Cars > Peek

Bentley’s Bentayga V8 is a sporty palace on wheels

Next to it, your midsize SUV is a shanty in the swamp

Life is good. Those in Fortuners and Montero Sports can only drool while you cruise by. PHOTO FROM BENTLEY

In 2016, Bentley introduced an SUV for people who thought that a Range Rover was too common and a Porsche Cayenne too uncomfortable. A car for individuals who liked to eat food with fancy-sounding French names, washed down with European mineral water or Italian wine, while talking about their latest skiing holiday in Aspen or diving excursion to the Bahamas. Its name a blend of the words Bentley and Taiga, the world’s largest boreal forest, the Bentayga offers ultra-rich car buyers a way to clearly differentiate themselves from the great unwashed of the motoring world. Now, the British luxury carmaker has launched a new, slightly sportier version of this chalet on wheels.

Hiding inside is a 4.0-liter, twin-turbo V8 engine worth 550hp and 770Nm. PHOTO FROM BENTLEY

The Bentayga V8, Bentley claims, is the most sporting version of the luxury SUV, with a new 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine sending no less than 550hp and 770Nm to all four of the newly available 22-inch five-spoke wheels. The colossal power output will make this vehicle proceed from zero to 100km/h in a mere 4.5 seconds, with wind resistance not defeating it until the needle points at 290km/h.

Weighing as much as a small house, this mobile lounge naturally requires some considerable braking power as well, and the same is provided courtesy of four family pizza-sized brake discs (440mm at the front and 370mm at the rear) that are being attacked by what the PR people at Bentley simply call “enormous calipers,” with 10 pistons at the front and special red paint to make these giant stoppers stand out from behind the wheels. Hitting the left pedal can unleash up to 6,000Nm of braking torque, a figure that would no doubt be enough to rearrange the facial features of the wealthy occupants.

Top speed has been set at 290km/h. PHOTO FROM BENTLEY

Those occupants will naturally be surrounded by some of the finest materials found in any motor vehicle on earth, such as a new wood and leather-trimmed steering wheel, a handcrafted leather interior available in 15 colors (including a new shade called Cricket Ball) and, for the first time, a high-gloss carbon-fiber veneer to underline the sporty character of the V8. Of course, countless other color and material combinations are possible as well, as long as the customer’s wishes are matched by the size of his or her wallet. Bentley’s Mulliner department, after all, is famous for its beautiful bespoke solutions.

As much as 6,000Nm of braking torque will bring this SUV to a screeching halt. PHOTO FROM BENTLEY

On the road, the new Bentayga V8 will wow its passengers with Bentley’s 48V Dynamic Ride system that promises to provide world-class handling and comfort, while adaptive cruise control (aided by navigation data) and vehicle sensors and cameras will help ensure a smooth trip. Other electronic butlers include traffic sign recognition, night vision, park assist and even a rear cross-traffic warning that utilizes radar to prevent unsightly dents when backing out of a parking space.

Only the finest leather covers the plush interior. PHOTO FROM BENTLEY

For the majority of SUV owners, the definition of “going off-road” is parking their car with two wheels on the sidewalk during the morning school run, but should a Bentayga driver feel the need to explore the unknown, Bentley’s Drive Dynamics mode and an optional All-Terrain Specification will be on hand to assist. There are up to eight driving modes to choose from, including four off-road ones (snow and grass, dirt and gravel, mud and trail, and sand dune), while the multi-mode air suspension can lift the car up when the going gets tough, and the hill descent control is there to keep things stress-free when going downhill.

As tempting as the Bentayga V8 is to drive, this is still the best seat in the vehicle. PHOTO FROM BENTLEY

Other boredom-busting features include an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system at the front of the cabin, and a removable 10.2-inch Android device called the Bentley Entertainment Tablet in the rear. Bentley also offers a choice of three different audio systems for the Bentayga, the most powerful one pumping 1,950W into 18 speakers and super-tweeters installed around the cabin. That should be plenty enough to drown out any remaining noises of the outside world that dare to enter the inner sanctum of this leather-clad cathedral on wheels. The price for so much opulence? If picked up at the factory in Crewe, England, a minimum of £136,200 (P9,475,000) will have to change hands. Nobody said living an extravagant life would be cheap.

Frank Schuengel

Frank is a German e-commerce executive who loves his wife, a Filipina, so much he decided to base himself in Manila. He has interesting thoughts on Philippine motoring.