There’s an insatiable thirst for SUVs affecting the globe and the ultra-luxury segment certainly hasn’t been spared. That’s why you have the likes of Mercedes-Maybach and Rolls-Royce planning high-riding models for the first time, but Bentley has beaten them to the punch with its new Bentayga.
Revealed in full at the 2015 Frankfurt Auto Show, the Bentayga is currently the most powerful, most luxurious SUV in production—it’s also the fastest thanks to a 187-mph top speed. It’s set to reach showrooms in the United States in the first half of 2016, as a 2017 model and with a starting price of $230k.
The general styling of the Bentayga is based on Bentley’s EXP 9 F concept from 2012, although the somewhat gaudy front-end design of the concept has been updated to something more elegant and athletic. There are LED headlights, paired with oval-shaped daytime running lights that incorporate telescoping headlamp washers.
As standard, the Bentayga comes with a panoramic glass roof. Making up almost 60 percent of the roof, the massive glass surface is split into two panes. The front panel tilts and slides, and the whole glass feature can be covered by an automated blind. Either side are aluminum roof rails that combine a high-gloss black base and bright anodized top section. Wheel sizes for the Bentayga range from 20-22 inches in diameter.
2017 Bentley BentaygaEnlarge Photo
Inside, you find Bentley’s traditional leather, wood and metal elements. Five seats are standard but a four-seat version can be ordered and further down the track a third-row option enabling seven seats to be fitted will be offered. Rear seat passengers benefit from the introduction of the Bentley Entertainment Tablet—a removable 10.2-inch Android device with 4G, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. Another handy item is park assist, which detects suitable parking spaces (both parallel and perpendicular) before autonomous steering takes over.
There are plenty of other tech features, such as a head-up display, digital instrument cluster, night vision mode, and a vehicle dynamic mode selector allowing the driver to pick the ideal vehicle setup depending on the situation. The latter includes an optional Responsive Off-Road Setting that allows the driver to select the appropriate vehicle settings for a wide range of off-road surfaces. In this mode, key metrics such as pitch, roll, wheel articulation, steering angle, compass bearing and altitude are shown on the main display.
You also get a suite of electric driver aids for the urban environment, which will most likely be the sole domain of most Bentaygas. In addition to the lane departure, blind spot and traffic sign warning systems, you also get a predictive adaptive cruise control system that uses the navigation data, sensors and cameras to predict upcoming corners, city boundaries and speed-limit changes and can then modify the vehicle speed accordingly, improving both comfort and fuel economy. Also aiding fuel economy is electric power steering.