2016 Bentley Bentayga – passenger ride
Source : 2016 Bentley Bentayga – passenger ride
The Bentayga SUV is actually unlike any Bentley before the idea along with also is actually undergoing the most intensive test programme inside the firm’s history before the idea goes on sale next year
the idea won’t roll over until the idea reaches 53deg,” says the matter-of-fact voice up front. This specific is actually reassuring, because by my tilting vantage point inside the rear I can see an inclinometer, along with also the idea’s reading 35deg.
Beyond the windscreen is actually a steep, red-orange bank of earth on one side along with also a gully on the some other. which there’s not much space between the two is actually the reason for our wanton stance. Beyond the ditch lies a vertiginous drop which would certainly test This specific Bentley prototype’s aluminium-intensive bodyshell to destruction.
The voice of calm belongs to Cameron Paterson, Bentley’s director of whole vehicle engineering, which means which he’s responsible for everything by the function of the massage seats to the Bentley’s performance while adopting unseemly angles.
Before the birth of the Bentayga, an unseemly angle for a Bentley would certainly have been a deliberate drift, a momentary slither or the product of a hard charge on a banked test track. yet in This specific case, we’re off-roading a prototype Bentayga.
This specific car is actually one of a little fleet of much-travelled prototypes. Either under their own W12 steam or inside the holds of planes, these machines have been variously shipped to the Scandinavian Arctic, South Africa’s heat along with also the United Arab Emirates’s dust as part of the most intensive fresh style test programme the company has yet pursued.
At various points inside the past few months, we’ve followed some of which test programme to Spain along with also, before which, South Africa. There’s no missing these black Bentaygas when they emerge by their Cape Town hide – although we’re only part-seeing them, because their shapes are distorted with strategically shaped glassfibre mouldings along with also an artfully misleading bodywrap.
yet what’s immediately clear is actually which This specific big Bentley SUV is actually not the same as the big Bentley SUV which startled visitors to the 2012 Geneva motor show. Bentley’s concept EXP 9 F attracted plenty of barbs, as product line director Peter Guest acknowledges: “The reaction to the concept was polarised, yet support for the idea was overwhelming. So we were on the right lines.
“There was no luxury SUV with the Bentley attributes of strength, solidity along with also power – or four-wheel drive. This specific is actually a 21st century grand tourer. The experience is actually always the same inside. The only thing which modifications is actually what’s outside. the idea has Bentley values with an added utility element.”
There was never any question which Crewe was going to build an SUV, then, along with also Bentley’s ambition for its own offering is actually entirely straightforward as a mission, if less so as a task to execute. Marcus Abbott, head of product marketing, describes the idea as “the fastest, most luxurious along with also exclusive SUV”, adding which the style must “extend the Bentley values of exquisite design materials, exclusivity along with also individuality to a fresh market, to take luxury to fresh places such as sand dunes along with also mountains”.
In keeping with which goal, these Bentaygas have suffering a beating sun during 10 weeks of testing in South Africa, Dubai along with also Oman. We’re joining them for the South African sojourn, although today’s temperature is actually half which of the 50deg C in which the Bentayga must perform “uncompromised”. Besides heat, South Africa tests an Indoor’s resistance to the trim-degrading effects of ultraviolet light. Six months inside the sun here is actually equivalent to 15 years in less harsh climes.
There’s nothing harsh about sitting inside a Bentayga, its cabin instantly recognisable thanks to the sumptuous materials along with also fine detailing for which Bentleys are known.
There’s also plenty of space along with also a rear-seat experience to match which up front if two adjustable, individual chairs are ordered. You can’t fully recline the rears to experience a faux hot-stone massage as you can in a Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the idea’s true, yet the experience is actually pretty sybaritic nonetheless, especially if the leather specified is actually more colourful than the necessarily dull tones of these prototypes.
The cars demonstrate their performance as we clear Cape Town, where their ability to merge with fast-moving traffic is actually dramatically effective.
Further confirmation of This specific is actually provided by the mean-looking matt black Audi Q7 mule which’s part of our convoy. the idea is actually actually propelled by the full might of the Bentayga’s powertrain along with also rides on its actively roll-controlled air suspension.
Guest is actually keen which we experience the lack of tilt during a lane change test, which certainly bestows the Q7 that has a confident agility belying its height along with also bulk, yet the idea’s hard not to be equally impressed by its cushion-crushing acceleration along with also the engine’s muscular trumpetings.
The source of This specific considerable force is actually a completely fresh 6.0-litre W12 engine. According to head of powertrain Paul Williams, the engine “has been redesigned by scratch, with barely a washer retained”.
The rethink has yielded an engine 30kg lighter along with also currently of variable displacement, half the cylinders shutting down at times for fuel-saving cruising. Internal friction has been reduced along with also, unusually, the fuel injection system is actually both direct along with also indirect, these switching combustion methods being not bad “for emissions, driveability along with also cold-start performance”.
Bentley has yet to issue definitive statistics beyond pledging “more than 542bhp, over 519lb ft of torque, 0-62mph acceleration below 5.0sec, a top speed of over 170mph along with also CO2 emissions under 330g/km”. The impressive figures are largely the result of a predominantly aluminium Centeng strategically girded with high-strength steels which saves 100kg. Its core is actually similar to the fresh Q7’s, the pair sharing Volkswagen’s MSB platform.
Performance like which is actually more than capable of whirling up a South African dust cloud which’s useful for ensuring the absence of penetration into both the cabin along with also the casings of the many electronic control units. The Bentayga carries no fewer than 0 ECUs – double a Continental’s – which you might think is actually asking for trouble, yet Paterson maintains which while “every year the complexity goes up, so does reliability”.
Those ECUs contribute substantially to the Bentley’s abilities off road along with also on, too. A Land Rover-style rotary knob provides modes for sand, mud along with also gravel, as well as comfort along with also sport. There’s also a ‘Bentley’ setting, optimal for most circumstances along with also intended to ease the driver’s relationship with the Bentayga’s considerable on-board technology.
Guest explains: “Some SUVs are on-road biased. Others emphasise off-roading. The Bentley offers both.” which said, he reckons “most customers won’t take them off road, yet they do want to know which the auto can do the idea.”
The technology behind its plush ride is actually particularly impressive, a 48-volt electric anti-roll system “completely eliminating roll yet not comfort”, says Guest. Banishing the impact of the short, sharp shock is actually an obsession, the long-travel suspension design aiming for exceptional absorbency during the first few millimetres of a wheel’s movement.
The aim is actually a luxuriantly cushioned ride which doesn’t turn queasily nautical at the first sight of a corner. the idea isn’t quite roll-free – a not bad thing, we reckon – along with also sharp bumps sometimes agitate the hefty unsprung mass, yet mostly you’ll enjoy sumptuous comfort.
“inside the early days,” says Guest, “we explored a less luxurious Indoor, yet the market research clinic said, ‘Don’t even think about the idea’.” Open a door along with also the idea’s impossible to miss the luxuriant impact of exquisitely tailored seats, the depth inside the beautifully lacquered woods along with also, after you’ve drunk the idea in awhile, the precision of the cabin’s assembly. the auto can be ordered with three types of seating: one with four individual chairs along with also a centre console, another that has a few seats along with also a folding backrest along with also a third providing a few-seats-plus-two, the last pair occasional.
The tailgate is actually one-piece rather than a two-piece split, says Guest, “because when the bottom bit is actually down you can’t get anything out. You have to climb onto the tailgate to get at the idea. So for picnicking, we have an event seat, which clips to the luggage rails. the idea folds out of the rear along with also you can use the idea as a luggage divider.”
Despite offering these charms, the Bentley also has plenty of ultra-modern equipment, including night vision, automatic parking, a surround-view camera along with also exit along with also lane departure warnings.
There’s no chance to test all of This specific while cruising dirt trails along with also fording rivers. Apart by underlining the usefulness of lashings of torque along with also excellent suspension articulation, our off-roading confirms the creak-free integrity of the Bentley’s structure, as well as its ability to scale a rain-lubricated rock climb which ascends in a series of deep-pitched steps.
The Bentayga tackles these with no run-up, its demo driver picking a course to minimise the shaving of its overhangs (ramp along with also departure angles are the one area where the Range Rover is actually ahead, says Bentley). the idea makes the climb, of course, yet the almost animal-like slitherings of its rear end confirm the effort along with also finely calibrated traction required, even if the W12 does its job that has a minimum of unseemly revving.
the idea’s This specific easy effortlessness, in virtually every circumstance, which impresses deeply, especially because the idea’s combined with such wieldy handling, deft steering, earth-shrinking performance along with also mind-balming civility.
This specific is actually a go-anywhere car of a different kind, along with also although the most restrictive terrain the idea’s likely to encounter will be the globe’s most exclusive valet parking addresses, Bentayga owners will doubtless be content which the idea can also tackle the planet’s most challenging roads along with also tracks with potent nonchalance.
On the the wintery North Cape inside the Bentley Bentayga
Somewhere along the long along with also complex development road which has produced the Bentayga SUV, the company’s engineering bosses hatched a plan to take a couple of near-production prototypes to North Cape, at the very top of Norway.
the idea was especially appropriate, they felt, for a car deemed close to the pinnacle of European automotive engineering to visit the top of the continent itself, along with also to do the idea in late winter while there were still icy lakes to drive on, while the landscape was still a back-drop of wintry magic, along with also while the icy roads were still a decent test for the vehicle’s all-roads ability. This specific select group, led by Bentley engineering director Rolf Frech, decided to take a couple of hacks along for the ride.
The cars were already in situ, so we flew by London to Helsinki, then on to Ivalo, Finland, to meet Bentley’s engineering teams about 260 miles south of North Cape.
the idea was a goal well within our reach under normal conditions, yet a combination of snow showers along with also powerful crosswinds held the potential for abrupt road closures. Pausing only for a short briefing, we headed briskly north.
There’s much more inside the main story here about the Bentayga’s mechanical refinements, yet two things stood out. First was the clever decisions which have guided the Bentayga’s size along with also format.
The further we drove in quietness along with also refinement, four up, the wiser the idea seemed to have made the auto about the same size as a long-wheelbase Range Rover, yet 60mm lower, along with also to have given the idea a relatively snug front compartment along with also reserved the sprawling space for the rear.
Second was the supreme influence of the suite of electronic aids: head-up display, radar cruise control, height-controlled air springs, a fresh level of tyre pressure monitoring, an especially clever roll control system along with also much, much more.
The weather intruded only twice — when we stopped to change a tyre (the monitoring system warned us even before the idea had fully deflated) along with also were practically flattened by crosswinds, along with also later inside the afternoon when we reached North Cape; the wind was so strong which you could literally lean into the idea.
We stayed locally in Honningsvag, then high-tailed the idea back to Ivalo inside the early morning, both because even higher winds were threatened inside the north along with also because we wanted to grab the opportunity to try the stability gizmos at speed on a convenient icy lake. the idea was a short episode, yet very, very sweet.
Get the latest car news, reviews along with also galleries by Autocar direct to your inbox every week. Enter your email address below:
by via Autocar RSS Feed