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- Highs Silky-smooth gasoline engines, available hybrid, richly outfitted cabin.
- Lows Styling may not appeal to everyone, hefty price, expensive add-ons.
- Verdict Bentley's ultraluxurious Bentayga SUV proves that even a 100-year-old automaker can capitalize on today's SUV-crazed market without compromising its heritage.
Luxury, power, space, and speed are key traits of the 2020 Bentley Bentayga, ones that make it a highly desirable—if highly expensive—entry into the ultraluxury SUV world. Bentley offers four distinct models, allowing buyers to order exactly as much Bentayga as they want, and all four are impressive machines. Plenty of goodies—such as a panoramic sunroof, touchscreen infotainment system, and automated emergency braking—come standard, making the Bentayga a well-equipped SUV from the get-go, but we imagine buyers will have a hard time resisting some of the extra bits that Bentley offers.
What's New for 2020?
Bentley's SUV carries over with few changes for 2020. A hybrid powertrain consisting of a V-6 engine and an electric motor joins the lineup as the entry-level proposition. The Bentayga can now be had in either a seven-seat three-row configuration or a two-row four-seat setup; the five-seat arrangement is no longer available.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We love the effortless power that the Bentayga Speed's W-12 engine provides, but its price premium over the V-8 is substantial. Perhaps it would be wise to select the eight-cylinder model and add some niceties to it, such as the adaptive suspension system, the rear-seat entertainment system, and the 20-speaker Naim stereo. Choosing the Touring Specification package will give you the Bentayga's suite of driver-assistance features.
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Bentayga is offered with a variety of powertrains. On the low end, you have a 443-hp hybrid arrangement with a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 and an electric motor or a 542-hp twin-turbo V-8 engine. We haven't driven the former, but we can tell you that the V-8 emits a hearty burble on its way to 60 mph, which it does in just 3.8 seconds. The Bentayga Speed ups the ante with a 626-hp W-12 engine. Back in 2017, when the Speed made only 600 ponies, this supersmooth powerhouse delivered a 3.6-second result in our 60-mph test. The W-12's power delivery is creamier than the V-8's, and its performance felt more robust during passing maneuvers. Bentley claims that the Bentayga Speed, with a claimed top speed of 190 mph, is the fastest SUV in the world (although the Lamborghini Urus might have something to say about that). Regardless of what's under the hood, all Bentaygas utilize an eight-speed automatic transmission and come standard with all-wheel drive.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
It should come as no surprise that the Bentayga Hybrid pulls in the best EPA fuel-economy ratings of the range. It also offers up to 18 miles of electric-only driving before the turbocharged V-6 fires up. The V-8-powered model's ratings of 14 mpg city, 23 mpg highway, and 17 mpg combined aren't bad for a large SUV, but the W-12's are. It earns estimates of 12 mpg city, 17 mpg highway, and 14 mpg combined. That said, on our 200-mile highway fuel-economy route, the 12-cylinder Bentayga surprised us with a 23-mpg result.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Filled with rich-smelling leathers, real wood trim, and glitzy metal accents, the Bentayga's cabin stays true to its luxury branding. Bentley allows buyers to customize just about everything. The interior can be configured to seat four people with front and rear bucket seats or seven with a three-across second-row bench and a pop-up two-seat third row. While the rear seat doesn't feel as lavish as that of the Bentayga's key rival—the Rolls-Royce Cullinan—it still offers plenty of space for adult passengers to stretch out. Several different colors of leather upholstery are available, as are a bottle cooler for the rear seat, two different mother-of-pearl-faced Breitling dash clocks, adjustable ambient interior lighting, and even a safe with a biometric lock and fingerprint reader. The Bentayga's cargo area is generous, at least in two-row versions; we were able to fit nine carry-on suitcases back there.
Infotainment and Connectivity
All Bentayga models come standard with an 8.0-inch infotainment screen with navigation and Apple CarPlay. A rear-seat entertainment system is optional and consists of two 10.2-inch displays mounted to the front-seat headrests. With that system, rear-seat passengers can browse the web, interact with the Bentayga's infotainment system, or play movies. A 10-speaker stereo is standard, but you can opt for a 12-speaker arrangement or Naim's 20-speaker premium audio system.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have put the Bentayga through any crash tests, and due to the SUV's price and low sales volume, it's unlikely either agency will. Bentley offers several driver-assistance features, but unfortunately, almost all of them cost extra. Paradoxically, buyers of "lesser" luxury SUVs such as the BMW X7 or the Cadillac Escalade will find more of these features are standard. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Available lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
- Available adaptive cruise control and night vision system
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Like all other Bentley models, the Bentayga comes standard with a three-year warranty that has no expiration cutoff for mileage. The first dealer maintenance visit is free. The Cullinan offers more value here in the form of a four-year warranty package and four whole years of complimentary maintenance.
- Limited warranty covers three years, unlimited miles
- Powertrain warranty covers three years, unlimited miles
- Complimentary maintenance is covered for one year or 10,000 miles
2019 Bentley Bentayga V8
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door hatchback
PRICE AS TESTED
$243,325 (base: $167,725)
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
244 cu in, 3996 cc
542 hp @ 6000 rpm
568 lb-ft @ 1960 rpm
8-speed automatic with manual shifting mode
Suspension (F/R): multilink/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 15.7-in vented disc/15.0-in vented disc
Tires: Pirelli P Zero, 285/40ZR-22 (110Y) B
Wheelbase: 117.9 in
Length: 202.4 in
Width: 78.7 in
Height: 68.6 in
Passenger volume: 109 cu ft
Cargo volume: 17 cu ft
Curb weight: 5438 lb
Zero to 60 mph: 3.6 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 9.0 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 16.1 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 4.7 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 2.6 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 3.3 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 12.1 sec @ 115 mph
Top speed (mfr’s claim): 180 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 168 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad*: 0.91 g
Observed: 16 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 17/14/23 mpg