We’ve been waiting for this one, the ultra-luxury SUV by Bentley. It’s one thing when a vehicle defines an all new category, but when it’s a Bentley, you know it’s going to be something special.

The Bentayga embodies everything Bentley, from its remarkable, effortless performance to the sheer opulence of its interior. More than that, the Bentayga is exceptionally useful as an sport utility with it’s truly all terrain performance – we drove it on road, across sand dunes, off road, and on the Chuckwalla Raceway circuit – and no matter the driving conditions, it performed flawlessly.

While it lives up to the expectations of a performance sport utility, and with 600 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque it had better, and yet the cabin is as quiet as Bentley’s Flying Spur and Mulsanne sedans. This Bentayga carves corners with the best premium sport utes and offers unheard of levels of interior finishes. There is no other SUV where you’ll find the highest quality hides, wool, and veneer.

Bentley didn’t forget about the utility part of the equation, either. It’ll tow 3,500 kilograms – and I can’t wait to see a Bentayga pulling a trailer – whether it’s your boat or 4 1/2 Litre Bentley en route to the Concours, this SUV will tow with maximum luxury and style.

For Bentayga, Bentley has engineered the highest levels of driver assistance systems and the most modern driver interfaces ever to be fitted to anything coming from Crewe.

 

Behind the wheel, it’s a remarkable experience and the agility of the Bentayga belies its reported 2,500-kilogram curb weight. As the pilot, you’ve got tremendous confidence because both steering and braking – the driver’s two primary means of feedback – are excellent in both actuation and feel. Again, performance is indeed this Bentley’s strong suit.

For a first drive, driving the Bentley Bentayga over all imaginable terrain in southern California was a remarkable experience and proved this ultra luxury sport utility’s competence in every situation. I’m looking forward to a longer, in depth drive soon because this Bentley is something truly extraordinary.

Bentley’s customers have already recognized that, as well. The first year of Bentayga production, 5,000 units, has already been sold, so if you’re looking a big, bold, brash, and extravagant sport utility, you’re going to have to get in line.

2016 Bentley Bentayga
Base Price: $266,090 (CAD)
As Tested: Well over $300,000
Notable Options: Mulliner Tourbillon by Breitling, ~$234,000; Naim For Bentley sound system, $8,660
Drivetrain: 6.0-litre, twin turbocharged W12, 600 hp, 664 lb-ft, 8-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Also Known As: World’s most expensive watch winder when optioned with the Tourbillon
VVUZZ Recommended: Yes, to Range Rover and Porsche Cayenne Turbo S owners who think their SUVs just aren’t enough

Images courtesy Bentley Motors.

Disclosure: Travel to Palm Springs, accommodations, meals, test vehicles, and an awesome, pre-determined driving route on some of our favourite southern California roads, as well as brilliant sand dune, off road, and race track driving experiences were provided to the writer by Bentley Motors.

Published on Feb 08, 2016