In no other vehicle does the uniquely British term wafting along apply as aptly as in the Bentayga, where one presses on with endless power and understated grace.
Luxury carmakers, like the rest of the world’s vehicle manufacturers, have increasingly introduced SUVs to meet the obvious greater interest and demand. And so it is with the British manufacturer Bentley. A few years ago, the Bentayga was introduced with a 12-cylinder engine producing 600 horsepower. The end result was a super powerful and speedy SUV, but with a truly useful and luxurious interior.
For the 2019 model year, Bentley has introduced a 4-liter V-8 edition. Not that the smaller engine gives up much in power and performance because it develops a healthy 542 horsepower. And like its more powerful companion, an 8-speed automatic transmission handles the gear-shifting duties, and power goes to all four wheels. With this combo, the zero-to-60 time is a very quick 4.4 seconds with a top speed of 180 mph. Interestingly, the high-tech engine will shut off four cylinders in cruising modes to save fuel. Plenty of safety and driving features are standard equipment including parking assist, traffic signal recognition, pedestrian and reverse warnings, and such. If this were not enough, the great news is the starting price of $165,000 is substantially less expensive than the 12-cylinder version.
Styling, which is truly unique, received some tweaks with this new model year. The classic rectangular grille remains with truly large traditional round headlights on the flanks.
A high roof moves back to rear pillars which sweep down to the rear lift gate. Large traditional rear taillights round out the picture … all and all, a good looking and distinctive SUV.
As one would expect, the interior is beautifully laid out. Leather is spread around the seats, door panels, steering wheel and center console. Five different leather colors and patterns are available. Wood panels are inserted throughout its interiors to add to the sumptuous equation. The panoramic sunroof essentially goes from the front of the roof to the back. A large touch and color video screen handles various functions, and when the SUV is reversing, the cameras shows 360 degrees around the vehicle as well as the classic rear view. Additionally, smart phones can be tied into the video system. Rear seating room for three is quite roomy on all fronts. On the back of the center console are controls for the rear climate system. Buttons on the key and interior open the lift gate, exposing a generous rear storage and carrying area. Below the floor are additional areas to place smaller items. A removable cover hides items from exterior viewing.
Notwithstanding the overall size of this Bentley, this SUV is a joy to drive. The V-8, for the most part, operates in silence. But power is instant and throws you back into the seat. Perhaps more surprising even with large 21-inch alloy wheels is the overall ride. It possesses a combination of the ability to absorb the worst that pothole-filled streets can throw at it, but with absolute control of the corners when needed.
So with this new edition of the Bentayga, the core of this lavish SUV remains, including a stunning interior and exterior and plenty of performance. But the real bonus is a genuine price reduction with this new edition.
BENTLEY BENTAYGA SUV
MODEL: ALL-WHEEL DRIVE, SUV, 4, 5 OR 6 PASSENGERS
POWERTRAIN: TWIN TURBO V-8 4.0 LITER, 8-SPEED AUTOMATIC, ALL-WHEEL DRIVE
PRICE: (BASE) $165,000, AS TESTED $179,335