car stories

Car Review : Bentley Bentayga.

Bentley’s first ever take on an SUV and it was a blast.The name was gotten from the rugged Bentayga volcanic peak in the subtropical Grand Canaria island in Spain. Some inspiration was also drawn from the “Taiga”, the world’s largest transcontinental snow forest.

Bentayga also means “carried interest” in Swahili, designed by Luc Doncker Wolle, and engineered at the Bentley factory in Crewe, England.

The Bentayga is an evolution of the controversial 2012 Bentley EXP 9F concept car with some of it’s styling cues coming from the old Bentley Continental GT.

The Bentayga follows the design of it’s family members as it stays true to the distinctive matrix grille, the four round headlamps and the chrome flying ‘B’ air vents in the front wings just behind the wheels.

At 68.6 inches tall, 78.7 inches wide and 202.4 inches long, it’s 17 inches shorter than its older brother the Mulsanne. There are cues on almost every part of its body to tell you and passers-by that you are driving a Bentley, like the daytime running “halo” light around the front headlamps, the metal guard under the front number and the LED ‘B’ in the rear lights These are details which are only unique to the Bentayga.

Inside the Bentayga is another luxurious world entirely, one of the most luxuriously appointed on any current SUV *I mean. What were you expecting from a vehicle that Shares the same surname with the Mulsanne and the Flying spur (one of the coolest names ever given to a car, don’t you think?).

The interior is awash with hand made leather seats, head liners, wood veneer and knurled metal inserts. With one of the most high tech cabins ever seen in a Bentley, it features an eight inch touch screen in the centre console (largest ever fitted in a Bentley road car). It has a pair of 10.2 inch detachable touchscreens that double up as tablet devices and full ventilation and adjustment options in the four Seater model. For an extra fee, the Mulliner, one of Bentley’s many customization companies can create bespoke and limited edition options and accessories for your Bentley.

In terms of electrical systems, the Bentayga offers four long range radar systems, 12 short range ultrasonic parking sensors, six camera systems, dozens of lightning elements, a 48 volt anti-roll suspension system, a champagne fridge, seats that warm, cool and massage it’s occupants and a 1950 watt 18 speaker stereo by Naim *talk about disturbing the peace.

Fact.

There are over 100million lines of coding in a Bentayga and over 90 control modules communicating across the SUV. According to the Bentayga’s product line director Peter Guest, each SUV gets a 50kg electrical harness specifically built for it depending on its options load. They sure know how to make one feel special. Now, let’s talk about the elephant in the room.

Performance.

It houses a 6.0Litre DOHC twin turbo intercooled 48 valve W-12 (two 3Litre V6 engines fused together) which generates 600 horsepower at 6000rpm and 664Lbft of torque at just 1350rpm. With that much torque, the Bentayga can tow up to 3.5 tonnes (that’s two Toyota Corollas complete with the passengers). All that power goes through an 8-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting mode which splits the torque, with 60% going to the rear and 40% to the front. This is the same engine used in the first generation continental GT and the 2005 Volkswagen phaeton (VW’s reply to the 7series and the S class. Though this one is beefed up with those turbos.

The Bentayga will do 0 to 100kph in 4.0 seconds and will go on to a world record top speed of 301kph, making it the fastest SUV in the world ahead of its step brother, the Porsche cayenne GTS. For an SUV that weighs more than a house (2.5 tonnes), it sure can carry itself. It will do a standing quarter mile in 12.4secs that’s faster than an Aston martin DB9 (13.7secs).

With a front engine 4 wheel drive layout, the Bentayga manages to have an almost 50/50 weight distribution. It has something called a “cylinder deactivation system” which has never appeared on a W-12 till now. What it does is to shut down six of the 12 cylinders when cruising.

Economical.

Not really. A full day’s drive on the express and backroads will get you around 14-22 mpg, for an engine with 12 cylinders *that’s pretty good. It has a new active roll bar that counter acts natural body roll and a pair of electric actuators, one at each end of the vehicle to stiffen and soften the front and rear bars.

Translation.

It handles like a sports hatchback. The anti roll bar is controlled by a 48volt electrical system for micro second quick responses to the changing terrain, especially when going off road.

So, how is it off road?

Surely, one shouldn’t question the Bentayga about offroading. After seeing what it’s older Grand Tourer brother “the Continental GT V8” did on a 15 mile rally stage in wales in the hands of world champion rally driver “Kris Meeke”, Beating a world rally championship car in the process by almost 2 seconds. The Bentayga shares 20% of it’s parts with the Lamborghini Urus (concept), Porsche Cayenne, Volkswagen Touareg and Audi Q7. These are SUVs that won’t get stuck in the mud easily…… The oiling system is designed to keep the engine lubricated at up to 35 degrees of tilt in any direction.

Bentayga kicking it with a Ford Raptor Bentley built around 5000 Bentayga’s in 2016. They also plan on unveiling a coupe and a hybrid in 2018, with most luxury brands jumping at the coupe SUV.

Pros.

For a luxury SUV, it’s very rugged. – Not the best looking of SUVs, but it’s a handsome brute (different opinions on this). At 2.5 tonnes, it still manages to be faster than most GT cars. – With the new active suspension, high speed driving won’t be a nightmare.

Cons.

With prices starting from $231,000 it’s really expensive and people actually think its ugly.

Verdict.

They’ve pulled it off in almost every department and the only rival I can think of for it right now is the G65 AMG which is $217,000 and almost as fast with its 5.4L V12 pumping out around 620hp. New rivals will be coming very soon in form of the Rolls Royce Cullinan and the Lamborghini Urus.

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