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Born out of speed,  the Bentley Bentayga has been a huge success with more than 20, 000 of the handcrafted machines being produced since its launch.

To develop and create an upper premium SUV for many may have been a strange departure for Bentley; however it has proved to be a huge success and has opened an entirely new chapter for the prestige make. The latest version is set to build on the success of the first generation model. With a new exterior design, the Bentley design DNA is now prevalent across the entire model range, giving Bentley the freshest and most modern product family of any luxury car company. Introducing the very latest onboard technology and an even more cosseting cabin, the new model is significantly revised both inside and out. Combining the abilities of a performance grand tourer, a luxury limousine, a spacious family car and an off-roader, the new Bentayga follows its predecessor’s mantle of having the broadest brief of any car on sale today. The car that established the luxury SUV sector has been enhanced to create the ultimate in power, luxury and usability.

Designed, engineered and handcrafted in Germany and Crewe, England, the extraordinary new Bentayga builds further on the outstanding success of its predecessor. I have had the pleasure of visiting the Bentley production facility in Crewe and I witnessed first hand the sheer craftsmanship that goes into every model produced. Key to the new Bentayga is its strikingly dynamic look, which draws inspiration from the marque’s new design language, introduced by the third-generation Continental GT and all-new Flying Spur. Together, the three cars form a new family that are more visually connected than ever before. The bold styling offers an imposing road presence, with every panel at the front of the car redesigned for a cleaner, modern look. The larger, assertive matrix grille is now more upright, while new, LED matrix headlamp technology includes the signature Bentley design inspired by cut crystal glassware. A more aggressive front bumper emphasises the performance characteristics of the car. Heated, wet-arm windscreen wipers are introduced for the first time, with 22 washer jets in each arm. At the rear, the new Bentayga has undergone a major transformation, with a total redesign of the rear surfaces including a new full-width tailgate with new encapsulated lamps, while the licence plate has been moved down into the bumper for a cleaner appearance. Wide, split tailpipes leave no doubt that this is a powerful performance car. A 20mm increase to the rear track width brings dynamic benefit and repositions the wheels in their arches to improve the car’s stance. The wheels themselves are a new design, unique to this Bentley.

The interior has been significantly revised in the latest model; among the major changes are a new centre fascia and steering wheel, new door trims and all-new seats, now available with ventilation in the rear of the five-seat cabin option. Passengers in the rear also enjoy significantly more space, with legroom increased by up to 100 mm depending on configuration. A next generation infotainment system is integrated seamlessly into the handcrafted, Bentley ‘wing ’dashboard design and features a 10.9-inch display screen with edge-to-edge graphics. The all-new digital display includes super high-resolution and dynamic graphics which are configurable to suit driver preferences. The latest hardware and software bring all-new navigation with satellite maps, online search and other features. Wireless Apple CarPlay is standard for the first time, alongside the existing wired system, along with Android Auto. Rear seat occupants benefit from the introduction of a new, larger touchscreen remote control tablet, similar to that introduced in the all-new Flying Spur. Connectivity has been significantly improved, with USB-C data ports and a wireless phone charger now standard. There is an embedded SIM, as with the latest Continental GT models, meaning My Bentley connected car features no longer require customers to provide their own data connection. My Bentley in-car and remote services are a continually developing range of services available to customers through a dedicated app, available both on Apple iOS and Android mobile platforms.

The new model will initially be launched in V8 guise offering supercar performance balanced with everyday usability, with the plug-in Hybrid and W12-powered Speed versions to follow later this year. The V8’s four litre, twin-turbocharged petrol engine develops an impressive 542bhp (550 PS) and 568 lb.ft (770 Nm) of torque. The original Bentayga defined a new sector when it was introduced in November 2015. It set the benchmark as the world’s first true luxury SUV and offered customers a Grand Touring experience that was unrestricted by terrain. At launch, the Bentayga was the fastest, most powerful and most exclusive SUV in the world. Several other top end marques have taken the luxury SUV route, Rolls Royce, Lamborghini and even a Ferrari is on the horizon. Certainly with Alfa Romeo the arrival of the Levante boosted sales in no small way. Clearly the SUV continues to be the choice of drivers right the way through the motoring spectrum. I wonder how W.O. Bentley, who founded the company way back in 1919, would think of the Bentayga.

Ian Lynas