Bentley describes the Bentayga as “the most powerful, most luxurious and most exclusive SUV in the world.” Those are certainly bold claims, considering current class leaders include the rapid Porsche Cayenne and luxurious Range Rover, but the early signs point towards plenty of truth in that statement
First in a wave of ‘ultra SUVs’ Bentley is the first to get to market with their ultra SUV, with several other car makers – such as Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini – looking to fill a very pricey gap in the market above the Range Rover. The Bentayga will be assembled at the company’s factory in Crewe.
The Bentayga’s headline figures are a 0-60mph time of just 4.0 seconds and a 187mph top speed. The Porsche Cayenne Turbo S – previously the fastest mainstream SUV on sale – offers up stats of 4.1 seconds and 176mph.
This remarkable turn of speed comes courtesy of a twin-turbocharged W12 engine. Producing 600hp and 664lb ft of torque, it is mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, making performance as effortless as it is startlingly rapid. Power is sent to all four wheels, with a 40:60 split front to rear. Some consideration has been given towards efficiency, too. When cruising, half of the engine can shut down to order to improve fuel economy, while in the highest four gears a coasting function idles the engine when you’re not accelerating.
For those who still find the 22.1mpg figure just a little too hard to stomach, the Bentayga will be offered in both hybrid and diesel variants in the future – both of which are firsts for the British marque. Exact details of the hybrid powertrain have yet to be confirmed, but Bentley says it will increase power by 20 per cent and reduce CO2 emissions by 70 per cent compared to a conventional engine of the same capacity.
Under the skin sits a heavily reworked version of the platform used by the latest Audi Q7. Thanks to the extensive use of aluminium, composite materials and high strength steels in the Bentayga’s construction, kerb weight is 2,422 kg – a figure that the Bentley claims would be 236kg greater had it been built from a more traditional steel body.
That’s still plenty of mass to throw around a corner, though, so measures have been taken to ensure that the Bentayga will tackle bends as well as the BMW X5M, which corners much like an ordinary hatchback, despite being a tall 4×4.