains for every model in its lineup by 2025. 2025 is also when we can expect the first battery-electric Bentley model to arrive, kicking off the British automaker's transition to a fully electric lineup by 2030.