2018 Bentley Bentayga

2018 Bentley Bentayga Review

Plush, powerful and proficient, the Bentley Bentayga is a luxury SUV with a style all its own.
author
by Travis Langness
Edmunds Editor

Edmunds expert review

The 2018 Bentley Bentayga clearly leads the ultra-luxury SUV field. Its 6.0-liter, twin-turbo W12 makes it astonishingly fast, its sophisticated suspension makes it impressively comfortable, and its cabin is constructed with some of the finest materials available on the planet.

The aforementioned engine, the Bentayga's 6.0L W12, puts out 600 horsepower and 663 pound-feet of torque, catapulting it from 0-60 mph in just 4 seconds. That's an impressive number by sports car standards, but even more so when you consider the Bentayga's 5,400-pound curb weight. Helping control that weight through the corners is an air ride suspension. Bentley also offers an option called Dynamic Ride that allows for increased capability, both on the road and off. It adeptly uses electric motors built into the suspension to reduce body roll and increase traction.

Inside, there's no mistaking the Bentayga for anything other than a Bentley. Even so-called base trim levels use the practically opulent leathers, woods and metals. From there, personalizing your Bentayga can get as granular as the commission of owner-specific paint colors, lambswool carpet, and even veneered picnic tables to match your car. And, as if to prove a point, just four Bentaygas a year are available with a unique Breitling Tourbillon clock that costs $168,000. An entire Porsche Cayenne Turbo S would cost less.

Without doubt, the Bentayga is one of the most outrageous SUVs ever built, and only those with deep pockets will get the chance to own one. Its considerable capabilities, however, make it much more than just an expensive timepiece.



What's new for 2018

Three new trim levels have been added to the Bentayga lineup. Known as the Activity Edition, the Signature and the Black Edition, they essentially package together previously available options.

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Let's be honest. If you're going to buy a 2018 Bentley Bentayga, you're going to get whichever one you want the most. Whichever Bentayga matches your watch collection best or clashes with your supercar least, that's the one you'll choose. But, we'll dream for a minute and select our ideal Bentayga, too: the Signature. The Signature is a new trim level for 2018 that adds equipment such as parking aids, additional off-road driving modes, and Bentley's sophisticated Dynamic Ride system. From there, you can custom-build your Bentayga with pretty much any aesthetic detail you desire.



Trim levels & features

The 2018 Bentley Bentayga is offered in five different trim levels: the base Onyx Edition, Activity Edition, the Signature, the Black Edition and the range-topping Mulliner. Bentley offers quite a few packages, which the automaker calls "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 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 amount 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.

The only engine available for the Bentayga is a turbocharged 6.0-liter 12-cylinder (600 horsepower, 663 lb-ft of torque). It's connected to an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

Most of the Bentayga's trim levels are similar in that they're all highly customizable, but they do have some basic differences. The regular Onyx Edition Bentayga gets 21-inch wheels, LED headlights, an air suspension with adjustable ride height and performance settings, split-folding rear seats with heating, three-zone climate control and separate controls for the rear seat, a panoramic sunroof, an 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, and Wi-Fi connectivity. It should go without saying that leather upholstery and wood veneers also come standard.

In addition to the standard equipment, the Activity Edition gets roof rails, power-operated rear sunshades and a power liftgate. The Signature Bentayga builds on the standard Onyx equipment with the Mulliner Driving Specification package, which offers quilted leather panels on the seats and drilled sport pedals; the City Specification, which adds automatic parking assistance, a top-view camera, traffic sign recognition, collision detection with automatic braking, and rear cross-traffic alert; and the All Terrain Specification, which brings four off-road driving modes, underbody protection, and auto-dimming door mirrors. You also get Bentley's Dynamic Ride system, which uses electric motors built into the anti-roll bars to improve ride, handling and traction in all situations.

The Bentayga is available with quite a few more extras. Bentley offers everything from extra sun visors and power sunshades to special ashtrays and cigar lighters for the front and rear seats. Or perhaps you'd like a leather bench that folds out of the trunk to provide outdoor event seating. There are also 20-, 21- and 22-inch wheels, 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 18-speaker Naim system. A rear-seat entertainment package adds two 10.2-inch touchscreen tables that mount to 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 veneers. The Touring Specification package is optional and only available on the Signature and the Mulliner. It adds adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, a head-up display, and night-vision system with a display in the gauge cluster.



Trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our first drive of the Bentley Mulsanne (turbo 6.0L W12 | 8-speed automatic | AWD).

Driving

The Bentayga exceeds 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 brake discs impress 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

The Bentayga stays relatively flat and composed when you're going around turns thanks to an active suspension system. This is a big and heavy SUV, but it doesn't always feel like one.

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.

Off-road

The Bentayga can handle some light off-roading. It easily tackles diverse terrain, steep inclines and descents, and it displays impressive wheel articulation.

Comfort

The ride quality of the Bentayga — thanks to its air ride suspension — is the focal point. Compared to the supreme luxury found in some of Bentley's other offerings, however, the Bentayga comes up a little short.

Seat comfort

Four-seat models ensure comfort for all passengers, with ample lateral support, numerous adjustments, ventilation and massage functions. The seat padding, however, is on the firm side. 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 within 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 the Bentayga's 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.