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Bentley’s New Hybrid Hides Its Luxury From the Masses

In 1724, John Perceval, the first Earl of Egmont, wrote his cousin a letter admiring the gardens at Stowe House in Buckinghamshire. “What adds to the beauty of this garden-variety is, that it is not bounded by walls, but by a ha-hah, which leaves you the vision of the beautiful woody country, and draws you ignorant how far the high-pitched planted treads extend.”

Such ignorance, for Perceval, was necessary for a joyous event of nature, and the ha-ha( as it is commonly spelled) drew it is feasible. In lieu of walls that maintained livestock where humen craved them but impaired the view of the landscape, 18 th-century European landscapers used ditches with a steep slope on one side leading to a wall on the other. From one line-up( the one with the mansion ), the resulting ha-ha was invisible, realizing the landscape appear unbroken. The favourite aspect spread to America and later to the Southern Hemisphere, where it toiled backward: The ha-ha at Australia’s Kew Lunatic Asylum “presented a towering face to patients, preventing them from escaping, ” according to the Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre of the University of Melbourne, “while from outside the walls seemed low-spirited, so as not to suggest imprisonment.”

Now, three centuries on, the concept has induced it into the Bentley Bentayga Hybrid, the world’s first ultra-luxury, battery-powered SUV. Rather than try to eliminate any detect of the gaps between the panels that even off the dashboard, the automaker’s designers stimulated the fleck closer to the windshield a few millimeters lower than the bit in front of it. It labours like a ha-ha in miniature–the whole thing shows as one to the driver. Bentley’s team generated another ha-ha to hide the windshield wipers from consider when they’re not in use, because, chief of interior design Darren Day says, “they’re ugly.”

Bentley’s interior design team exploited a form of an age-old scenery aspect called a ha-ha to manufacture the dashboard appear seamless to the driver.


Like Perceval, Day considers hiding the unsightly bits as key to creating a luxury experience. That’s especially true in a day when even the cheapest automobiles sold in Europe and the US come with the interior screens and advanced driver-assistance facets that once gave payment cars apart. If Volkswagen–Bentley’s parent company–can throw lane-keeping assistance in a $25,000 Golf, why offer eight times that for a Bentley?( Bentley hasn’t liberated world prices for the Bentayga Hybrid hitherto, but the basi form of the SUV beginning at $190,000.)

Sure, the Bentayga Hybrid is fast( 0 to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds) and strong( more than 500 pound-feet of torque ). Its handmade sits adjust in 22 attitudes and render rubs; with the doors and windows closed, it’s tomb-level silent. But in Day’s view, it’s the interesting thing, which the driver were not able to even notice, that justify significant differences. Like the fact that every metal dial facets three sequences of knurling. Or that the temperature sensor, a nipple-shaped bit of black glass, is positioned right where the steering wheel should block it from the opinion of most motorists. Or that Day’s team eliminated the telltale rectangle out of which the passenger line-up airbag deploys. A German house caused perforations in the skin that allow the gas suitcase to pop out but that are too tiny to see.( Because many colors affect information materials differently, Bentley had to test the perforation process on every colouring of skin it will furnish .)

This idea of seeming seamlessness is common to luxury goods and services and nothing new. Dumbwaiters tell servants move meat and laundry without being seen. Concierge assistances treat territories for prosperous travelers, so they can enjoy their vacation without holler Michelin-starred eateries and asking for a table.

The Bentayga is carried with small details operators may not even notice, like the three rows of knurling on every metal dial.


Bentley, though, had to hide more than panel gaps. The company’s first plug-in hybrid incorporates a 17.3 -kilowatt-hour battery( about one-fifth of what you get in a top-shelf Tesla) with a 3.0 -liter V-6 machine. The artillery( which takes the place of the spare tire) facilitates Bentley meet radiations regulations but presented a new challenge, says Antoni Heilgendorff, who leadings the electrical aspects of the Bentayga. Because the car can drive in fully electrical mode or on gas power, the engineers had to smooth the transition from one to the other.

Bentley’s architects established the change subtle, though there’s no avoiding the difference between a quiet motor vehicles and a pistoning V-6 locomotive. And they counteracted the driver of figuring out how to stir the most of the battery. Based on the street, provisioned the motorist uses the navigation system, the car will calculate where it’s most effective to run on electricity–like moving through city traffic–and control itself accordingly. It adjusts the different levels of regenerative braking based on what its camera and radar look: If the driver comes off the throttle and the road is clear, the Bentayga will coast like a conventional gas automobile. If there’s traffic up ahead, it will up the regen, slow-going the car and transporting supremacy back to the battery. These little touches draw the most of the hybrid setup, without involving much envisaged from the motorist. “It makes you recognize the rest of the vehicle, ” Heilgendorff says.

Some things, though, can’t be disguised. For customers who’ll need billing setups installed in their garages, Bentley commissioned a “Power Deck, ” created by French designer Philippe Starck, to grace their walls. Then again, how would a Bentley owner end up in the garage, anyway?

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