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New Bentley SUV, the 2017 Bentayga, Claims Fastest, Most Powerful Title

New Bentley SUV, the 2017 Bentayga, Claims Fastest, Most Powerful Title

By Christian Wardlaw, September 09, 2015

Watch Donald Trump stump, then read Bentley’s press release for its long anticipated SUV, and you almost expect to find long wisps of blond hair trailing up and over the 2017 Bentayga’s hood. Bentley says the new Bentayga is the fastest, most powerful, most luxurious, and most exclusive SUV in the world, delivering “effortless performance…unrestrained by climate or terrain.”

Is humble bragging a problem at Bentley? Umm, not so much.

Elon Musk, who recently tweeted that his company’s new Tesla Model X would accelerate to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds if buyers select the Ludicrous Speed option, might have something to say about Bentley’s claims. While a “mine is faster than yours” battle might be brewing between Bentley and Tesla, one thing is certain: the new Bentayga doesn’t look like Tesla’s egg on wheels.

With no more than a glance, the Bentayga is clearly a Bentley, exuding class, prestige, and privilege. From its four, round LED headlights and matrix-pattern grille to its flared rear haunches, it cannot be mistaken for anything else.

Beneath the Bentayga’s bulging hood resides a twin-turbocharged, 6.0-liter W-12 engine generating 600 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 663 lb.-ft. of torque between 1,250 rpm and 4,500 rpm. Bentley says the Bentayga will accelerate to 60 mph in 4 seconds flat on the way to a 187-mph top speed. Evidently, only that last figure trumps Tesla.

Performance was just one goal of the Bentayga’s engineering team. Believe it or not, fuel efficiency was on the “to do” list, and this SUV employs plenty of lightweight aluminum in its construction. We’re not just talking about wheels ranging up to 22 in. in diameter, either.

An 8-speed automatic transmission is standard, along with 4-wheel drive. Additionally, the W-12 engine is equipped with a Variable Displacement System, turning it into a V-6 under certain driving conditions. Automatic start/stop technology turns the engine off when the Bentayga is idling in front of the clubhouse or in the valet line, and a coasting feature shuts the engine off as the SUV comes to a stop in order to eke every last mile out of every last drop of gasoline.

As a result of these powertrain technologies, Bentley says the new W-12 boasts an 11.9% efficiency improvement compared with the engine used in the Flying Spur sedan, a model rated by the EPA to get 15 mpg in combined driving. Not good enough for you? A diesel engine option is planned, and a plug-in hybrid model will also join the Bentayga lineup after the SUV’s launch.

Four people enjoy the Bentayga’s handcrafted interior, lined with leather, wood, and metal, and bathed in natural light from a full-length panoramic glass roof. Contrast stitching, diamond quilting, and ventilated front and rear seats with massagers are meant to ensure that the journey is as restful as the destination. Bentley says it will produce a 7-passenger version of the Bentayga, but declined to offer timing for that model’s arrival.

As is expected of any car wearing a luxury nameplate, the Bentayga provides a full suite of safety, convenience, and infotainment technologies. For example, a predictive cruise control system uses GPS to adapt to corners, city limit boundaries, and speed limit changes, and the infotainment system is programmed to support 30 different languages. A rear-seat entertainment system consists of removable tablet computers equipped with Wi-Fi connectivity.

While the touch-screen infotainment display is small at just 8 in., the optional Naim for Bentley premium sound system delivers big sound. With 1,950 watts of power and 18 speakers, it transforms the Bentayga into a concert hall on wheels.

Buy a Bentayga only to discover that yours is identical to your neighbor’s and you’ll have no one but yourself to blame. Spend freely on this depreciating asset and Bentley supplies 90 different paint colors, 15 carpeting options, 15 leather colors, and seven styles of veneer. A variety of wheel designs are also available, ranging from 20 in. to 22 in. in diameter, as well as a full range of lifestyle accessories.

Bentley will also send your Bentayga to Mulliner in order to tailor the SUV to specific customer requirements. One of the exclusive upgrades is a Mulliner Tourbillon by Breitling mechanical clock machined in gold and equipped with diamond indexes.

You could also upgrade to the Mulliner Hamper Set, which includes a refrigerator, fine china, crystal, and dry goods storage. Sections of the hamper can even be removed and used as chairs for those times when you decide to squat on David Geffen’s section of Malibu beach to enjoy a sunset and a bottle of 2009 Chateau Lafite Rothschild Bordeaux.

The 2017 Bentley Bentayga debuts at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, and deliveries begin in early 2016. Mulliner, however, is unlikely to affix a flowing mane to the Bentayga’s grille, no matter how much money you have to spend.

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