"Bentley Bentayga is an SUV with a bit of an identity crisis but in a good way." If one has to describe the Bentley Bentayga, this is what surely will come to his/her mind. Make no mistake; this is a proper SUV, but also the ultimate word in off-the-road luxury, and at the same time one of the fastest sprinting SUVs in the world. Now, if this list is not inducing identity crisis, then it is the right time to define it.
So, what made Bentley a household name in luxury car markets? Sit up and notice the SUV landscape. Moreover, what prompted Bentley to enter the uncharted waters with a new product that disrupts its traditional sedan image? Well, for starters, the SUV market is heating up all around the world and people are buying more expensive SUVs now than before. Those who have one or two Bentleys in their garage do have more than a few cars in their fleet and invariably, some of them are SUVs. Now, if Bentley can sway them with an offering that is capable off the road, and personifies luxury inside, it is no brainer that many of these owners will switch their loyalties and will plonk their money to get the ultimate Bentley experience off the road. This will be a shot in the arms for Bentley and the company is hoping to have an almost 50% increase in total sales numbers with the introduction of Bentayga.
When Bentley decided to go ahead with the production of the EXP-9 F, showcased in 2012 Geneva Auto Show, it pulled all stops and explored many avenues hitherto uncharted – the result is nothing short of a stunning and the most advanced car ever produced by the house, which joins the powerful Continental range by Bentley.
While many may argue that the looks are polarizing, one thing is clear – this SUV is unmistakably a true Bentley in looks. The characteristic big diamond grill, the high waistline, the headlights – all of these proclaim the lineage from afar. There will be no mistaking this car as something else, and that is something the uber rich will really appreciate.
The exterior is made of aluminum and high-strength steel and have used superforming techniques to create some of the characteristic powerlines. Bentayga also enjoys fully adaptive LED lamps with integrated washers and optional 22-inch fully forged and machined aluminum wheels – the largest you can see on a production model from Bentley.
Step inside and the interior is nothing short of the lap of luxury. As expected from Bentley, the interior is FULLY HAND CRAFTED, and Bentley has not spared any efforts to lavish the cockpit with the finest of materials. There are acers of ultra-high quality wood, leather and turned aluminum. The seats are quilted and have the traditional British compact squares and boasts fine tailoring.
The interior layout resembles the Bentley double wings. The electronic gear selector replaces the good old gear lever, which frees up a lot of interior space used for additional switches and continence features. The steering wheels gets paddle shifters that rotate with the steering and the cockpit display is part analogue and part digital – there is a neat digital display flanked by the two analogue dials. The infotainment system is partly touchscreen and partly controlled by dial, and is very innovative and easy to use.
As expected from Bentley, the car comes with an endless list of personalization options. There are 17 standard paint shades and 90 extended shades to choose from, and if nothing in this 100 plus list suits your taste, you can make use of the bespoke color matching service to get your desired shade. The interiors are not left out either – you can choose from seven veneers and fifteen interior leather color choices, but again, the choices are not limited and if you need a particular color, all you need to do is just ask.
The Bentayga comes loaded with the famed Mulliner driving specification from the factory, which has the signature sport pedals, quilting on door pads and seats, a jewel filler cap with an event seat tucked in the boot. This can be used either as a platform to sit or to have a grandstand view of what is happening around you or as a luggage divider.
Under the hood, lies the behemoth of a 6L 12-cylinder engine that churns out a shattering power of 600BHP and 900 Nm of torque, which helps in propelling the 2.6-ton SUV from 0-60mph in just 4 seconds and to a top speed of 187mph. This is the top-of-the-line petrol engine, and is the only option available now. Two new powertrains -a diesel and a hybrid will follow the lines in the near future.
The SUV comes with as much as 8-drive modes (divided equally for on the road and off the road) and has a special mix and match mode, if you ever feel the need for it. Bentayga also comes with the 'Bentley Dynamic Ride', that are active anti-roll bars, run by electronics instead of hydraulics, which significantly reduces the reaction times.
Bentayga floats on air suspensions all around that isolates you from the undulations and provide that magic carpet ride quality, on or off the road.
The SUV boats a host of features – Adaptive Cruise Control, Stop & Go, Dynamic distance Monitor, etc. and has a host of Assist features such as Lane Assist, corner Speed Assist, Traffic Assist, etc. Bentley has equipped Bentayga with what it calls Intersection Assist that is a system designed to intervene if there is a chance for a frontal collision, and is designed to bring the SUV to an emergency STOP, if requires.
Other than these, the SUV also comes with night vision, heads up display and an impressive rear entertainment system that boasts a pair of 10.2-inch removable tablets. All these gadgetry and wizardry translates into an SUV that is impressive to drive on and off the road, and the systems work so flawlessly that the SUV totally isolates the occupants from the tumbles and tribulations the road throws up.
The Bentayga sits at the apex of the SUV pyramid now and offers the uber rich a plausible and more exclusive choice than the heavenly kitted Range Rovers and let us face it – there is no other car that blends the on and off the road performance with luxury and speed like Bentayga does. So, is it the ultimate luxury the money can buy? The apt answer is YES! At least by the time Rolls Royce brings its SUV to the party. And oh, don't forget the Lamborghini Urus – the supercar SUV.
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