2017 Bentley Bentayga

2017 Bentley Bentayga SUV Review

What's a Bentayga? Oh, only the most luxurious and most expensive SUV on the road.
author
by Will Kaufman
Edmunds Editor

Bentley's Bentayga is the first of a generation of super-luxury SUVs to hit the market, with vehicles such as the Rolls-Royce Cullinan and Lamborghini Urus following soon. Bentley has capitalized on this lead, apparently selling out its entire first year of global production.

Everything about the Bentayga is mega, from the price to the performance. With a 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 under the hood, the Bentayga promises a sprint to 60 mph in 4 seconds, making it one of the quickest production SUVs around. Advanced suspension components work to keep this hefty SUV flat when cornering yet comfortable on the highway. There's even some off-road capability thrown in for good measure.

The interior receives the full Bentley treatment, with high-quality handcrafted leather and wood in abundance. Customization options are as extensive as for any other Bentley, with hundreds of factory options and a bespoke program for those looking for the ultimate in personalization. There's even a $160,000 Breitling Tourbillon dashboard clock to be had, although only a few a year are produced, so you'll need to get your order in early.

Right now, the Bentayga's only competition is the top-level trims of vehicles with much lower starting prices. For example, a top-of-the-line Land Rover Range Rover SV Autobiography LWB starts below the cost of an entry-level Bentayga. The difference between what these vehicles offer is qualitative more than quantitative. The Land Rover has similar luxuries, features and capabilities on paper, but the Bentayga benefits from Bentley's extensive customization options and painstaking craftsmanship.



what's new

The Bentley Bentayga is an entirely new model for 2017.

we recommend

Do you really need our shopping advice on a Bentayga? In case you can't decide, we'd go for the base model. The Bentayga Mulliner comes standard with basically every extra, but we'd prefer the greater customization possibility that the regular Bentayga offers. Some optional packages are absolutely necessary as far as we're concerned. The City and Touring Specifications both add indispensable equipment such as adaptive cruise control and a top-view camera. Unless you need it, give the seven-seat configuration a pass; it sacrifices rear-passenger comfort compared to the four-seat arrangements.

trim levels & features

The 2017 Bentley Bentayga is offered in two standard trims: The regular Bentayga and the Bentayga Mulliner. For the vehicle's first year on the market, the Bentayga Onyx Edition is also available with a handful of unique options. Bentley offers quite a few packages, or Specifications, for the Bentayga that add on some useful features. And, as with every car Bentley makes, the company will be happy to customize the Bentayga however much you can imagine and afford.

The only engine available for the Bentayga is a turbocharged 6.0-liter 12-cylinder, which sends 600 horsepower to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Beyond that, the regular Bentayga gets air suspension with adjustable ride height and performance settings, split-folding heated rear seats, three-zone climate control and separate controls for the rear seat, LED head- and taillights, a panoramic sunroof, power liftgate, an 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, and Wi-Fi connectivity. It should go without saying that leather upholstery and wood veneers also come standard.

The Mulliner Driving Specification also comes standard, which adds quilted leather panels to the seats, drilled sport pedals and a handful of other interior cues. The Bentayga also gets Bentley's trick Bentley Dynamic Ride, which uses electric motors built into the anti-roll bars to improve ride, handling and traction in all situations.

The Bentayga can be had in three seating configurations. The rear seat comes standard as a traditional three-seat bench with a fold-down center armrest. Four Seat Comfort Specification offers two rear thrones and replaces the center seat with a console that has additional storage and USB ports. The two rear seats get nearly the same number of power-adjustment options as the front seats, as well as winged headrests, ventilation and massage. Finally, the Seven Seat Specification adds a third row of seating and replaces the main rear bench with a more modest set of split-folding seats.

Bentley's option packages add some useful equipment. The City Specification adds automatic parking assistance, a top-view camera, traffic sign recognition, collision detection with automatic braking, and rear cross-traffic alert. Touring Specification adds adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, a head-up display, and night-vision system with a display in the gauge cluster. Drivers looking to spend time off-road will want the All Terrain Specification, which adds four off-road driving modes, underbody protection and a forward camera to help watch for obstacles.

There are quite a few more extras for the Bentayga. Bentley offers everything from extra sun visors and power sunshades, to special ashtrays and cigar lighters for the front and rear seats, to a leather bench that folds out of the trunk to provide outdoor event seating. There's also mood lighting, privacy glass, a valet key, lambswool rugs and a retractable tow bar.

Buyers looking for more entertainment technology have a choice of two upgraded stereo systems: a 12-speaker system or a Naim 21-speaker system. A rear-seat entertainment package adds two 10.2-inch touchscreen tables that mount on the front seatbacks and allow the user to tap into the SUV's infotainment system and watch digital TV.

The Bentayga Mulliner comes with the majority of these packages and features as standard equipment and gets special 22-inch wheels, roof rails, a chrome radiator grille, and unique interior and exterior colors and veneer. The Onyx Edition, on the other hand, comes as a more basic setup, without the Mulliner package or Dynamic Ride system, but with its own set of colors and appearance tweaks. It can also be upgraded with a special Breitling dashboard clock with a mother-of-pearl dial.

driving

The Bentayga exceeded our expectations thanks to unbelievable acceleration coupled with impressive handling that doesn't compromise the ultra-luxury ride quality.

acceleration

Stomp on the pedal and you'd swear that a pair of solid rocket boosters just ignited, were it not for the raspy growl from the engine and exhaust. This rush would be expected of a much smaller performance car, certainly not an SUV.

braking

The Bentayga's massive iron brake discs impressed us with stopping power that has you checking the mirror for a drag chute. The brake pedal is softer than we prefer, but it's effective nonetheless.

handling

Body roll is minimal thanks to an active suspension system that allows the big SUV to corner flat and composed.

drivability

Driven with restraint, the Bentayga gathers speed with the effortless grace of a modern skyscraper's express elevator. It's nearly silent as the power builds, and gear changes are seldom felt.

comfort

The ride quality of the Bentayga — thanks to its air ride suspension — is the focal point here. Compared to the supreme luxury to be found in some of Bentley's other offerings, there are a few niggles with other elements in the car.

seat comfort

Four-seat models ensure comfort for all passengers, with ample lateral support, numerous adjustments, ventilation and massage functions. Seat padding is on the firm side, however. The five-passenger model's rear bench is comparatively flat; it lacks power adjustments but is still comfortable.

ride comfort

The Bentayga's air ride suspension glides over imperfect pavement no matter which drive mode is selected, but you can still feel just enough of the road to remain connected.

noise & vibration

On the highway, the cabin is pleasantly devoid of road and wind noise.

climate control

We appreciate the easy-to-use, dedicated climate controls, which are placed in easy reach just below the central touchscreen. Some Bentleys offer dual-zone climate control for the rear passengers, so some buyers might be disappointed with the Bentayga's three-zone system.

interior

For a family taxi, you can do better. Other three-row SUVs are better at taking on multiple passengers. But no other SUV can compare to the Bentayga for overall regality.

ease of use

The recent trend of mounting displays atop the dash makes the Bentayga's screen placement seem out of date since it requires a momentary glance away from the road to operate. A multifunction display between the gauges and an optional head-up display reduce the main screen's distraction potential.

roominess

The front seats have plenty of room, but rear legroom is merely adequate. The Bentley's relatively flat roofline means headroom isn't a problem.

visibility

Outward visibility is compromised by thick roof pillars, particularly in tight left turns and when backing into a parking space. Thankfully, the standard surround-view camera and automated parallel and perpendicular parking assist eliminate the guesswork when in reverse.

quality

Nearly every surface inside the Bentayga is covered in leather that is worthy of a Prada or Hermès badge. Fitted between the hides are flawless walnut veneers framed by tasteful silver trim, and finely wrought metal knobs and dials. As a result, the buttons that are plastic look comparatively cheap.

utility

Cargo space is less than in some competitors and can't be expanded when equipped with the four-seat layout. That said, with the towing potential taken into account, the Bentayga might be the most utilitarian Bentley.

technology

For the price, the Bentayga starts with very little standard tech. Once optional upgrades are taken into account, the Bentayga can be had with a host of driver aids and excellent infotainment features.

audio & navigation

The optional Naim system delivers exceptional audio quality, taking advantage of the Bentayga's quiet cabin. The alternate displays mean that navigation directions are easy to see without looking away from the road.

smartphone integration

Apple CarPlay is available, but the Bentayga lacks Android Auto integration. Bentley does offer several smartphone apps, including one that allows Apple Watch owners to remotely control climate, seat functions and other functions.

driver aids

The Bentayga can be had with all the modern driver aids that buyers expect, including adaptive cruise control and parking assist. It's a shame that almost none of these features are standard equipment.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.