2018 Bentley Bentayga Introduction

The Bentley Bentayga is the first SUV by that carmaker, sharing the structure and wheelbase of the Audi Q7, but with a slightly wider track. It looks all Bentley. Its cabin, excessive in leather and wood, matches the opulence of the Bentley Continental and approaches the ceremony of the Mulsanne.

It has no rivals, although Rolls-Royce and Lamborghini have SUVs in the works. Range Rover, Porsche Cayenne, and Audi Q7 are less expensive.

The Bentayga made its debut in 2016, and in 2017 an uber-extravagant model called the Mulliner was added; it doesn’t change much for 2018, adding only an appearance package with black wheels and more chrome, and another package with a third row. Standard seating is for four, with an uncomfortable hump for a fifth passenger. But you can get it without the hump.

The Bentayga is about power. Under its long hood lives a twin-turbo 12-cylinder engine, not a V12, but rather a W12, like two V6s attached at the hip rather than lined up in a train. It makes 600 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque, using all of it to accelerate from zero to sixty in 4.0 seconds, a stunning time considering the vehicle weighs a humongous 5380 pounds. It’s all-wheel drive, and uses a seamless 8-speed automatic transmission. Its air suspension keeps the ride expectedly smooth, while its active anti-roll bar system keep the cornering amazingly flat.

The starting price of about $200,000 is also humongous and also not surprising. If you think 200 grand is a lot, try 300 for the Mulliner. It takes 130 hours to assemble a Bentayga, six times longer than most cars.

Considering that it weighs more than a big pickup truck and is faster than all but a few sports cars, its EPA fuel mileage of 15 Combined miles per gallon doesn’t sound half bad.

Bentley says that it’s planning a plug-in hybrid version of the Bentayga.

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