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Car Review

Bentley Bentayga review

£133,100 - £203,080
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Published: 17 Jan 2023
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Driving

What is it like to drive?

The updated car launched with just the one engine – a 542bhp, 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 – but now there’s also a six-cylinder plug-in Bentayga Hybrid if you have a conscience, and a W12-powered Bentayga Speed if you really don’t. There’s also a schportier version of the V8 called the, erm, V8 S. The diesel was axed a few years ago now. The V8 – as used in a load of other VW Group products including the Audi RS6 and Lamborghini Urus – remains the pick of the bunch. This is a behemoth, so saving a little weight in the nose makes a difference, even if it’s less tangible here than in the Continental GT.

The Hybrid has its advantages – namely, the ability to drive on electric power for up to 25 miles – and is worth looking at if you want to run your Bentayga as a company car or regularly drive into towns/cities with low-emissions zones. But it has flaws too. You can read all about the Bentayga Hybrid by clicking on these blue words or reading about our experiences of living with one for a few months.

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Is the Bentayga fun to drive?

The Bentayga remains absurdly neat to drive given its 5m-by-2m size and 2.4-tonne kerb weight. The extra width in its rear track has sharpened up the steering a bit and reduced another ounce of effort from its already relaxed driver. Choose to travel at a sedate pace and it’s so easy-going, the handful of semi-autonomous driver aids feel utterly superfluous.

Up your speed and things don’t get much tougher, unless you’ve turned onto your favourite stretch of backroad and suddenly discovered it feels half as wide as usual. With the help of a deeply clever 48v anti-roll suspension system – as deployed on the quick Audi Q7s the Bentayga bears relation to – its chassis acts like one if not half its size, then maybe two thirds.

It can be genuinely good fun: the way the rear of the car hunkers right down under hard acceleration, or when you aggressively chase the throttle right on the exit of a corner, can be laugh-out-loud hilarious. Perhaps enough to shatter any grumpy petrolhead predispositions about how ‘Premier League training ground’ the Bentayga looks when you first clap eyes on it.

The Hybrid doesn’t feel as resolved, owing to the added weight of the battery and nature of the powertrain, but it’s not meant to be in any way sporty or dynamic. It’s still comfortable, and that’s what really matters.

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How do the brakes cope?

Yes, good point, well made. They’re fine up to a point, but stopping always takes much more apparent effort than going. You’re aware of just how much kinetic energy is not being harnessed.

Does it feel like a proper Bentley?

In truth, if any car is made for the incongruous, profit-embiggening switch to SUVs, it’s a Bentley. Already knowingly hefty – with few sops to lightweighting or litheness in the company’s saloons and coupes – the Bentayga really does just drive like a taller Bentley, and thus ought to be vastly less upsetting to the purists than a Lamborghini Urus or Ferrari’s Purosangue.

And its manners are impeccable when you’re not being an imbecile, its cabin as quiet and cocooned as a Flying Spur’s and that extra bit of visibility it lends you over a saloon yet more calming.

Highlights from the range

the fastest

Bentley Bentayga 4.0 V8 Mulliner Driving Spec 5dr Auto
  • 0-624.5s
  • CO2265.0g/km
  • BHP550
  • MPG24.4
  • Price£165,485

the cheapest

Bentley Bentayga 4.0 V8 5dr Auto
  • 0-624.5s
  • CO2265.0g/km
  • BHP550
  • MPG24.4
  • Price£155,500

the greenest

Bentley Bentayga 4.0 V8 Mulliner Driving Spec 5dr Auto
  • 0-624.5s
  • CO2265.0g/km
  • BHP550
  • MPG24.4
  • Price£165,485

Variants We Have Tested

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