► First official pictures of Bentley SUV
► A seven-seater is coming too
► World’s fastest SUV: 187mph!
You’re looking at the first official pictures of the 2016 Bentley Bentayga, Crewe’s first off-roader - and its first seven-seater, CAR magazine can reveal. With an extravagantly lavish interior, monstrous W12 engine and frankly astonishing performance figures – top speed is a scarcely credible 187mph – this is a car that’s all about excess.
The Bentley Bentayga makes its public debut at the 2015 Frankfurt motor show – click here for a full rundown of the cars to watch out for at this year’s IAA extravaganza.
Although launched as a four- or five-seater at first, in line with its Audi Q7 sibling it will soon be available with three rows of seats.
Bentley Bentayga: design
The original EXP 9 F concept of 2012 could politely have been termed ‘divisive’, but a great deal of its design has survived the transition to production, albeit with rather calmer details and graphics. The trademark Bentley ‘hips’ are still in place, as is the big upright Bentley grille, while the original bug-eyed headlight treatment has split into two smaller, unequally sized LED roundels like those of the Bentley Continental.
Wheels are a concept car-worthy 20 inches in diameter as standard, but it’s possible to upgrade to 21s or 22s. Plenty of customers will. A panoramic glass roof is standard; so is hands-free operation for the tailgate. That’s a first for Bentley, quite simply because there has never been a Bentley production car with a tailgate before.
Bentley describes the Bentayga as ‘the fastest, most powerful, most luxurious and most exclusive SUV in the world.’ And it certainly delivers on the speed front.
So how fast is the Bentley Bentayga?
Try 0-62mph in 4.1sec and 187mph flat out. This is an off-roader with the stats to humble supercar greats. Quite astonishing for a seven-seater, really!
Providing the Bentayga’s considerable muscle is an appropriately vast and extravagant engine: a new 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged W12, hand-assembled at Crewe and developing a nice round 600bhp, and 664lb ft of torque. Half the cylinders can automatically shut down under partial load and the eight-speed automatic transmission’s torque converter is programmed to open while the car’s at a cruise in high gears, helping to save fuel and trim emissions. Still, at 292g/km of CO2 the Bentayga’s unlikely to make it onto Greenpeace’s company car fleet any time soon.
Will it be any good at going around corners?
The body and chassis are composed of aluminium, helping peg the kerb weight at 2422kg – on par with an aluminium Range Rover. The suspension features electrically adjustable active anti-roll bars and the standard air springs enable four ride heights. That includes a ‘kneel’ setting to make it easier to hop in and out, or attach a trailer – or, more likely, a horsebox. With a towing capacity of 3.5 tonnes, that’s something the Bentayga should be pretty adept at.
Will the Bentley Bentayga actually be able to go off-road?
Short answer, yes. It has a wading depth of 500mm, and the Drive Dynamics menu includes powertrain and chassis settings for sand, mud, gravel and snow (sound familiar, Land Rover?), although there’s no low-range system, nor diff locks, for the Bentayga’s mechanical, full-time four-wheel drive system.
It won’t be a match for a Range Rover’s go-anywhere abilities – but nor was it intended to be. Bentley understands that the majority of Bentayga customers won’t plan to stray far from the tarmac, although if they do it’ll cope better than many might give it credit for.
That’s quite some interior…
Indeed. Furnished with a 15 separate sections of trim, finished with a choice of seven different types of wooden veneer, this is one seriously opulent cabin. The seats are adjustable in 22 different ways (twenty-two!) and there’s a six-programme massage function built into the front seats. Customers can pick from 15 different colours of leather (many cows are sacrificed in the making of each Bentayga, it seems), and either four or five seats depending on how many passengers they’re likely to carry, and how much elbow room they’ll demand.
Anything else I should know?
Contrary to early rumours that the car would be built overseas, the Bentayga will be manufactured at Bentley’s established Crewe factory, which has been reconfigured at great expense. It will almost double production, creating 400 new jobs in the process. Its biggest market will be the USA, the company predicts.
Oh, and if you’re wondering about the name, it’s taken from a mountain summit in the Canary Islands called Roque Bentayga. Read more about the Bentley Bentayga, and the thinking behind it, here.