Throughout their long and illustrious history, Bentley have been known for their ability to make cars that create new, industry leading, car categories. With this in mind, Bentley turned their attention to the world of SUVs with the aim of creating “the fastest, most powerful, most luxurious SUV in the world”. Unveiled at the 2016 Geneva Motor show, Bentley say that their latest creation – Bentayga – is an SUV that will redefine how we experience luxury SUVs.
Starting with power, a completely redesigned twin-turbocharged W12 that creates 600bhp and 663lb ft of torque sits beneath that beautifully vast bonnet. You would be forgiven for thinking that the power should be somewhat diluted by the sheer size of Bentayga - after all it is over 5-metres long and weighs in at over 2400kg – you’ll be glad to know that no such dilution has occurred, meaning that Bentayga is capable of going from 0-60mph in just 4seconds and then on to a top speed of 187mph.
In order to ensure that a large engine like this is feasible and useable every day, Bentley have placed a large emphasis on ensuring efficiency. As such, the redesigned W12 is now 30kg lighter and features start-stop technology, cylinder deactivation when the car is below 3000rpm or a third of its torque and a clever new ‘sail’ mode that disconnects the torque converter should the driver take their foot off the accelerator in fifth to eighth gear. Feeding the 600bhp and 663lb ft of torque to all-four wheels is an eight-speed, paddle-shift, ZF automatic gearbox that Bentley drivers will be familiar with.
Ensuring an excellent ride both on and off-road, a computer-controlled air spring system with driver controllable ride height, damping, roll control, hill decent, traction control and stability control has been utilised. This system is controlled through a rotary control in the cabin and features eight different settings – ‘Sport, Comfort, Bentley and Custom’ for on-road and ‘Snow & Grass, Dirt & Gravel, Mud & Trail, Sand Dunes’ for off-road. Also at the driver’s disposal is an innovative new anti-roll system named ‘Bentley Dynamic Drive’, a system that rapidly controls body roll front to rear; subsequently providing stability in any situation, be it through the corners or on the motorway.
Heading off-road, the Bentayga’s many driving modes come into their own and offer off-road capability that has seldom been seen from a Bentley before - electronic systems and Bentley engineering working together seamlessly to create excellent traction regardless of road surface.
In order to ensure that the Bentayga posses’ unwavering ability both on and off-road, Bentley put the Bentayga through over a million miles in five different countries and in the hardest conditions possible. Thanks to this strenuous testing regime (the hardest ever employed by Bentley) there is no denying that, despite this being Bentley’s first SUV, the Bentayga is wholly capable when traditional roads cease to exist.
Since unveiling their initial EXP-9 SUV concept in 2012, Bentley have revisited the Bentayga’s aesthetics and created a highly sophisticated and elegant exterior that is unquestionably Bentley. At 5.14 metres in length, Bentayga is of sizable proportions but, thanks to being lower than many SUVs, still manages to present an almost small SUV or sports car like stance; a property that is further complimented by the sweeping lines that have been utilised.
Heading from front to rear, signature Bentley styling can be found throughout – the lower portion of the front end reminiscent of the new Continental and the shape of the rear lights remaining pleasantly familiar to previous models. It’s only when you look closer into these features that you start to appreciate the intricate details
that have been employed on the exterior; for example: the stunning fully adaptive LED lamps at the front of Bentayga and the taillights that elegantly glow red with the signature ‘B’ of Bentley.
Bentley’s elaborate eye for detail can also be felt once you step inside Bentayga as you immediately note that the fascia design echoes the wings of the Bentley badge.
Spending time in Bentayga, this feel for detail never ceases as you start to explore the flawlessly high-quality materials that have been called upon throughout the incredibly luxurious interior.
When purchasing Bentayga, owners can specify whether they wish to have two rear seats or a three seat layout – regardless of which is chosen, beautiful new diamond quilted seats have been created using incredibly luxurious materials. As is expected from Bentley, these stunning seats offer not only the best materials on offer but also extreme comfort regardless of which surface you happen to be driving on.
Further to this, a vast array of standard and optional equipment can be found in Bentayga’s cabin; starting in the centre console with the digital display that allows occupants to control the Bentayga’s infotainment system and Satellite Navigation by both touch and familiar analogue dials and moving to the rear of the vehicle in the form of innovative removable infotainment tablets for passengers.