Bentley Bentayga review

Category: Luxury SUV

The Bentayga is one of the most complete and compelling luxury SUVs on sale today

Bentley Bentayga front cornering
  • Bentley Bentayga front cornering
  • Bentley Bentayga rear cornering
  • Bentley Bentayga dashboard
  • Bentley Bentayga boot
  • Bentley Bentayga infotainment touchscreen
  • Bentley Bentayga left driving
  • Bentley Bentayga front cornering
  • Bentley Bentayga rear cornering
  • Bentley Bentayga front left static
  • Bentley Bentayga grille detail
  • Bentley Bentayga headlights detail
  • Bentley Bentayga alloy wheel detail
  • Bentley Bentayga rear roof detail
  • Bentley Bentayga rear lights detail
  • Bentley Bentayga front seats
  • Bentley Bentayga back seats
  • Bentley Bentayga back seat
  • Bentley Bentayga dashboard clock
  • Bentley Bentayga air-con controls
  • Bentley Bentayga gearstick
  • Bentley Bentayga door detail
  • Bentley Bentayga seat controls
  • Bentley Bentayga rear control screen
  • Bentley Bentayga front cornering
  • Bentley Bentayga rear cornering
  • Bentley Bentayga dashboard
  • Bentley Bentayga boot
  • Bentley Bentayga infotainment touchscreen
  • Bentley Bentayga left driving
  • Bentley Bentayga front cornering
  • Bentley Bentayga rear cornering
  • Bentley Bentayga front left static
  • Bentley Bentayga grille detail
  • Bentley Bentayga headlights detail
  • Bentley Bentayga alloy wheel detail
  • Bentley Bentayga rear roof detail
  • Bentley Bentayga rear lights detail
  • Bentley Bentayga front seats
  • Bentley Bentayga back seats
  • Bentley Bentayga back seat
  • Bentley Bentayga dashboard clock
  • Bentley Bentayga air-con controls
  • Bentley Bentayga gearstick
  • Bentley Bentayga door detail
  • Bentley Bentayga seat controls
  • Bentley Bentayga rear control screen
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Introduction

What Car? says...

The arrival of the Bentley Bentayga marked a new direction for the British brand: after decades of renown as a sports and luxury car maker, Bentley had launched its first SUV.

At first, the Bentayga went virtually unchallenged. While there were plenty of modestly priced family SUVs around, it had few rivals in its super-luxurious and super-expensive corner of the car market (where a 4x4 with a few choice options can cost as much as a four-bedroom house).

Now, though, if you're considering a Bentayga you'll probably be looking at the Aston Martin DBX and Roll-Royce Cullinan too, as well as maybe the smaller and sportier Ferrari Purosangue.

There are also a few supremely good rivals that cost tens of thousands of pounds less but still very much count as luxury SUVs – most obviously the Range Rover but also including the Audi Q7 and BMW X7.

So, does the Bentley Bentayga still have what it takes to compete with the best luxury SUVs out there? Read on to find out...

Overview

As a luxury SUV with a great sense of occasion, brilliant refinement and a polished level of comfort, the Bentley Bentayga is hard to overlook. Our preferred V8 S specification stands toe to toe with rival performance-focused SUVs, and represents something of a sweet spot in the luxury SUV class.

  • Beautiful hand-finished interior
  • Effortless performance
  • Impressive infotainment system
  • Gearbox can be laggy around town
  • High running costs
  • Average boot space
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Our Pick

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Bentley Bentayga 4.0 V8 S 5dr Auto review
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Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Strengths

  • +V8 S has a wonderfully mellifluous exhaust note
  • +Effortless performance
  • +Refinement more impressive than sportier rivals'

Weaknesses

  • -Not as sharp in bends as Aston Martin DBX

The Bentley Bentayga's engine range is short and sweet. You can choose between a twin-turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 petrol or a tech-laden V6 plug-in hybrid. (The V8 diesel and the range-topping 6.0-litre W12 have been discontinued.)

If you’re disappointed the flagship engine is "just" a V8, don’t be. For one thing, it sounds fabulous, emitting a pleasingly subtle woofle from its two oval exhaust pipes. It sounds even fruitier if you opt for the Bentayga V8 S, with its bellowing sports exhaust.

Thanks to a whopping 542bhp, you also have plenty of power. Despite this luxury SUV weighing the best part of 2.5 tonnes in V8 guise, it will sprint from 0-62mph in just 4.5 seconds, matching the Aston Martin DBX. The long-wheelbase version – the Bentayga Extended Wheelbase (EWB) – is heavier as well as longer, but only 0.1 seconds slower from 0-62mph.

Of course, more performance-focused SUVs such as the Lamborghini Urus and Porsche Cayenne Turbo S are quicker still, but the V8 Bentayga never feels anything less than effortless in the way it demolishes the road ahead of you.

A big part of that is down to the silky-smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox. When you push on, it always seems to be in the right gear at the right time, rendering the column-mounted paddles redundant.

That said, we should also point out that it can be a little hesitant around town – a problem that also afflicts the Audi SQ8 (which has the same ZF-made gearbox). If you’re looking for the ultimate smooth chauffeur-driven vehicle, we’d advise you to take a look at the Rolls-Royce Cullinan instead.

Bentley Bentayga image
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The plug-in hybrid (PHEV) is called the Bentayga Hybrid and uses a smaller 3.0-litre V6 paired with an electric motor to produce a combined output of 443bhp. There’s still plenty of grunt available, with a 0-62mph time of 5.5 seconds, and while performance is far more sedate when it's running on electric power alone, you can still glide in near silence to motorway speeds.

The Bentayga’s weighty steering is precise and more reassuring when turning in to a corner than the quick, light set-up of the Range Rover. The Bentayga EWB gains a four-wheel steering system that reduces the turning circle to improve low-speed manoeuvrability.

Body lean is neatly kept in check for such a big SUV. That said, if you value a truly engaging driving experience, we’d recommend the V8 S. It comes with tweaked suspension, a more dynamic electronic stability control (ESC) set-up and a revised torque-vectoring system. They add up to deliver a surprisingly entertaining package.

The stiffer 48-volt anti-roll bars, for example, do a stellar job of propping up the body in quick bends, while the ESC tweaks allows the car to flow more naturally down a technical stretch of road. Factor in steering with a more natural weighting than the standard car's and we reckon this is the first Bentayga that can confidently stand toe to toe with performance-focused rivals such as the DBX and Urus without having to make excuses.

The best bit about the V8 S package is that the tweaked suspension settings haven’t compromised the Bentayga’s wonderful pliancy. In Comfort mode, the ride is relatively sumptuous, and you only feel occasional disturbances over sharp-edged bumps. Even if you ramp it up to Sport mode, it never becomes too firm, which can’t be said of the DBX. 

Refinement is more impressive than in those sportier rivals too, with very few vibrations sent into the interior. At a cruise, the engines fall silent, while wind noise is kept to a minimum, despite the car’s bluff shape.

Road noise is noticeable on optional 22in wheels (standard on V8 S models), while the standard 21in wheels are appreciably quieter. You'll hardly hear the difference between smooth tarmac and rougher concrete at motorway speeds, but over larger bumps you occasionally experience a thunk from the air suspension.

Bentley Bentayga rear cornering

Interior

The interior layout, fit and finish

Strengths

  • +Decent visibility
  • +Optional Naim sound system is ridiculously good
  • +Tremendous feeling of quality

Weaknesses

  • -You’ll want to add the Touring Spec option
  • -Touchscreen icons could be bigger
  • -Indicator stalks give away VW Group roots

Inside the Bentley Bentayga, the driver is treated to a suitably luxurious driving position. The seats adjust in a wide range of directions and the steering column tilts and extends to match.

The front seats themselves are beautifully designed. There’s just enough side bolstering to hold you tight during quick cornering and plenty of lumbar support. In Comfort Specification they come with a massage function.

As a car to while away the hours in, it doesn’t get much better than this. It’s thoughtfully designed too. The Bentayga is easy to see out of for such a big car, and Bentley gives you front and rear parking sensors plus a rear-view camera (with a bird’s eye view) as standard. Full LED headlamps come as standard, while an optional night vision camera helps bolster visibility and displays an image on the driver’s digital instrument panel.

The interior looks and feels appropriately luxurious, with a high level of attention to detail, including a winged centre air vent inspired by the Bentley Bacalar limited edition grand tourer and incorporating an analogue clock.

The Bentayga also has digital dials that are great at putting the most relevant information in front of the driver (the sat-nav map or music information, for example). The Touring Specification option pack adds a head-up display, which projects info such as speed, street names and distance to your destination on to the windscreen. 

At 10.9in, the infotainment screen is larger than that of the Aston Martin DBX and comes loaded with kit. A DAB radio, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, real-time navigation and an embedded SIM all come as standard.

Although the font displayed could be a little bigger, the touchscreen itself has pin-sharp graphics, is responsive to commands and has menus that are intuitive and easy to use. We also love the way it can be controlled using the screen itself or with a number of hard keys located beneath it – something not possible in the touchscreen-based Audi Q7

As you might expect, the materials are impressive – from the rich leather and wood veneer to the aluminium air vents with their organ-stop adjusters. There's a tremendous feeling of quality, especially in the styling on the chrome bezels and the exquisite stitching on the dashboard and seats. S models get Alcantara inserts on the steering wheel, seats and gear lever.

There are a few clues inside that give away the Bentayga's VW Group roots, such as the indicator stalks, steering-wheel controls and climate control dials, and the interior quality of the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is even more plush.

Bentley Bentayga dashboard

Passenger & boot space

How it copes with people and clutter

Strengths

  • +Lots of passenger space front and rear
  • +Long-wheelbase version available
  • +Wonderfully supportive seats

Weaknesses

  • -Rivals offer even more boot space

The front of the Bentley Bentayga provides all the space two tall adults could need, while cocooning the driver with a high centre console that flows into the dashboard.

There are lots of storage spaces dotted around the interior and a useful tray below the front centre console with a wireless phone-charger. There are four USB type-C sockets, two in the front, two in the rear and the long-wheelbase Bentayga EWB gets an extra wireless phone-charging tray for rear-seat passengers.

As standard, the Bentayga comes with a five-seat layout, but you can also specify a four-seat layout or seven seats in three rows. The four-seat layout has two throne-like seats in the back separated by a wide centre console with built-in storage cabinets. The EWB also offers a 4+1 layout, which still gives you two full-sized rear seats, but with a long central armrest that folds away to reveal a narrow pew beneath for emergencies.

There’s plenty of rear leg room even if you’re sitting behind a six-footer, and more head room than in the Lamborghini Urus. We’ve yet to test out the seven-seater version with its rear two fold-down seats. Those wanting to fully stretch out (or are very tall) should look at the EWB and its additional 180mm of rear leg room.

The 484 litres of boot space you get in five-seat versions of both the regular and EWB models is generous, but it’s beaten by the Aston Martin DBX (632 litres) and Rolls-Royce Cullinan (600 litres). The Hybrid loses out by a small amount (at 479 litres) but if you opt for the four-seat configuration, it drops to 392 litres.

The optional 4+1 layout on the EWB offers the least amount of space, with 380 litres. The Bentayga load bay is flat and long, and big enough for several large suitcases. A powered tailgate comes as standard, and can be opened with a foot-waving gesture beneath the rear bumper.

You have to open your wallet for optional boot separators to keep luggage in place. In five-seat configuration, the rear seats split 40/20/40 as standard and fold down to expand the boot.

Overall, the Bentayga is a decently spacious and practical luxury SUV but so are a number of its rivals, not least the vast BMW X7.

Bentley Bentayga boot

Buying & owning

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Strengths

  • +Decent standard specification
  • +Virtually limitless customisation options

Weaknesses

  • -Range Rover LWB has more engine options
  • -Luxury SUVs tend to depreciate quickly

It’s no surprise that Bentley’s self-proclaimed "ultimate SUV" costs a lot to buy, but then so do its rivals. The Bentayga is actually based on the Audi Q7 but buying a Bentley also brings with it a number of personalisation options, allowing you to create your own bespoke blank-cheque specification. 

That said, the standard-spec car is hardly lacking in kit. The list includes (but is not limited to): auto wipers, a heated steering wheel, a panoramic roof, four-zone climate control and the 10.9in infotainment system. Azure trim introduces 22in alloys, ambient lighting and sports pedals. The V8 S adds a sports exhaust and black exterior highlights.

Of course, there’s also a long and expensive options list to peruse, including a box for the truly mesmerising 1,780W Naim audio system – a must for audiophiles.

Unsurprisingly, the longer Bentayga EWB will cost more, spec-for-spec. A Range Rover LWB is available for a lower list price with a greater range of engine options and the ability to have two small rear seats in the boot. The EWB model range isn’t quite as versatile in this regard.

In terms of running costs, the 4.0-litre V8 engine has an official fuel economy figure of a little more than 21mpg. In real-world driving, we’ve seen it go as high as 25mpg on a motorway cruise, before dropping quickly into the teens away from it. CO2 emissions are on the high side, placing it in the top 37% bracket for company car users paying BIK tax

The Hybrid version's running costs are more palatable, with an official CO2 output of just over 80g/km and an official fuel economy figure of more than 80mpg. You’ll have to charge up the 18.0kWh battery at every opportunity to get anywhere near that though.

We managed to achieve more than 35mpg on a long journey with a fully-charged battery, dropping to the high-20s when it had depleted. As a result, the Hybrid makes the most sense for those who mostly cover short journeys or company car users.

Compared with other PHEV luxury SUVs, the Bentayga Hybrid's 28-mile official electric-only range is not that impressive. The significantly cheaper BMW X5 xDrive45e has an official range of 54 miles while the Range Rover PHEV officially covers around 70 miles.

The Bentayga is predicted to experience depreciation at a similar rate to the Aston Martin DBX and Lamborghini Urus. The Rolls-Royce Cullinan has the strongest residuals in the class because it’s produced in far smaller numbers.

Euro NCAP hasn’t safety tested the Bentayga for safety, but the closely related Audi Q7 was awarded the full five stars.

Bentley gives you plenty of safety kit to help prevent an accident, including adaptive cruise control, night vision, a forward-collision warning system, lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assistance, rear cross-traffic warning, traffic-sign recognition, blind-spot warning and automatic emergency braking (AEB). There are two Isofix attachments for child seats (one on each of the rear outer seats).


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Bentley Bentayga infotainment touchscreen

FAQs

  • The W12-engined Bentayga has been discontinued but you can still buy the car with a 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine or the tech-laden V6 plug-in hybrid (PHEV).

  • Absolutely. It’s spacious, comfortable and is relaxing to drive. Just make sure you can afford the running costs.

At a glance
New car deals
Target Price from £155,680
Swipe to see used car deals
Nearly new deals
From £174,975
RRP price range £155,680 - £261,430
Number of trims (see all)6
Number of engines (see all)3
Available fuel types (which is best for you?)petrol parallel phev, petrol
MPG range across all versions 21.2 - 94.2
Available doors options 5
Warranty 3 years / No mileage cap
Company car tax at 20% (min/max) £4,043 / £19,139
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £8,086 / £38,277
Available colours