As previously reported, the Bentayga is based on the same SUV version of the Volkswagen Group’s new MLB Evo platform that debuted in the 2017 Audi Q7. This same platform, in shortened form, will eventually appear in next-generation versions of the Porsche Cayenne, Volkswagen Touareg and even a new SUV from Lamborghini based on 2012’s Urus concept. Its lightweight design meant Bentley saved roughly 520 pounds compared with more conventional construction methods. Nevertheless, the Bentayga’s curb weight is still a hefty 5,340 lbs.
Thankfully, Bentley equips the Bentayga with one of the mightiest mills in production, a newly developed twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter W-12. Here, it’s rated at 600 horsepower and 663 pound-feet of torque, allowing the Bentayga to accelerate to 60 mph in just 4.0 seconds and max out at the aforementioned 187-mph top speed.
The engine is mated to an eight-speed ZF automatic. The transmission and four-wheel-drive system has been strengthened to handle the demands and high torque levels of off-road driving, but key modifications have also been made to aid fuel economy. In addition to an engine stop-start system, there is also a coasting function where the engine is disconnected at high speeds, such as cruising on the highway. When the throttle is applied, or the car starts going downhill and detects an increase in speed, the engine and transmission are reconnected.
EPA-rated fuel economy is yet to be announced but Bentley estimates 14/20 mpg city/highway and 16 mpg combined. Given the weight and performance of the Bentayga, the figures are reasonable. However, Bentley will be offering customers much more fuel efficient options. The automaker has confirmed that the Bentayga will also offer diesel and plug-in hybrid options in the near future. The timing of the diesel is unclear but Bentley has previously stated that the plug-in hybrid would be launched in 2017. Also thought to be arriving in 2017 is a high-performance Bentayga that could possibly be branded a Speed.
2017 Bentley BentaygaEnlarge Photo
Finally, it’s worth mentioning all the chassis mods that help the Bentayga not only handle rough terrain but also the race track. The key is a new system called Bentley Dynamic Ride, which Bentley claims is the world’s first electric active roll control technology. This instantly counteracts lateral rolling forces when cornering and ensures maximum tire contact at the limit, and according to Bentley the system is superior to conventional anti-roll bars as it can alternate between body control and ride comfort.
There is also a Hill Descent Control system that regulates the vehicle’s speed on steep declines (greater than 5 percent), allowing the driver to concentrate fully on steering and obstacles ahead. And as with all Bentleys, the Bentayga comes with multi-mode air suspension. The driver has four different modes to choose from: High 2, High 1, Normal and Low. There’s also a button in the trunk that lowers the rear to ease loading and trailer hitching.
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