2017 Bentley Bentayga Review

2017-bentley-bentayga-first-drive-review-car-and-driver-photo-662694-s-originalLegend has it that Ettore Bugatti once called the Bentley 4½ Litre the “world’s fastest truck.” We’re guessing that he didn’t know he was merely being prophetic. Because now Bentley builds an SUV, and guess what? Its 187-mph top speed is the highest on record for a vehicle of that type.

Why an SUV? Simple: People who drive Bentleys tend to have other vehicles (a lot of them), and the vehicle they drive in the winter—or when it’s raining, or foggy, or below 75 degrees—tends to be an SUV. Now that Bentley makes an SUV, a lot of those buyers will make that SUV a Bentley, as well.

For the last three years, Bentley has sold more than 10,000 vehicles annually, a major milestone for the company. The Bentayga is going to help obliterate that record: The company plans to build 5500 Bentaygas in 2016. That estimate already has been revised upward once, and company executives tell us that, as interest builds, that figure may enjoy yet another upward correction.

And while the Bentayga might be tall for a Bentley at 68.6 inches, it’s not otherwise particularly large for one. At 202.4 inches long and 78.7 inches wide, it’s about 17 inches shorter than a Mulsanne and three inches wider. At nearly 5400 pounds, it’s about 550 pounds lighter than the Mulsanne and just shy of a Flying Spur W-12. The floorpan is steel, but most of the rest of the sheetmetal is aluminum, including all exterior panels. Bentley says that the body side is the auto industry’s largest single aluminum stamping.

With its (relatively) low mass for a Bentley, the Bentayga is kind of spectacular to drive. The damping of the multilink front and rear suspensions is exemplary. Even over the extreme speed bumps peppered throughout the hamlets of southern Spain, the most massive of wheel displacements are forgotten in a single, gentle compression and rebound of the suspension. The electric power steering is weighty and direct, although it doesn’t enjoy a ton of feel. But by SUV standards, it’s excellent. As are the brakes. The pedal is firm and progressive, and even barreling down the twisting switchbacks of the Sierra Blanca mountains, there was never a hint of fade.

Handling is neutral enough that you’ll forget this is a 5400-pound SUV with a 12-cylinder engine in the nose. Sure, you can force it into understeer, but you can also set it up to flow through turns better than a vehicle this size has any right to, mostly because it corners remarkably flat. Its outstanding body control is the result of Bentley Dynamic Ride, a new active anti-roll bar that counteracts natural roll with a pair of electric actuators, one at each end of the vehicle to stiffen and soften the front and rear bars. It’s a trick system, but don’t expect the sports-car world to rush to adopt it. In order for the system to act quickly enough, says product-line director Peter Guest, it needs to operate on 48 volts, with a supercapacitor meting the voltage. With the bars, the actuators, the supercapacitor, and the heavy-duty cables—which he says are about four times the diameter of most automotive cables—the system weighs between 30 and 40 pounds. Bentley chief executive Wolfgang Dürheimer says Bentley Dynamic Ride is technically capable of leaning the Bentayga into a turn, motorcycle-style, but, in the interest of passenger comfort, the company stopped short of allowing that capability. We’d be quite interested to see what sort of impact that would have on cornering. The system allows a firm, controlled—but never harsh—ride on pavement but allows maximum wheel articulation off.

 

Ready to Crawl

That’s right: off road. Because this is a Bentley meant for dirt, our drive included some semi-serious off-roading. At first we feared that the trail was going to be too easy, something a rental Toyota Camry could conquer, but we got into some pretty tricky attitudes—the oiling system is designed to keep the engine lubricated at up to 35 degrees of tilt in any direction. We crawled through a few ditches that had the Bentayga alternately kissing the ground—a few trucks in our group actually did scuff their chins, an occurrence that is probably about 10 times more expensive than your entire beater Jeep—and hanging a rear wheel off the ground at full suspension droop.

There are, of course, additional vehicle settings for off-roading: snow and grass, dirt and gravel, mud and trail, and sand dunes. There are two suspension settings that raise ground clearance a little or a little more (Bentley declined to provide specific figures). Hill-descent control holds your speed on downslopes, and there’s an infotainment-system screen that monitors each of these settings as well as wheel articulation and incline/decline and side-slope angles. Also, the front parking camera is well suited to peeking over sharp crests for a better view of what’s out of sight below the Bentayga’s domed hood. Some of these features distract from the simple joy of driving through nature—as does the pulsing of the brakes mimicking limited-slip differentials—but you don’t have to use them. They turn off automatically above 47 mph in case you accidentally drive onto pavement with them still engaged. At the end of the trail, Bentley had positioned a car-washing crew, but we waved them off and finished our drive proudly wearing a fine dusting of ruddy dirt over our Bentayga’s immaculate Verdant Green paint.

The off-road driving might be impressive, but the de rigueur semiautonomous operation is less so. As is the standard for modern luxury vehicles, the Bentayga pairs its adaptive cruise control with an automatic lane-keeping function for short stints of hands-off driving. But like many of them, Bentley’s system tends to either ping-pong back and forth in the lane or crowd the middle of the road with the wheels nearly on the center line. If you signal to pass the car in front, it won’t pull out like the Tesla Model S does, but it will accelerate toward the car ahead, which seems like the wrong order of operations. We found the system more annoying than helpful, fighting us with little steering-wheel tugs on even our most relaxed lines through corners.

Where once there were rumble strips and other motorists honking, now there’s electric power steering jerking the car back and forth. It’s not necessarily more graceful than the old system, but at least it’s less obnoxious to other motorists.

 

‘W’ For ‘Win’

But don’t worry, the Bentayga is fully capable of being obnoxious. The all-new 6.0-liter W-12 grunts out 600 horsepower at 6000 rpm and 664 lb-ft of torque from 1350 to 4500 and will whip this horse to 60 mph in a claimed four seconds flat. That’s sure to widen the eyes of occupants and bystanders alike.

The new W-12 shares its bore spacing with its predecessor but no parts. Bentley shaved 66 pounds from this generation, an impressive feat with such a dense box of mechanical parts. Engineers pulled precious ounces from everything—the block, heads, crank, and cams to name just a few. The one system that isn’t lighter is the fuel injection, which now has direct and port injectors. At idle and under full load, the direct injectors do their precise work, while the port injectors are engaged at part throttle, when they’re said to better mix fuel and air while reducing emissions. Bentley also claims the W-12 is 10 percent more efficient than its predecessor, with cylinder deactivation shutting down six cylinders when conditions are right and a “sail mode” that decouples the engine from the transmission when the driver is off the throttle at higher speeds. We noticed neither system at work.

Product-line director Guest says that twin-scroll turbos are much of the reason the W-12 is all-new—the engineers couldn’t fit the faster-spooling turbos onto the old engine. Here, they’re so snug against the block that they’re almost integrated into it. And they actually are integrated into the exhaust manifolds. New oil pumps make sure the turbos get a steady supply of fresh oil even at extreme off-road angles.

 

Immaculate Interior

Guest also tells us that the sound insulation that enables Bentley’s famously serene interiors means that those worried about off-road dust in their Bentleys have nothing to fear. Like any Bentley, the Bentayga uses triple seals around all openings, and sound waves are smaller than any particulates. “Once you’ve insulated for noise, you’ve insulated for everything,” he says.

The Bentayga’s interior is one you want to keep pristine. Buyers can choose from 15 colors of hide to trim the cabin, in three different two-tone layouts, plus contrast or matched stitching and piping. There are seven different veneers—heck, there are 14 different seatbelt colors. Not only does the instrument panel still use physical gauges with real needles, but those gauges are protected behind a sheet of actual mineral glass, rather than the plastic used on just about every other vehicle. The speaker grilles are even designed to mimic high-end stitching.

And of course that’s only the beginning. Buyers can spend $5715 on extracost paints, $7870 for the Touring Specification technology package, $11,015 to replace the three-place rear bench with two individual thrones, $7155 for a pair of removable tablets to put in front of those seats, and $28,500 on carbon-fiber trim. Plus, a ton of other stuff, including pie-in-the-sky customization. It’s pretty easy to send the base price of a Bentayga from $232,000 to well north of 300 grand.

But the coolest (and most appalling) thing in the Bentayga interior is the optional Breitling clock set atop the dashboard. It’s available in either white or rose gold, with a face of black or white mother-of-pearl, and studded with eight diamonds. Cost? 150,000 euros, or about $160,000. Only a handful of craftspeople make the clocks, which take three months apiece.That exclusivity guarantees that Bentley will sell the four it can offer every year.

Even without that clock, the Bentayga should vacuum massive amounts of cash into Bentley’s coffers. As the Volkswagen Group, in the wake of its diesel scandal, scrutinizes the business case for every last model in its portfolio, maybe Bugatti will want to take its own crack at that “world’s fastest truck” business.

VIA: http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2017-bentley-bentayga-first-drive-review

Bentley Bentayga Unveiled in The Sarasota Studio

FullSizeRenderOn Saturday, November 7th, Dimmitt Automotive Group, home to Bentley Tampa Bay, launched the new Bentley Bentayga in Sarasota, Florida. Dimmitt Automotive Group’s newest addition, The Sarasota Studio, made for an incredible showcase of the new Bentley SUV. The Sarasota Studio will offer luxury preowned vehicles with the same legendary service that Dimmitt Automotive Group is widely known for. Bentley owners were invited to preview the Bentayga and invited to place an order.

The Bentley Bentayga: A New Chapter For Bentley Motors

When first tasked with designing Bentayga, the team at Bentley were faced with more than just creating a new car. Their challenge was to elevate the very concept of the SUV to powerful, luxurious new heights. To create a car that would cause the world to see the SUV sector through entirely new eyes.

The journey of Bentayga’s design, crafting and refinement has been a long one, but it is a process now completed. To see how the story unfolded, read on.

See Light

To create such a revolutionary car, Bentley’s designers were compelled to think in new ways. When you look at a car, you don’t really see it. It’s the same when you look at any solid object. Colours and contours are merely illusions; all our eyes really see is light, bouncing off surfaces in different ways. It is the way our brains process light that gives us our 3D view of the world.

Bentayga’s exterior was designed with this principle in mind and made real with Bentley’s world-famous sculptural prowess.

Strategic design elements like the ultra-sharp power line, signature ‘horseshoe’ at the rear and the muscular haunch, adding volume and power to the taller profile, are complemented by individual and dynamic detailing: the B-shaped wing vent behind the front wheel arch and Bentayga’s signature ‘B’ graphic rear lamps.

From the four round headlamps that flank the matrix grille to Bentley’s trademark ‘double wing’ cockpit design, Bentayga brings the marque’s DNA to the SUV.

See Texture

Nowhere in the world are cars crafted with the same passion and skill as they are in the Bentley factory. Because, when it comes to the way we experience a car, the way it feels matters just as much as the way it looks. Texture is everything.

With the arrival of Bentayga, the world will see craftsmanship of this calibre applied to an SUV for the first time. For those lucky enough to experience it, new heights of luxury will be reached. For the rest of the world, the SUV category will never look the same again.

From the outset, Bentayga was going to be revolutionary. And a revolutionary car warrants a revolutionary approach, in every aspect of its development. When it came to designing the camouflage that would disguise the car during its open-air tests, inspiration was sought in the art world: in particular, the work of 1960s Op Art pioneer Bridget Riley, famous for her use of optical illusions in her paintings.

To truly understand the relationship between the texture of physical materials and the experience of driving Bentayga, you need to see how the two are intertwined; you need to see each aspect through new eyes.

Becoming Bentayga

An extraordinary car demands an extraordinary name.

With the world’s geology at our feet, we searched from a satellite’s eye view for a symbol of nature’s power and beauty. We alighted first on the Taiga – the vast continental snow-forest that crowns the Northern Hemisphere. Then, we focused our lens tighter. And, as ever with Bentley, it was in the meticulous detail that reward lay.

The Roque Bentayga – an iconic, eye-catching standalone peak in the Atlantic Canary Islands, provided further inspiration. A unique feature, one with gravitas and stature. One that draws attention from all directions. Locally and globally.

As Wolfgang Dürheimer, Chairman and CEO of Bentley Motors, said whilst announcing the name in Detroit earlier this year:
“Bentayga is a name that reflects what we know our SUV will do better than any other car in the world – combine the best automotive luxury with outstanding performance to take the Bentley experience to new environments.”

See Technology

Bentayga is leading the way in technological advances at Bentley. And much of that technological development has been focused on perfecting the driving experience. From easy access to a range of driving modes to cutting-edge driver assistance technology to electronic power assisted steering, Bentayga delivers driving pleasure in even the most challenging situations.

Every feature has been perfected as a result of research with Bentley drivers around the world, many of whom also drive at least one SUV. Bentayga is the first Bentley to offer more than two choices of sound system, including the most powerful system available in any SUV.

The interface is remarkably flexible, offering a choice of touch control, rotary dials, gestures or even voice, depending on user preferences or driving conditions.

Meanwhile, rear seat passengers can also enjoy TV and video entertainment, navigation features, games, video calling and media streaming.

In the Bentayga, this technology is applied with subtlety, with the aim of enhancing the experience for everyone inside the car. When not required, its presence is barely perceptible. When needed, the effects can be quite striking.

See Performance

The all-new W12 TSI engine is the most technically advanced 12-cylinder engine in the world, delivering the most power, torque and economy of any car in its class. However, this is too narrow a description of what true performance is. Only when you drive Bentayga over any imaginable terrain, and feel the smooth, balanced distribution of raw yet efficient power, does it become clear. Bentayga’s performance achieves the optimum balance of handling and efficiency – without a hint of compromise.

To put theory into practice, the world’s first genuine luxury SUV tackled some ‘real world’ testing in the demanding and unforgiving mountain terrain of Northern Spain. Bentayga was forced to demonstrate great traction and axel articulation on otherwise impassable routes. A breathtaking challenge, but one undertaken in true Bentley style – with unparalleled ride and cabin comfort.

When Bentayga returns to the tarmac, it achieves a 0-60 mph time of 4.0 seconds (0-100 km/h 4.1 seconds) and a top speed of 187 mph (301 km/h), once again demonstrating true Bentley spirit.

Bentayga and its all-new W12 engine has redefined what an SUV engine is capable of.

Images generously provided by Jason Sha’ul Photography.

For more information or for ordering, please contact Bentley Tampa Bay – Dimmitt Automotive Group at 727.822.2019 or visit http://www.Dimmitt.com