At long last, Bentley have given us their heavily redesigned Bentayga – and it’s turned out really rather excellent. Motoring writer Sam Massey takes a closer look.
In the current climate, there’s no denying we really are spoilt for choice when it comes to luxury SUVs. If you want something more hardcore and performance focused, look no further than the Lamborghini Urus or Aston Martin DBX. Do you need comfort over all else? That’ll have to be the Rolls Royce Cullinan. In need of a proper off roader to tackle those farm tracks? Perhaps a Mercedes G-Wagon. However, there is one car that has always reigned supreme with its unrivalled all terrain capabilities, immaculate ability to swallow up motorway miles and undeniable sense of style. You know the car I’m on about; the Range Rover is popular and for good reason.
Of course, a few years ago Bentley took on their equally British rivals at Land Rover with a new offering, the Bentayga – and lost, badly. Despite this, the Bentayga is back and ready for round two, but this time, Bentley have been careful not to pull any punches.
One of the biggest downfalls with the old car was its uncanny ability to look hideous, regardless from which angle you gazed upon it. For the new car, Bentley have made a few subtle tweaks to its styling and, as you can see, it has made a huge difference.
The ‘Matrix Grille’ as Bentley call it has been lifted and set more upright, giving the whole front end of the car a much more aggressive, squared off look. The Matrix headlights have been updated too, they now pack a staggering 82 individual LEDs each and have been restyled ‘to resemble crystal cut glass’, now, if that’s not over-engineering, I don’t know what is. They’re clever too, sensors in the housing can detect oncoming vehicles and adjust the light around them – allowing you to leave them on full beam for more of the time. A few extra vents and splashes of chrome round off the changes up front, but it’s the back where the magic really happens.
The previous Bentayga always felt a little overweight at the back. Thankfully, Bentley’s cosmetic surgeons really went to town on this one and safe to say it really has been worth the effort. The first key change is those gorgeous taillights – that have both been redesigned and incorporated into the panel of the tailgate. The elliptical shape has drawn inspiration from the car’s sister models, the Continental GT and Flying Spur, bringing the whole feel of the car’s styling in line with the remainder of the Bentley family.
Split oval, chrome exhaust tips further echo this, while the rear number plate has been shifted down onto the bumper allowing ‘Bentley’ to be spelled out, in yet more chrome, across the tailgate. The redesign has made the whole affair look considerably more premium, in my opinion. They may seem insignificant individually but together they really work wonders for the new model.
It’s much the same story when we move inside the cabin. The Bentayga can still be had in 4, 5 and 7 seat configurations though rear passengers will benefit from 100mm more legroom. But it’s the way it goes about making you feel special that sees the biggest change. This is the first car in Bentley’s ‘Beyond100’ business strategy, moving their focus onto two key elements – luxury and sustainability.
Rear passengers will also benefit from a new 5-inch tablet, from which they can control things such as radio volume, air conditioning and ambient lighting. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard across the range, as is the new, bigger 10.9-inch infotainment screen. New digital dials have replaced the now outdated analogues of the old car, further helping to bring it up to date with its rivals.
Diamond stitched leather will caress your shoulders, whilst that covering your legs and lower back makes way for heated and air-conditioned seats. Expect the usual suspects when it comes to optional extras; panoramic sunroof, diamond brushed trims and the like. I must also mention the ridiculously over-engineered wiper blades – they are now heated and feature 22 windscreen washer jets each. Like I say, Bentley aren’t pulling any punches on this one.
Power comes from a 550hp V8, which, when a right foot is applied, will take you from 0-60mph in 4.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 180mph. A more green V6 Plug-In Hybrid and substantially less green W12 Speed Edition will follow at a later date, though at this moment it appears that unfortunately, the UK won’t be receiving the latter. This gradual death of high capacity engines is no doubt down to the new business approach Bentley are taking, though this is a small price to pay for what is sure to be an incredible car. Speaking of price, the new car is estimated to echo that of the last so you’re likely to be looking at around £150,000.
All in all, the new car appears to be a much stronger contender than its predecessor. With charming looks, effortless performance and bottomless luxury it seems that Bentley really have made the Bentayga the perfect luxury SUV for 2020.