Do you ever find yourself sitting in traffic behind the wheel of your Range Rover SV Autobiography, wishing that you weren’t stuck looking like a decently-successful dentist when in fact you make more in a year than any dentist can expect to make in a lifetime?
It’s a crisis we all experience on a regular basis, I know, but what else are you supposed to buy if you want the utmost in luxury as well as the added ride height of an SUV? Sure, you could buy a Mercedes-Benz G65 AMG, but it’s not like most people are going to be able to tell the difference between the $200,000 G65 AMG and the $100,000 G550.
When you’re wealthy enough that money is no object, why should you have to stoop to driving what may as well be a very nice version of a commoner’s car?
Thankfully, Bentley is here to save the day with the 2017 Bentayga SUV. No longer will the truly wealthy be forced to drive Range Rovers like everyone else. Instead, they’ll be able to differentiate themselves from the pack with an SUV that’s expected to start north of $200,000 and only get more expensive as you add options.
Visually, the Bentayga’s look is all Bentley, and while the exterior styling isn’t what you would call surprising or ground-breaking, it’s certainly more attractive than the EXP 9 F concept that Bentley showed at the Geneva Motor Show back in 2012. It may not be the most attractive SUV on the market, but where the design succeeds is in making sure the Bentayga will stand out from the crowd. Even if onlookers don’t know what they’re looking at, they’ll at least know they’re looking at something more special than a Cadillac Escalade or Porsche Cayenne.
Inside, the Bentayga will make your friends still stuck driving Bentley Continental Flying Spurs jealous thanks to its attractive, modern design. The cabin materials are your typical assortment of ultra-luxurious leather, metal, and wood, and Bentley is sure to let you customize your order nearly any way you’d like.
With ultra-high-end vehicles like these, it isn’t so much a question of whether or not something can be customized so much as it is how much it’s going to cost you.
Bentley didn’t cheap out under the hood either. Instead of using an eight-cylinder engine or even a 10-cylinder engine, the engineers shoved a brand new 12-cylinder engine under the hood. Displacing six liters and utilizing two turbochargers, the Bentayga’s W12 makes 600 horsepower and 663 pound-feet of torque. Sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission, that’s enough power to hit 60 miles per hour in exactly four seconds and to keep charging up to 187 miles per hour. For an SUV, that’s incredibly fast. The fastest, actually.
In the event that you’re interested in saving fuel, though, the Bentayga’s W12 can also deactivate half its cylinders and run on six during periods of time when gut-punching acceleration isn’t necessary.
You would probably assume that an SUV with 600 horsepower and an interior crafted to be one of the most luxurious in the world would be little use off road, but according to Bentley, that’s not the case with the Bentayga. Supposedly, if an owner truly wishes to venture off the beaten path, he or she will be perfectly able to do so.
The Bentayga was tested off-road on five continents and claims to be capable of handling everything from the sand dunes in Dubai to the muddy fields of Cheshire. I’m not exactly sure who is going to want to take their Bentley mudding, but if anyone wishes to invite me along for the adventure, I will gladly join them because it sounds awesome.
Much like how the idea of off-roading a Bentley doesn’t make a lot of logical sense, neither does spending a quarter of a million dollars or more on an SUV. The thing is, though, the Bentley Bentayga isn’t supposed to be a logical choice. It’s a vehicle for someone who would be buying a Continental Flying Spur or even a Mulsanne anyways but who prefers the look and feel of riding in an SUV.
People enjoy riding in SUVs, and that includes both regular people and the incredibly wealthy. Regular people have had all kinds of options for a while, but until now, anyone who wanted something more exclusive than a Range Rover has been out of luck. The Bentayga is for those people.
Bentley better hope the Bentayga is a hit, though, because even though it has the segment to itself for now, competition is coming. Rolls-Royce has already announced that it’s developing an SUV, and you can expect that Aston Martin, Lamborghini, and even Maserati won’t be far behind.