Bentley Bentayga Review & Prices
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
Find out more about the Bentley Bentayga
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. Mind you, the Cullinan is a lot more expensive, so if the Rolls is actually one of the Crown Jewels, then you can think of the Bentayga as being more like Beyonce’s jewellery drawer – still hugely glamorous and expensive.
In fact, 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 to be 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.
Watch: Range Rover V8 v Bentley Bentayga off-road battle
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, and if you don’t mind spending a chunk extra, there’s the EWB – Extended Wheelbase – Bentayga which adds a bit of extra lounging room in the back. Plus there’s now a seven-seat option too (or you can be more selfish and have a club-class-style four-seat layout).
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 owners’ four-legged friends.
The other good news is that the Bentayga is far better to drive than may be expected. 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.
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
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 can be great off-road too, albeit not quite as good as the Ranger Rover.
The flagship engine we tested – 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 – is sadly no longer available to buy new in the UK, so we’ll have to ‘make do’ with the 4.0-litre V8 instead.
The petrol or diesel V8 models 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, and if you want to get a Bentayga that’s comparatively tree-hugging (well, compared to the W12, anyway) then there’s the plug-in hybrid option which has official CO2 emissions as low as 79g/km and an electric only range of up to 24 miles. A fig leaf? Perhaps, but a hugely luxurious and impressive fig leaf, even if you’ll hardly ever see the official 81mpg.
Mind you, fuel economy probably isn’t too much of an issue if a Bentley is on your list of options. Why not check out the latest deals on a new Bentley Bentayga, or take a look at our selection of used Bentleys available through carwow, including used Bentaygas. And when you’re ready to buy, let our dealers bid on your current car and sell through carwow.
The Bentley Bentayga has a RRP range of £155,675 to £258,590. The price of a used Bentley Bentayga on carwow starts at £72,000.
In one sense it doesn’t matter how much a Bentayga actually costs. After all, at this kind of price level, with this kind of brand, rational cost-based decision making has long gone out the window. However, if one must ask… The Bentayga range kicks off around the £160,000 mark and we say ‘around’ because there is almost an infinite number of options and personalisations that you can buy, not least through Bentley’s bespoke and customisation division, Mulliner.
That means you can double, treble, quadruple that price tag without even trying. The fact that a Rolls-Royce Cullinan costs almost £100,000 more in its basic form (basic form being a very, very relative term at this scale) is pretty much immaterial. Equally, the fact that you could have a V8-engined, long-wheelbase, seven-seat, maximum-spec Range Rover for the same price as a basic Bentayga probably doesn’t matter either — you buy a car like the Bentayga with your heart (and your annual bonus) not your head.
It may be worth pointing out that the Lamborghini Urus — which uses the same basic mechanical package, but which lacks the hybrid engine option — costs a little less, model-for-model, than the Bentayga, but it seems unlikely that there’s much cross-shopping between the two brands. A Mercedes might be more like it — the iconic G-Class (G-Wagen as was) can be had for less than a Bentayga (around £30,000 less in basic diesel form actually) but the AMG version, the one you want, costs more. A super-luxurious Mercedes-Maybach GLS, which comes only in V8 form and with seven seats as standard, is more expensive to the tune of £10,000 or so but has hardly any options as it’s so fully-loaded.
The Bentayga has superb refinement on its side, and it’s less of a big, bulky thing in town than you might expect. On twisty roads, it actually handles very well, but it’s not as much fun as the BMW X6M
The whole point of the Bentayga, in spite of the massive power of its engine (and the hybrid is no slouch when you’re pressing on, either) is that it just wants to chill and relax, and invites you to do the same.
Going slowly in the Bentayga has two benefits — one, you get to spend more time luxuriating in that lovely interior, and, two, you’re rich enough to own the company so no-one is going to complain if you’re late.
There’s a pleasing simplicity to how the Bentayga drives, especially around town. Sure, it’s a big car, but the high driving position means you can pretty easily thread it through gaps in the traffic. Rear visibility isn’t great, as the rear window isn’t all that big, but that’s cancelled out in part by a really good surround-view camera and parking sensors. The Bentayga will of course park itself for you, as long as you can find a space big enough. The long-wheelbase EWB version is, of course, a bit bulkier (and you need an even bigger parking space) but it comes with rear-wheel steering which can turn the back axle a little to make it more manoeuvrable in town.
Even without that, the standard Bentayga has super-light steering so it’s easy to swing this big beast around, and the standard-wheelbase version actually turns pretty tightly. It’s more luxury yacht than oil-tanker.
The eight-speed automatic gearbox is silky-smooth too, apparently lubricated by melted butter, and even around town you’ll hardly notice that it’s changed up or down. You’re just sort of magically in the right gear. Mind you, while the plug-in hybrid version can, of course, drive around for short hops in perfect electric-car silence, the 3.0-litre turbo V6 engine that goes with it doesn’t have the exceptional refinement of the V8 and W12 engines.
The air suspension has active anti-roll bars, so that they can clamp down to keep the Bentayga level and poised on twisty roads, but around town they can let go and let the suspension move freely for a more comfortable ride.
On the motorway
Here’s the Bentayga’s raison d’etre — you’ve got to be somewhere that’s a long way away, and you want to get there quickly, but in perfect comfort. This is the car for the job and it doesn’t really matter which engine option you choose. All have impressive throttle response so getting up to speed is a doddle, and once you’re at cruising pace, the Bentayga sits so solid on the road. It’s super-stable.
It’s also exceptionally refined; there is almost no wind noise. It’s also not quite as thirsty as you might be thinking, but we’ll deal with that in more detail in a minute. The adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping steering are also excellent, allowing you to sit back in smug comfort and let the car’s electronics take much of the long-haul strain while you enjoy the mobile-armchair aspect of it all.
On a twisty road
Bentleys aren’t supposed to eat up country roads like a hot-hatch. Especially not when they’re two-and-some-tonnes of SUV with a massive engine, plus possibly a hefty hybrid battery on board. But…
You’ll be expecting the Bentayga to handle like a leather-lined hippo, but no. It’s more like an ox. Let us explain. Imagine an ox in running shoes. It’s a big car, but it stays flat through the bends (those active anti-roll bars again) and there’s plenty of grip. Now, the steering is too light and too disconnected for you to really feel at one with the car in the manner of, say, a Porsche Cayenne (another car that’s distantly related to the Bentayga) or indeed a BMW X6 M Competition. That said, it’s a really impressive performer and you can cross country with a Bentayga in a more spirited manner than you might expect.
Practicality in the front of the Bentayga is only OK, and the boot is actually surprisingly small, considering the size of the car. The rear seats are also fiddly to fold and don’t lie flat
The Bentayga is a big car, so why then does it have such a tiny storage box under the front seat armrest? It really is almost pointlessly small, although it can be fitted with a fingerprint security lock so that it’s properly secure storage. That’s made up for slightly by an open storage area at the base of the dashboard, which is also home to the wireless phone charger and there are two big cupholders in the centre console (why no cover for those, Bentley?) along with a little shallow, padded storage tray which is perfect for a pair of sunglasses. Or just a really luxurious place to stash your Rolos. Annoyingly, the glovebox looks big but it’s actually quite shallow so not much really fits in there (other than literally some gloves). The door bins are good though, able to swallow a large bottle of water. Or possibly a magnum of something.
Space in the back seats
Compared to the original Bentayga, the standard model now has scooped-out the backs of the front seats, giving you even more kneeroom in the rear, not that it was especially short on space before. There’s room enough under the front seats for you to slot your feet too, so there’s genuinely limousine-like space in the back seats, and that’s without even considering the extra length and the fold-away footrest of the EWB long-wheelbase version.
The back seats recline and slide (although why you’d slide them forwards if actual people are in the back is slightly beyond us…). There’s enough width to carry three people if you need to, but the outer seats are shaped for comfort, not room and there is a substantial transmission hump. Making up for that a touch, the large footwells means that’s not as much of a problem as it might be.
There’s the option of a hugely luxurious four-seat layout which comes with reclining seats like a club class aircraft, or you can spec your Bentayga up with seven seats, although as ever the ones in the boot are going to be too small for anyone other than kids, or very small adults. If you are carrying kids in your Bentayga, there are ISOFIX points. Children will also love the huge rear windows, which give you a great view out, and while the glass doesn’t quite wind all the way down (there’s about an inch of glass left above the windowsill) there is double-glazing to help keep the noise out.
One annoying thing is that the rear seat armrest has two uncovered cupholders, which means that it’s hardly the most comfortable armrest as your elbow keeps dropping into the holes for the cups. What is it with Bentley and uncovered cupholders?
The Bentayga’s boot is arguably one of its least impressive aspects. There’s a powered tailgate, of course, activated by pushing the big ‘B’ in the centre of the rear badge, or by waggling your foot around in an undignified fashion to trigger the sensor (hilariously, that’s an optional extra). At 584 litres, the boot will hold quite a bit — as many as eight carry-on suitcases, for example, thanks to the flat floor and square shape — but that’s still much less room than you get in a Range Rover (725 litres), a Rolls Cullinan (600 litres), or a Mercedes GLS (up to 890 litres with five seats in place).
There’s a handy button in the boot that lowers the rear air suspension a little if you’re trying to load something heavy (or, more realistically, your butler is). It also makes it easier for your dogs (hounds?) to climb up. There’s no underfloor storage, but you do get some handy stowage nets at the sides, and a 12-volt socket.
It feels luxurious, too, with nice carpet and — on some models — leather trim that extends all the way back into the window surrounds. However, there’s no rear seat release in the boot, so you have to schlep all the way around to the side of the Bentayga to do that. Also, the rear seats don’t fold fully flat, leaving a slope, a gap between the boot floor and the backs of the seats, and a ridge over which bigger items have to be pushed. Equally, the big, expensively-trimmed luggage cover is heavy and there’s nowhere in the boot to store it when you don’t need it.
Luxury and exclusivity in abundance, as long as you don’t recognise some of the Audi-sourced switchgear
All those ‘private members club’ and ‘stately home on wheels’ cliches suddenly don’t seem like cliches at all when you step into the Bentayga. It feels properly exclusive and luxurious. The two-wing layout of the dashboard and the neat three-spoke steering wheel look and feel lovely, and make the cabin look genuinely distinctive. The seats and door panels come with decadent quilted leather, and there’s pretty much no-end to the different trims, stitching, and leather options that you can have if you can afford to pay Bentley’s bespoke service, Mulliner, the required fee. If sir or madam has to ask how much that kind of thing costs, then sir or madam cannot afford it…
That said, amid the quality and style, there’s something slightly efficiently Germanic about the Bentayga’s cabin design. Perhaps that’s not a surprise, as underneath everything is shared with the likes of the Porsche Cayenne, the Audi Q7, and even the lowly Volkswagen Touareg. The Bentayga’s cabin definitely looks and feels a bit Audi-ish in places, not helped by the Audi column stalks behind the steering wheel. There are some little hand-made touches — such as some stitching on the leather that’s not laser-straight, reminding you that it’s done by a human not a machine — but even so the equally exclusive Rolls-Royce Cullinan does this better.
To help make up for that, there’s shiny chrome everywhere, and you do still get the classical Bentley ‘organ stop’ air vent controls, and a fancy dashboard clock as well as thick carpets and alloy pedals stamped with the Bentley ‘B’.
The infotainment system is a considerable upgrade on the one that the Bentayga first had, and it’s now slick and easy to use — easier thanks to the fact that Bentley still uses proper physical controls (and big chunky ones at that) for the air conditioning system.
The digital dials we’re a little so-so about. They look nicely tech-y, and you can do useful stuff like alter the information you’re seeing, and bring up the full navigation map, but there’s something about the handsome old analogue dials that just seemed a little more Bentley-ish to us. The buttons on the steering wheel — actual, physical buttons again — make it all easy to use, though. There’s wireless charging for your phone, and two USB-C sockets under the armrest.
Rear-seat passengers get their own little screen in the back, which is actually on a tiny pop-out tablet, which controls the rear split-zone climate, and optionally you can add big screens to the backs of the seats with wireless headphones so that your passengers can enjoy a movie as you waft along. The air conditioning, front and rear, has an ionisation system which helps to cut down on nasty pollutants and allergens entering the cabin.
One thing, though — the front seats have masses of electric controls for adjusting pretty much everything, except the head-rests which are resolutely manual control. Why no electric headrests, Bentley?
Presumably, the average Bentley customer isn’t going to be too worried about how much their annual road tax costs. Although huge, the first year cost for both is going to be a tiny fraction of what it costs to heat a stately home.
The plug-in hybrid, with its 79g/km, will cost much less to tax and run.
Fuel economy is perhaps not as bad as you’re thinking. OK, if you’ve gone for the W12, then you’re looking at 17mpg in real-world conditions but then the W12 isn’t technically available in the UK or Europe anymore.
That’s no hardship, as the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 is damn near as quick overall, and it can manage a creditable 25mpg if you drive it gently (the official figure is 21.7mpg). The hybrid has an official consumption figure of 81mpg, which is going to take a lot of plugging-in and some very careful driving to match, but 40mpg is certainly possible if you’re gentle with it.
There’s no Euro NCAP crash test rating for the Bentayga, nor any other Bentley, but the Porsche Cayenne – which shares most of its structure with the Bentley – gets a full five stars and a 95 per cent adult occupant rating, so we can assume from that that the Bentayga is pretty safe. It does come with radar cruise control and lane-keeping steering, which both work well, as well as other tech such as blind spot monitoring, adaptive suspension, ‘exit warning’ which flashes lights and sounds an alarm to stop you opening your door into the face of an oncoming cyclist, adaptive LED headlights, autonomous emergency braking and much, much more.
If you drive in the country a lot, there’s an optional night vision camera, which can help you see animals and people way ahead of when your headlights will pick them out.
Needless to say, there’s an alarm and an immobiliser, but high-end SUVs like this are often targeted by crooks, so it would be wise to invest in a tracking device too.
The Bentayga comes with a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty, and in general it should prove to be a reliable thing – it uses mechanical bits proven and shared with Porsche, Lamborghini, VW, and Audi after all. That said, the Bentayga is in many ways a hand-made car, and while Bentley’s people are among the best at putting a car together, small issues can creep in.
The Bentayga has been recalled a good few times – for rear view cameras, stability control, loose seats, airbag warning lights, and rear suspension – so there are certainly some reliability concerns out there, and check these repairs have been carried out if you’re looking at a used Bentayga.