WHY DOES IT LOOK LIKE THE CONTINENTAL GT?
Bentley has decided to go for a harmonized look across their portfolio. Hence the Bentayga receives a mid-life facelift with a brand new look. The look takes cues from the beautiful Continental GT and the handsome Flying Spur, making sure that you never mistake the Bentayga for anything else when you see it.
With the facelift, you get a brand new refreshed front and back end. The front has beautiful crystal-cut jewel type headlights which remind you of a bohemian crystal whisky glass. It also has a new chrome grille. The side profile pretty much remains the same. The rear gets Continental GT inspired oval taillights with the crystal-cut theme going on over here as well. Personally prefer the taillights from the pre-facelift version, but the new ones are not a deal-breaker. The rear flanks have aggressive flared out wheel arches giving the entire vehicle a purposeful and muscular stance. The 20mm increase in overall length helps as well.
In the end, looks are subjective. There are days when I enjoy them, and there are days when I do not like them. However, sales figures of the car will disagree with me and say that most customers love it. In one of my recent travels to the US, I observed the Bentayga be one of the more popular super-luxury cars on the road.
HOW FAST IS IT?
How fast do you want it to go? Is my question back to you. Bentley offers the Bentayga in four different engine options. The regular V8, the V8S, the Speed, which has the signature W12 and a Hybrid with a V6 engine will return to the lineup in 2023.
I drove the “entry-level” (LOL) V8 car with the First Edition pack. More on the First Edition later, but let’s talk about the brilliant V8 that sits under the hood of this car. This V8 serves multiple vehicles under the VAG umbrella, but it is a heck of an engine. Producing 542 HP from the twin-turbo V8, it does 0-100 kph in 4.5 seconds and is mated to an 8-speed ZF auto box.
The characterful engine sounds good and emits deep throaty guttural sounds under hard acceleration, making you feel better about yourself at any given point of the day. See an empty straight press the throttle, and the entire SUV squats on its rear haunches and sprints towards the horizon like there is no tomorrow. Always an enjoyable experience to push this car.
Handling is excellent for a tall car that weighs over 2 tonnes. The car manages to make you enjoy the driving experience with proper feedback and heft from the steering wheel. The steering is accurate, and with excellent visibility, you can place the car exactly where you want it to be. All of this is possible due to the 4WD system and active electronic anti-roll bars.
But if going fast is not your thing, then the Bentayga will happily cruise around town like the muscular bruiser that it is designed to be. The ride is excellent, and the air suspension does a brilliant job in keeping you cosseted from the rest of the world. If you spec the Touring Pack, then you get an additional host of semi-autonomous driving aids that will help you cross continents with ease.
It even has some off-road pedigree and features. I tired the car on soft sand and some heavily potholed roads and gravel surfaces. It did these tasks effortlessly, and due to the brilliant air suspension, I did not even feel a thing. I dare not to push it further; who wants to damage the rims on a Bentley?
HOW LUXURIOUS IS IT FROM THE INSIDE?
IMO Bentley does the best leather currently in the car business, and oh, what leather! As luxurious as you can imagine it to be. You are in for a treat if you love that smell because the hide is thick but supple and encloses upon you like the best glove. You would feel the interiors of the Bentley are designed keeping you in mind.
The inside of the Bentayga is a sensory delight. Over and above the fragrance of brand new leather, everything you touch and feel has a decidedly purposeful feel. The AC vents (designed to look like the Bentley logo), knobs, etc., all have an excellent tactile feel. The wooden veneers look and feel flawless—everything on the inside is genuine leather, wood, or metal, which I love. But there are a few negative bits. Some of the switchgear reminds me of Audi, and if you have driven Audis, you will be able to spot it as well. Also, the centre console area has a few plastic bits that feel entirely out of place—the gear lever looks brilliant on touch kind of feels flimsy. I would expect it to be heftier.
So yes, the interiors are a marvellous place to be in. The seats are comfortable, supportive and can be enjoyed for long-distance driving. They come with multiple adjustment options, massage features and heated-cooled options as well. The Bentayga can be configured in 4,5 or 7 seater configurations. I drove the five-seater, which I assume would be the most selling version. Seats in the back are comfortable, supportive, luxurious but you would expect them to be more spacious in the back. Even though the five seaters come with a bench, you would want to use it only as a four-seater. I do not see the Bentayga as a chauffeur-driven car but rather a self-driven one.
There is a ton of tech inside. The Touring Pack gets semi-autonomous driving aids and night vision. The centre console has a 10.9-inch touch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Bentley interface is easy to use, simple, responsive and efficient.
The dash is now completely digital with digital bling. The interface now mimics that from the Audi MMI, and you can see the references. But I do enjoy the analogue feel sight of the digital dials.
Rear passengers now get a dedicated remote control similar in size to the original iPhone to manage all the settings and preferences.
I do love the analogue clock, and it adds so much character to the interiors. Also, if you get a Bentayga please please please get the Naim audio system. It is simply the best system on the market.
Coming to the First Edition. This is Bentley’s way of choosing the best options from their plethora of options and serving them on a platter. If you are buying a Bentley, either you have all the time on earth, or you have none. If you have none, just choose the First Edition, and Bentley will happily do the rest. If you have all the former, then take your time and enjoy the process because there is nothing else out there that can mimic the joy of speccing our your own Bentley. Bentley will offer you the choices options in leather, wood, metal etc., to make sure you can truly make the car yours. To see the First Edition options on the car I tested, see the video above.
IS IT WORTH BUYING?
Even in this space, you have competition. There is the Aston Martin DBX, the Cullinan, the Urus and the Mercedes-Maybach. The Bentayga starts at $185,000 or AED 700,000. It is worth it, and Bentley has managed to accomplish what they set out to achieve. The Bentayga is the one I would buy. Thank you for reading. Please follow my YouTube, DriveTribe and, Instagram for more cool content.