If your two-car garage already has a Bentley Continental GT coupe or convertible nestled into one of the bays, the other could be filled by a matching Bentayga SUV. Why? For one thing, the Bentayga makes for a more practical daily driver and can seat a family. It can also be equipped with an optional plug-in-hybrid powertrain for those necessary commutes when gas prices are peaking. The Bentayga can also be had with a twin-turbo V-8 or a mighty twin-turbo W-12. The Bentayga’s luxury experience is much the same as you’ll get in the Conti or the Flying Spur sedan, with rich leathers, tasteful wood and metal trim, and plenty of tech features throughout its cabin. Of course, if you’re not particularly brand loyal, this six-figure segment of ultra-luxe SUVs also includes the Mercedes-Maybach GLS600 and the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, both of which would also make fine sidekicks to a luxury grand touring car.
What’s New for 2023?
An extended-wheelbase body style has been added to the Bentayga lineup for 2023. The longer body allows for more space in the rear seat so passengers can stretch out and relax. This model comes with a rear-wheel steering system which helps shrink the SUV’s turning radius. It also features Bentley’s new Diamond Illumination ambient lighting system which shines lights through hand-stitched leather panels. The rear seats can recline up to 40 degrees and there’s a footrest that extends from the back of the front passenger seat so that the right rear rider can kick their feet up. The rear seats can be had with massaging functions and your choice of a full-length center console or a middle seat.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
We like the V-8 model best. Even though the Speed’s powerful W-12 engine is silky smooth and effortlessly powerful, its price premium over the V-8 is substantial. We’d suggest sticking with the eight-cylinder model and adding some niceties to it, such as the adaptive suspension, the rear-seat entertainment system, and the 20-speaker Naim stereo. And choosing the Touring Specification package will give you a suite of driver-assistance features. If you’re looking to maximize luxury for your rear-seat passengers, go with the extended wheelbase model which provides additional legroom and more rear-seat amenities.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Bentley offers a variety of powertrains for the Bentayga. On the low end, you have a 443-hp hybrid arrangement with a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 and an electric motor. Then there’s the 542-hp twin-turbo V-8 engine. We haven’t driven the former, but we can tell you that the latter emits a hearty burble on its way to 60 mph, which it does in just 3.3 seconds. The Bentayga Speed ups the ante with a 626-hp W-12. Back in 2017, when the Speed made 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
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 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, the 12-cylinder Bentayga surprised us with a 23-mpg result. For more information about the Bentayga’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
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. Buyers can opt for front and rear buckets, seating four, or they can select a three-across second-row bench and a pop-up two-seat third row to seat seven. 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. The new long-wheelbase model offers more legroom and additional amenities, so that’s the one to buy if you’ll be chauffeured. Several different colors of leather upholstery are available, as are two different mother-of-pearl-faced Breitling dash clocks, a bottle cooler for rear-seat passengers, 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 a 10.9-inch infotainment screen with navigation and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. The optional entertainment system consists of two 10.2-inch displays mounted to the front-seat headrests. With it, rear-seat passengers can browse the web, interact with the Bentayga’s infotainment system, or play movies. A 12-speaker stereo is standard, but you can opt for Naim’s 20-speaker premium audio system.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
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 Cadillac Escalade will find many of these features come standard. For more information about the Bentayga’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. 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 mileage expiration. Also, the first 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
2021 Bentley Bentayga V-8
front-engine, all-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door wagon
PRICE AS TESTED
$226,985 (base price: $179,725)
twin-turbocharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection
244 in3, 3996 cm3
542 hp @ 6000 rpm
568 lb-ft @ 1960 rpm
Suspension (F/R): multilink/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 15.7-in vented disc/15.0-in vented disc
Tires: Pirelli P Zero, 285/40R-22 (110Y) B
Wheelbase: 117.9 in
Length: 201.8 in
Width: 78.7 in
Height: 68.6 in
Passenger volume: 109 ft3
Cargo volume: 17 ft3
Curb weight: 5470 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 3.3 sec
100 mph: 8.9 sec
130 mph: 16.1 sec
150 mph: 23.7 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 4.6 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 2.7 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 3.2 sec
1/4 mile: 11.9 sec @ 114 mph
Top speed (mfr’s claim): 180 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 161 ft
Braking, 100–0 mph: 324 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.87 g
Standing-start accel times omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 24 mpg
Highway range: 540 miles
EPA FUEL ECONOMY (C/D EST)
Combined/city/highway: 17/14/23 mpg
More Features and Specs