The Bentley Bentayga is the Continental that can go anywhere
And it is just so darn good!
Even though the Bentayga caused quite a stir when Bentley released it, the brand's first-ever SUV quickly became their bestseller. It's no surprise as this category of vehicles has become increasingly popular among consumers. Hate it or love it, the Bentayga is a necessary evil if the brand wants to continue to grow. Bentley was one of the last brands to produce an SUV, therefore they had time to analyze what their competitors were doing, and to perfect this very important new car. However, it did not start all that well.
Before the Bentayga, Bentley presented a concept called EXP 9 F at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, and the reception was not very positive. Indeed, many potential customers and journalists criticized the looks of this design study. Despite heavy modifications for the production model in 2015, the final looks were still vastly controversial. After already five years on the road, the Bentayga was ready to receive a midlife facelift and now Bentley was ready to fix everything and have a design that would be unanimously praised by everyone.
Are you convinced? The SUV picked up some design cues from the beautiful Continental and I have to say that it has worked. The Bentayga is unmistakably Bentley and looks as elegant as a car from this brand should be. Our press car was finished in this striking Kingfisher blue colour with black accents to bring some extra sportiness. Probably not many customers will order their Bentayga with this kind of specs, therefore it was refreshing to drive and photoshoot a car with a special colour. However, Bentley did not stop with the enhanced looks.
The SUV had to drive like a real Bentley too. It's all about serenity, comfort, and yes a tad of sportiness. In terms of driving, the Bentayga is between the Rolls-Royce Cullinan and the Aston Martin DBX. That means that the Bentley may be extremely plush, but it still feels very much connected to the road. Despite its weight of over 2.6 tons, the Bentayga is very agile and you can really sense that the inspiration behind these driving dynamics was the Continental. They may be two very different cars but the philosophy is similar, and what Bentley has managed to do here is master the right tune between comfort and sportiness. You just know the minute you start driving the Bentayga that it has been through extensive and complex development. The same applies to the 4.0 V8 our press car was equipped with. Even though we regret that Bentley no longer offers the 6.0 W12, this smaller engine is still one of the best ones we have ever experienced. It makes 550 horsepower, goes from 0-100 km/h in only 4.4 seconds, and will reach a top speed of 288 km/h. In an SUV!
We have never driven the first iteration of the Bentayga, but we have heard that most in the new car happened in the cabin. Looking at pictures of the "old" car, we can clearly see that Bentley reinvigorated the interior with a new sharp and responsive infotainment system, a digital dashboard, and an induction charging pad for your smartphone. Again, I think Bentley found again the sweet spot between high technology and classy analog switches. The interior of this press car was enhanced with carbon fibre panels on the console as well as blue stitching on the seats that reminded the colour of the exterior. Some will find it a bit eccentric, I adored it. All in all, the interior of the Bentley is highly refined with beautiful materials and will certainly make commuting less boring by offering absolute comfort and tech that just works.
I didn't have the Bentley Bentayga for very long, but I quickly fell in love with it. I felt that the essence of Bentley had been respected and that it was a compelling package that offered a lot of car. I also found that it was closer to the Continental than expected, again a good thing as it is one of the best Bentleys out there at the moment. On the other hand, you cannot take a Continental off the beaten path. The Bentayga is equipped with several different driving modes that should help it cope with different kinds of terrain. I hope you will understand, but I was not very adventurous with this €219.635,00 SUV, so I tried sticking to the road where most of them will go anyway. Being the company's bestseller, Bentley could have just done a rebadged Volkswagen Touareg and it would have still probably worked, but no. They really went the extra mile with it, and even though I am not a huge SUV fan, the Bentayga is a truly exceptional car. I hope Bentley will sell a lot of those so that we get more cars like the Bacalar.
We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to Bentley Geneva for allowing us to discover this beautiful Bentayga. Without them, this article would have never been possible. They have a beautiful dealership near the city centre and have some of the most amazing Bentleys in their showroom. You can find their website here, and their Instagram account here.
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