► Bentayga 2.0
► New look outside, new tech inside
► Hybrid and W12 on the way
First launched in 2015, the Bentayga SUV has always been impressive but had its fair share of flaws. Awkward styling and slightly disappointing tech held back Crewe’s land yacht a little – especially with the release of the ‘tired-before-its-time’ hybrid.
Enter the heavily facelifted Bentayga for 2020. Featuring tweaked styling, access to the same chassis-magic as the new Continental GT, and tech from ‘Der neue’ shelf of the VW Group’s components lock-up, the take two Bentayga features over 1000 new parts. But do they make a difference? Keep reading for our review.
Much like the original Porsche Cayenne, the Bentayga’s styling has suffered from adolescent growing-pains, as Crewe tried to stretch elegant features on a monolithic chassis. And in the same way the Stuttgart’s SUV has gradually grown into its face, the Bentayga has too.
Revisions of the front apron and headlamp are subtle and follow the same nip and tuck theme we’ve already seen on the Continental. It’s very much a case of less is more, which isn’t usually how contemporary SUV designs work.
The back of the Bentayga gets the same pill-shaped lights as the Continental GT, with more divisive results. It’s a clear attempt to create a more cohesive look to Crewe’s range, but it makes the back of the car very subjective.
Still, in First Edition spec which adds bits of carbonfibre everywhere (save the grams and the tonnes will look after themselves) embroidery and better carpets, the 2.0 Bentayga is meaner and somehow even more of a statement than the previous car.
The Bentayga interior has always been feast of chrome, contrast stitching and leather – but now it’s backed up with some contemporary tech. The Bentayga now uses an infotainment system similar to what you’d find in the Audi A8, and it makes a huge difference to the general operation of the car. Things are quicker, slicker and generally more intuitive, and it makes the chrome, carbonfibre and leather shine that bit brighter.
The car is decked out with futureproof USB-C connections, and there’s also a wireless charger.
There are a few issues, though; the Bentayga still riffs off some of the dated switchgear from the previous gen, and some menu items are rather weird; changing the fan speed requires a button press followed by a swipe.
Simply put, the Bentayga translates the Bentley experience to a SUV body. In Comfort mode, the air-suspension dissolves the majority of bumps, but Sport and Bentley mode (a mish-mash of the two) add surprisingly positive handling.
The Bentayga’s high centre-of gravity means it’ll never handle like a GT, but anti-roll tech nicked from Crewe’s newest Coupe makes it far easier to chuck around. Called Dynamic Ride, Bentley’s 48v tech keeps the car squat and flat during cornering, minimizing body roll and maximising confidence. In the low-slung Continental, the system is a must-tick on the options list, and here it’s something useful rather than transformative.
What about the W12?
The Bentayga launches as a V8 first, with the W12 and hybrid powertrains to follow – the diesel is totally cancelled this time around, because 2020. In practice, the V8 is fast enough; it burbles in Sport, remains refined and quiet on start-up, and virtually disappears in Comfort – like all other road noise.
The experience translated to paper: its 542bhp mean 0-62mph arrives in an alarming 4.5 seconds, and the Bentayga will eventually tap out at 180mph. Not bad for a moving living room.
A forthcoming W12 will pile on the luxury and refinement, and we’re hoping both Wolfsburg and Crewe remember both of those qualities when reintroducing the hybrid Bentayga. The current-gen hybrid lacked the refinement we’d expect – read our review here.
Five years after Bentley’s first foray into the lucrative SUV sector, the Bentayga has undergone a thorough subbing. The bits that didn’t work are gone, the bits that worked less well are improved, and there’s some new additions that prevent the new SUV from being the necessary evil/black sheep of the Crewe family.