Okay, so clearly, it’s only going to be parked up outside the most exclusive schools, but there’s no denying the oddly-named Bentayga is going to be the most usable, commodious Bentley to date. At £160,200 it takes over from the Range Rover as the most exclusive all-purpose car, combining an all-new W12 powertrain with usability and astonishing pace.
The car was designed and engineered in Crewe and is also built there. The vital stats are impressive – a twin-turbocharged 6.0-litre W12 engine pushes out 600bhp and 663lb ft, and Bentley claims a 0-60mph time of 4.0 seconds, and a maximum speed of 187mph. It takes over from sister SUV the Porsche Cayenne as the world’s fastest and most powerful car of its type.
Here’s a list the technology that Bentley shared in the car’s pre-launch blurb: Bentley Dynamic Ride, EPAS, Responsive Off-Road Setting, Adaptive Cruise Control, Predictive ACC, Traffic Assist, Traffic Sign Recognition, Rear Crossing Traffic Warning, Top View, Park Assist, Electronic Night Vision, Head-Up Display, Bentley Entertainment Tablet, Bentley Standard Audio, Bentley Signature Audio and Naim for Bentley Premium Audio. How could you live without it?
The styling is a marked improvement over the 2012 Bentley EXP 9 F prototype, and is marked by its quartet of distinctive floating all-LED headlamps and heavily chiselled flanks. Inside, anyone who’s familiar with the Continental GT will feel at home in the Bentayga, despite its lofty driving position – there’s plenty of metal, wood and leather and the dashboard takes the iconic Bentley ‘wing’ design as its inspiration (above).
There’s obviously plenty of equipment – there are two individual rear seats, which adjust in 18 different ways and, of course, there are cup holders, generous storage areas and USB charging sockets for kids who want to game on the move. There’s also a full-length panoramic sunroof to keep things airy and a hands-free tailgate to facilitate loading the shopping.
For those who want to personalise their Bentayga, there’s a nifty integrated Mulliner Hamper Set, complete with cooler, bespoke fine Linley china cutlery, crockery and crystal glass and a storage area for dry goods (above). Sections of the hamper can then be removed and used as seats. Oh, and for the ultimate in bling additions, you can also specify a Mulliner Tourbillon clock by Breitling…
It’s a new market sector for Bentley and, although some traditionalists might sneer, it comes from the company that Ettore Bugatti called the maker of the world’s fastest lorries, so you can bet your bottom dollar it’s going to sell in droves. Perhaps not in the UK – but expect this to pop up in numbers at the most popular mountain resorts in 2016 – and the local educational emporia.