When news first broke out that VW-owned British luxury marquee Bentley would be coming up with its very own luxury SUV, it took few by surprise. The ultra-luxury SUV space, once dominated by just a handful of players, is now a heavily coveted segment for some of the world’s top brands, including Maserati, Jaguar, Aston Martin, and Lamborghini. Even Rolls-Royce, the venerable doyen of the automotive world, is testing the waters with its “Project Cullinan.” Therefore, it only makes sense for the Bentayga.
And it is being launched in India on 21st of April. As you’d expect with a car of this caliber, the Bentayga will be nowhere near the “affordable” mark, with a starting price of around Rs 3.8 crore (ex-showroom, Delhi). Yes, that is pretty much what you’d expect to fork out for a Rolls-Royce Ghost here in the country. And that is before you factor in the mile-long options list, with staggeringly pricey tick boxes like the Mulliner Tourbillon clock, yours for the princely sum of $160,000 in the US.
That said, the Bentley Bentayga really does have what it takes to justify its Ghost-rivalling price tag. Bentley makes no bones about its capabilities, putting it forth quite bluntly as the “fastest and most powerful SUV in the world.” That is a huge claim for a luxury barge that, while based on the same VW Group full-size SUV architecture as the Audi Q7 and next-gen Porsche Cayenne, is also longer, wider, and heavier than both.
This ferocious power comes from a brand new twin-turbo W12 engine, with 600 horsepower and a whooping 900 Nm of torque. Paired with an eight-speed transmission and an automatic all-wheel drive system, it will propel the Bentayga to 100 kmph in four seconds flat and on to a top speed of 300 kmph. So yes, the Bentayga does comfortably lay claim to the title of the fastest production SUV in the world.
But if you’re thinking that very few of these Bentaygas will ever be driven in anger by their owners, you’d be right. It is the luxury and creature comforts inside that count here, and Bentley hasn’t skimped on anything. Four cows gave their lives in the creation of every Bentayga leather interior, and there are 15 separate pieces of veneer, mineral glass gauge covers, milled aluminum accents and tolerances measured in tenths of a millimeter.
Buyers can spec the Bentayga with either four or five seats. Five means a folding rear bench, while four puts two buckets in back — identical to the standard 18-adjustment front seats and separated by a console, with a diamond-stitched leather partition in front of the cargo area. Both configurations come with a touch pad for rear climate and infotainment adjustments. It can be removed from the back of the front console and held on the lap so there’s no need to lean forward to adjust temperature or fan speed.
There are also 12 exterior ultrasonic sensors, five cameras with a composite top view, long-and short-distance radar, traffic sign recognition, night vision, head-up display and park assist — which works with a trailer attached. The Android tablets delivering rear-seat video can be removed from behind the front headrests for full computer functionality. There’s a 60-gig onboard hard-drive and three audio systems, from the standard 700 watts to the 1,800-watt Naim.
So if you’ve been looking for the perfect ultra-luxury SUV to scare those pesky plebeians off the road, and be swathed in comfort while doing it, the Bentley Bentayga is the perfect choice for you. Just keep it out of sight of the tax department.