It was a difficult decision to run the Bentley. I know, I can hear the violins from here.
But the harsh reality is that I rack up a huge annual mileage, I have to pay for my own fuel and I’ll not be alone in noting the stuff isn’t exactly cheap right now. Which is why I’ve never run one in the past. But the appearance of the Bentayga Hybrid changed all that, at least on paper. Yes, of course I knew it had no chance of doing the 83.1mpg claimed for it, but I thought that, in theory at least, it might drag the prospect of running a Bentley out of the realm of the simply impossible and into that of the just about affordable, so long as I was very, very careful.
Being very, very careful about how you consume fuel is probably not a matter of overwhelming concern to most Bentley owners, but I thought it would be interesting to see, even as a technical exercise. And here’s the news, both good and bad. The good news is that it really will do around 28 miles on electrical power if you keep your journey local. And my local town is 11 miles away. This means I can get to the supermarket and back by Bentley for a lower energy cost than taking our family 1.5-litre Volkswagen Golf so long, of course, as I only ever charge it at home, which I do. And a wonderfully pleasant, if somewhat ostentatious, commuter car it is, too.
But what about longer journeys? I think it can still be pretty remarkable. Recently, I headed off on a gentle cross-country jaunt to have a pub lunch with an old friend, left with the battery fully charged and did over 80 miles at better than 40mpg – in a 2.5-tonne Bentley. I don’t think either of my more recent long- termtestcars–aBMW128ti preceded by a Ford Focus ST – would have done any better; the Ford probably quite a lot worse. And yes, you have to add the cost of the electricity, too, which is £2.38 for those 28 miles, but that’s buttons when it comes to running a Bentley.
What if, however, you find yourself in a suboptimal situation, such as you’ve been an idiot and forgot to charge the car, you’re in a hurry and the journey is all motorway? I’ve been there, too. Drive down said motorway as fast as you think will leave your licence unburdened by additional points and its fuel consumption doubles. Early 40s MPG in gentle driving with a bit of electrical assistance becomes very early 20s MPG when rushing on an empty battery.