As SUVs go, the Bentley Bentayga is one of the biggest, fastest and most expensive.
It’s arguably the most important car that Bentley currently build because it counts for almost half of all Bentley sales…and a large chunk of those sales are to buyers who’re new to the Bentley brand.
And, because it’s an SUV…which will probably be bought by owners of previous SUVs…it probably means that a decent proportion of those new buyers also come from a totally different demographic than would normally purchase a Bentley.
As a company, Bentley is flying. Sales in 2021 set a new record, showing an increase of 30 per cent when compared to 2020 which was also a record year.
When you first see a Bentley Bentayga, it looks intimidating. It’s huge. First impressions would therefore suggest that it’s going to be tricky to drive and feel cumbersome.
Nope. Wrong and wrong. Hop into the driving seat and there is a reverse Tardis effect. It actually feels smaller than you’d expect. This is largely due to the lack of swooping bonnet and tailgate. It makes the Bentayga remarkably simple to place on the road and easy to drive in traffic.
Under the bonnet you can choose from a 543bhp 4.0 litre V8 petrol engine or a 443bhp 3.0 litre six-cylinder petrol hybrid. If you are lucky enough to use a Bentayga as a company car, then the hybrid makes sense. It will travel for around 25 miles on battery power only which means, assuming you have access to a charger at home and perhaps at work, you can slash your fuel bills.
We’d still go for the V8 though. It sounds fantastic and the 0-60 performance of 4.5 seconds is stunning bearing in mind this car tips the scales at close to 2.5 tonnes. Oh and if you were looking for the diesel Bentayga… forget it. The recent model update saw it dumped. There is also a 12-cylinder 6.0 litre version but we don’t get it in the UK. Boo.
This is peerless motoring at its best. The Bentayga is also a serious 4×4 and will happily scramble across boggy fields and rutted lanes (mind the brambles…a paint touch up will cost a fortune).
We shan’t list the standard equipment…. let’s just say there’s everything you’re likely to ever need. The standard air suspension guarantees a smooth and unflustered ride. Handling is rock steady with everything sharpened by a clever anti-roll system. The interior is a work of art. The model we tried was the special 4-seat luxury version which means those in the rear have similar seats to those in the front. However, you can go up to seven seats as an option. The school run will move onto another level! Seven seats aren’t available in the hybrid model due to space needed for the battery.
If you intend driving to the Côte d’Azur, it’s hard to think of a better way in which to travel. A true continental express that is equally happy trundling along towing a horse box or reversing a boat into a lake, or taking friends for a night in town.
Prices start at £155,000.