This could be the smallest engine yet to grace a modern, VW-era Bentley, though it isn’t the only first for Crewe – what you see here undergoing road trials is the plug-in hybrid version of the Bentley Bentayga, as evidenced by a second ‘fuel flap’ on the opposite side of the actual fossil fuel one. Aside from the new charging port, the vehicle here is identical to the W12 Bentayga, right down to its broad oval tailpipes.

According to our spy photographers, the test mules were identified via the UK’s Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) as being endowed with a 2,995 cc engine, which could mean use of the new 449 hp/700 Nm 3.0 litre TFSI V6 and an electric motor integrated in the transmission combo introduced on the all-new 2018 Audi A8. On the flagship Audi, a 14.1 kWh lithium-ion battery provides an all-electric range of 50 km.

When this electrified Bentley arrives, the marque can be expected to draw links to the original Bentley Three Litre of 1920, a two-seater model which took the marque to a win at Le Mans in 1924. Currently, the smallest-engined Bentayga is the 4.0 litre triple-charged V8 diesel variant, with 435 PS and 900 Nm of torque.