“Well, it certainly looks like a Bentley,” is the expected remark on first sight of the British manufacturer’s first SUV. With the signature sharp lines and seamless surfaces on advanced aluminum, the large matrix grille, and the four round LED headlights, the Bentayga really does. Stepping closer, however, the speaker may be struck by something else.
The Bentayga lives up to its name inspired by a Spanish mountain peak with all of its unapologetic 5.1 meters in length and its 1.8 meters in height. But don’t let the Bentayga’s appearance fool you. For all intents and purposes, it is only shaped like an SUV. What it really is is a supercar, and the only proof you need is a look at what reigns beneath the hood: an all-new twin-turbocharged 6.0 liter W12 engine. With 600bhp and 900Nm of torque on tap, the W12 can deliver 0-100kph in 4.1 seconds and even rise to a mindboggling top speed of 301kph with its mighty 12 cylinders.
The numbers are what you would expect from a sleek sports car — keep in mind that this engine is hauling 2.4 tonnes of Bentley — and essentialy make the Bentayga the fastest SUV on Earth, all while being more agile than something of its size has any right to be. The all-new chassis system does an impressive job of handling all of the Bentayga’s weight as it turns some fast corners while the 48V active anti-roll control system virtually eliminates all body roll and any of the discomfort that comes with driving over whatever bumpy surface you might encounter on and off the road.
Combined with the optional All-Terrain Specification, driving over snow, ice, wet grass, dirt and gravel, mud and trail, and even sand is possible with the same ease you would a paved road. Those who may still feel uneasy in these kinds of conditions will be pleased to learn about the Bentayga’s Driver Assistance systems, which includes a head-up display where important information is projected onto the windscreen — along with night vision, blind spot assist, and traffic sign recognition.
If you were so inclined, you could take it up and down a mountain, across some sand dunes, over a river, and then some with little trouble. If you were so inclined. While the question of how many owners would subject their Bentaygas to this kind of treatment remains unanswered, you can rest assured in the fact that the SUV does in fact have the ability to survive in the wild there in reserve.
The serene ride in the near-silence of the Bentayga’s interior makes it disarmingly easy to casually slip past the speed limit — predictably, in the opulence and style that Bentley has made itself known for. The spacious interior can house four, five, or seven quilted leather seats, available in no less than 15 different colors. The handcrafted wood panels on the dashboard and door set off the gleaming metalwork everywhere else as the whole cabin is flooded with light from the panoramic sunroof.
And if you think the Bentayga can’t get any more luxurious than that, then you would be gravely mistaken as soon as you took a look at the optional upgrades Bentley hides in the catalogue. These include but are not limited to a six-program massager for the front seat, a sound system by Naim that sounds like you’re sitting next to an orchestra, entertainment for backseat passengers, a customized picnic set, and a Breitling Tourbillon clock — because of course you’d rather live in your Bentayga than in your home.
Talk about big bang for big bucks. Supercar, indeed.