Ladies and Gentlemen, this is it. This is the world’s fastest, most powerful, and expensive SUV, the 2016 Bentley Bentayga.
Bentley’s first SUV appeared as the EXP 9 F concept at the 2012 Geneva Auto Show, where it received a lot of negative reviews and impressions from everyone who attended the show (including us). Disappointed by the audience’s initial reactions, Bentley designers went back to the drawing boards and came up with what you see here. I have to admit, when compared to the EXP 9 F concept, the production Bentayga looks much better and more sporty, but I am still not satisfied with its overall design language and especially its front end.
I like how Bentley’s first SUV takes design elements from its Continental family range. However, I am still unsure what prompted Bentley designers to put these massive headlight washers surrounded by LED daytime running lights. Besides the headlight washers’ controversial placements, the rest of the body design is smooth and elegant, like all other Bentley models, but I honestly was expecting more.
The 2017 Bentley Bentayga is the first-ever SUV in the famed British Marque’s history. Its chassis is shared with the new Audi Q7 SUV, but the Bentayga receives special suspension tuning and larger brakes (which it will share with the next-generation Porsche Cayenne).
The Bentley Bentayga will share some of its mechanical components with other SUVs in the VW Group, but the sheet metal and the interior will be unique to the Bentayga.
Like all large SUVs in the Volkswagen Group, the Bentayga comes fitted with enough hardware and software to make it capable both on and off-road. The Bentayga offers four on-road dynamic modes: Comfort, Bentley, Sport, and Custom. The Bentley mode represents the ideal setup for the SUV from the factory. Also, the Bentley offers four off-road modes: Snow/Wet Grass, Gravel, Mud/Ruts, and Sand/Desert. Depending on which mode the driver selects, the system varies the ride height parameters, throttle response, traction, steering, and transmission shift points to optimize performance in marginal conditions.
Through the Bentayga’s Responsive Off-Road mode, the driver can select the closest terrain mode to which they are currently traveling to maximize the vehicle’s off-road performance. The system is also accompanied by a handy display screen, which shows the vehicle’s pitch, roll, wheel articulation, steering angle, altitude, and direction.
Depending on the surface conditions, Bentley’s Dynamic Ride System uses a 48-volt system to adjust the air suspension to various heights. The SUV can be lowered while standing at the tailgate, and the Hill Descent Control makes traversing steep grades a breeze.
Inside, the Bentley Bentayga features 22-way power front seats with massage functionality and 18-way power rear seats when you choose the 2+2 seating configuration. A traditional rear bench seating is standard. As in other Bentley models, both rows of seats are heated, cooled, and have active ventilation. A folding “event seat” is also available and can be conveniently stored behind the second row of seats.
The cabin of the Bentayga is also fitted with 15 veneered pieces of wood trim, and the customers can choose among 7 different wood trims to accent one of 15 natural shades of leather.
Bentley’s Mulliner division will offer a host of additional customization options at the owner’s request. At launch, Mulliner will offer a “hamper set” with custom Linley China, Utensils, Crystal, a fridge, and a storage space for dry goods. These can be removed in sections to make room for the seats.
However, the best interior option in the Bentley Bentayga is the Mulliner Tourbillion by Breitling clock. The watch features a mechanical movement, and the Mulliner Tourbillion is wound by the car; how cool is that?
At launch, the Bentley Bentayga will be exclusively powered by a new 6.0 L W12 engine with direct and port fuel injections, which results in 600 horsepower and 663 lb.ft. torque. The power is routed to all four wheels via a new 8-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The re-programmed AWD system sends 60% of the torque to the rear wheels and 40% to the front wheels under normal conditions. When the Bentayga is pushed, the system sends all 85% of the torque to the rear wheels, and during bad weather, the torque vectoring system distributes the torque front to back and side to side, depending on which wheel has the most amount of traction.
The redesigned W12 engine features a cylinder deactivation system that shuts down one bank of the cylinders during light loads and conserves fuel. The twin-scroll turbochargers are now integrated into the exhaust manifolds; a new oil system is developed to pick up a good oil supply throughout the engine with suction pumps to remove oil from the turbochargers, even when the Bentayga is tilted at extreme angles.
The Bentley Bentayga will hit 60 mph from a standstill in 4.0 seconds flat and maxes out at 187 mph.
A V8-powered Bentayga will join the lineup by 2018, and a diesel and hybrid models are also being considered.
The Bentley Bentayga will go on sale in early 2016, and the base price is expected to start around $200,000 or more. The Bentayga just made its official global debut at the 2015 Frankfurt International Auto Show.