Claimed to be “the fastest, most powerful, most luxurious and most exclusive SUV in the world.”
Enthusiasts of the British brand can also breathe a slight sigh of relief – we reckon the Bentayga looks nowhere near as vulgar as the 2012 EXP 9 F Concept that previewed Bentley’s first production SUV.
Since that concept, the Bentayga has found some subtlety to its front- and rear-end lines while picking up some extra muscle in its haunches and a distinctive ‘horizontal T’ side character crease.
Then come the hard-hitting numbers – a brand new 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged W12 engine utilising direct and port injection produces 447kW at 6000rpm and 900Nm between 1250rpm and 4500rpm. This translates to a 4.1sec 0-100km/h (matching a 419kW/800Nm Porsche Cayenne Turbo S) and that SUV-record 301km/h top speed.
For all the weighty excess, stop-start and cylinder deactivation tech and an auto that drops out of gear when coasting helps achieve 12.6L/100km consumption, a W12 best for the brand.
Meanwhile Bentley has aimed to make this elephant both dance and play in the mud.
A world-first 48-volt electrical system feeds a Bentley Dynamic Ride system with active anti-roll bars to counteract rolling forces. Multi-mode air suspension allows four heights – High 2, High 1, Normal and Pimp … err, we mean Low – while eight dynamics modes are available at the turn of a knurled-silver knob. That even includes a Responsive Off-Road Setting with hill-descent control (between 3km/h and 30km/h).
The Betayga has both tackled the dunes of Dubai and completed 400 laps of the Nurburgring, according to the brand.
Wherever, occupants can indulge in what Bentley reckons is “the world’s finest automotive cabin”.
Standard are 22-way front and 18-way electrically adjustable twin rear seats with massage and ventilation functions. There is a fifth seat optionally available, as is a sixth seat that drops from the tail-gate to be used as a rear viewing pew or “folding event seat” when halted.
The usual real wood and metal trim and “finest bull hides” are available and a full-length panoramic sunroof is standard. Infotainment extends to an 8.0-inch touchscreen with 60Gb hard drive up front and removeable 10.2-inch Android device at the rear with internet connectivity.
Unlike most modern Bentleys, the Bentayga has plenty of technology including surround view camera, traffic sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, head-up display, full LED headlights, auto park assist and a night vision infra-red camera that can heat-detect obstacles ahead before you see them.
Presumably that will help a Bentley Bentayga owner when hunting in a British field, either for prey of the animal or SUV rival kind. For now it seems without peer, but whether it can pull off the Cayenne-sporty SUV and Range Rover-challenging offroader double act remains to be seen.
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