If you have a car that weighs the best part of 2.5 tonnes but you want it to reach 60mph in 4.0sec and go on to 187mph, you’re going to need a massive engine. A 6.0-litre unit with 12 cylinders and two turbochargers, to be precise.
There’s cylinder deactivation technology fitted as standard, but it still emits a lot of CO2 and promises just 21.6mpg officially (you'll be lucky to get anywhere near that in reality). The W12 engine's towering low-down torque makes it extremely easy to build speed and it cruises with amazing quietness, though.
In reality, the V8 petrol isn’t far behind. In terms of the way it develops its power and delivers it to the ground, there’s almost nothing to criticise. You get a tasty V8 exhaust note, too.
The more frugal option – but hardly an eco choice – is the V8 diesel, which Bentley has borrowed from Audi, where it’s fitted to the SQ7. It’s not as quick, but still reaches 60mph in just 4.6sec and is impressively free from vibration.
Indeed, refinement is impressive, whichever Bentayga you choose, with wind and road noise kept to a minimum, despite the car’s bluff shape and wide tyres.
The Bentayga has four on-road driving modes and four off-road ones for its air suspension and four-wheel drive powertrain. The ride is generally good, with only the occasional disturbance over sharp-edged bumps. It doesn’t matter that much whether you’re in Comfort or Sport (or the default 'Bentley') mode because things never become overly firm.
In addition, active anti-roll bars are fitted. In corners, they quickly stiffen to minimise body roll and keep that large body in check. It works with remarkable effect. Ultimately, while the Bentayga doesn’t have quite the cushioning ride of a Range Rover, it’ll easily out-handle one.