Bentley Bentayga review
The Bentley Bentayga is an uber-luxurious and exclusive SUV that redefines luxury in this area of the market, but you might spot some Audi switches around the interior.
What's not so good
Bentley Bentayga: what would you like to read next?
The Bentley Bentayga is one of the most luxurious SUVs you can buy, taking Bentley’s famous interior quality and applying it to a high-riding 4×4 for the first time. It makes standard Range Rovers look a bit middle of the road, so its main rival is really the Rolls Royce Cullinan.
That’s a bit like saying the Queen is middle-class, but the Bentayga truly is a step up in terms of quality.
As a result, the Bentley is one of the most expensive SUVs on sale, putting it in a very rarefied class. But, if you buy one, your investment will be rewarded with a car that’s faster than pretty much all of its competitors and one that provides a new world of luxury.
This second point is immediately apparent when you climb aboard and are greeted by a cabin that’s armed to the teeth with high-grade leather, expensive wood and high-quality metal trims. The interior doesn’t just look luxurious, it smells it too.
Then again, although the car costs a lot of money, at least there’s enough equipment to make you feel you’ve got what you paid for. For a start, buyers have a seemingly endless choice of colours, leathers and wood veneers, so you can have a car that is almost unique without having to venture onto the options list.
So far, so Bentley, but the company has also got its hands on some of the latest technology. For instance, it has borrowed Audi’s digital driver’s dials that looks great and are easy to configure. However, the main feature is the 10.9-inch touchscreen – the best of its type in any Bentley. Yes, some of the other switchgear is shared with cheaper Audis, but not many people will notice that.
Instead, any driver is more likely to be busy with the 22 separate motors that adjust their seat. As a result, it’s easy to get a comfortable driving position and the car’s height means you have a better view of the road than in any other Bentley.
In the back, buyers get the choice of two individual seats (exactly the same as those in the front) or a three-seat bench. Whichever you choose, the Bentley doesn’t have as much space as a Range Rover, but it more than makes up for it in terms of sheer luxury.
So-called experts were falling over themselves to tell Bentley they shouldn’t be building an SUV, but I’m glad Bentley ignored them. The Bentayga is an amazing vehicle
Likewise, the Bentayga’s 484-litre boot isn’t as big as the Range Rover’s, but the car’s practical hatchback boot lid and flat floor make it easy to load bulky, heavy items. Dog owners can rejoice, too, as this is the first Bentley to be compatible with their four-legged friends.
The other good news is that the Bentayga is far better to drive than many people expected. And, much of the reason for that is the car’s sophisticated suspension system, with active anti-roll bars that are designed to give Bentayga owners the best of both worlds.
They allow the standard air suspension (with three preset modes) to be smooth as silk on bumpy roads before stiffening up to stop this huge SUV rolling around like a blancmange in corners.
Arguably, what’s most impressive is that the Bentley does all this and be great off-road too, albeit not quite as good as the Ranger Rover.
However, Bentley says there’s no need for a low-range gearbox, because the car’s flagship engine produces so much torque. That engine is the huge, twin-turbo 6.0-litre W12 that can get this car from 0-62mph in just four seconds and on to a frankly ridiculous top speed of 187mph.
In everyday use, that translates into effortless performance, so the car feels quick, even with the throttle only pushed halfway. If that’s all a bit too much, you could always go for one of the (petrol or diesel) V8 models, which are pretty much every bit as quick and quiet in everyday use. They’ll also cost a little bit less to buy and run than the frankly scary W12.
Although, money probably isn’t too much of an issue if a Bentley is on your list of options. Even if it is (like most of us) watch our in-depth video review above to see the Bentayga up close inside and out.