Bentayga features a new Bentley 6.0 litre W12 engine powering all four wheels. It’s an advanced new unit that combines direct and indirect fuel injection, whilst also featuring variable displacement. For a 600bhp, 900NM powertrain, the CO2 figure of 292 g/km is exceptional. So too is the sensation of effortless, limitless power. The engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, specifically developed to cope with the extra stresses of off-road driving. Start-Stop and a new ‘sailing’ feature (that disconnects the torque converter at motorway speeds when you back off the throttle) all help Bentayga make the most of every tankful. Diesel and hybrid versions are promised for future model years.
As well as being tested on desert dunes at 50°C plus or Arctic ice at -30°C, Bentayga was also hammered for over 400 laps of the Nürburgring. So while it’s capable of mud-plugging with the best off-roaders, it’s in a league of its own for on-road performance.
The new Bentley SUV is packed with advanced electronic tech, including multi-mode traction control, electronic stability control and hill descent control. Perhaps most noteworthy is the 48v electric active anti-roll system, allowing the driver to enjoy sports-car like handling without compromising ride comfort. There are eight different driver-selectable drive modes for on and off-road surfaces, which Bentley claims is unique. There are also four different ride height modes for the air suspension, including a ‘sit’ setting for loading the luggage area or hitching up a trailer. So while Bentayga is the fastest, most powerful SUV in the world it’s also hugely capable in real-world situations, from the streets of Mayfair to the steppes of Mongolia. We’ve been counting the months, but Bentayga has been well worth the wait.