Test Drives

My Week With The Most Luxurious SUV On The Planet

The Bentley BentaygaThe Bentley Bentayga is indisputably the the most luxurious SUV on the planet. Packed full of delightful amenities and exceptional Bentley performance, this SUV will leave you aching for a reason to get out and drive. Warning: excessive driving will lead to higher fuel consumption.

I was lucky enough to spend a week putting this beast through the paces of daily life, to truly experience the what it felt like to have an amazon greeting me in the garage every morning. (My typical test drive last summer at Pebble Beach was already impressive.) Just like the old days when car dealers would let people take a car home overnight, feel the car in your driveway.

The Bentayga took complete command of the pace of suburbia. I went to the grocery, work-out class (which created an impromptu 20 minute car show), did errands, everything one would normally do with an SUV, including loading the backend full of spring plants from the garden store. (Photo not taken.  ) Of course, the Bentayga does it all but better. I found myself creating reasons just to drive the Bentayga.

Before I go any further let me dispel one myth, it is not a Audi Q7. It doesn’t drive like one. It doesn’t look like one. We had two Q7s, the Bentayga is superior to the Q7 in every way.

Bentley Bentayga loading assistThe Bentayga, despite its gross vehilcle weight of 7165 lbs, moves and I don’t mean put your foot on the pedal and wait, it goes – now. You can adeptly weave through traffic with complete confidence the vehicle will get you where you want to be. It has plenty of what my husband calls, giddy-up-ed-ness. It doesn’t lumber, nor does it waft (a technical term often applied to the ride of a big Rolls-Royce). Actually, with those perfectly placed paddle shifters, it could be fun on the track.

Bentley Bentayga InteriorRather than go into all the exquisite detailing which make a Bentley a Bentley and a Bentayga the best luxury SUV around, I’ll tell you about three highly addictive amenities you won’t want to live without. These are the items I truly missed when the Bentayga was gone.

First, the massage seat function (comfort configuration option) is like no other, the six different settings feel more like you are on a table experiencing an actual massage, rather than just sitting in a car with something rolling across your back. Let’s just say I developed a habit of more than two massages a day. Primo after a full body workout.

A rather brilliant amenity in the ample cargo area (for golf clubs, saddles, oversized luggage, visits to the garden store…) is the little rocker switch, let’s call it Bentley Load Assist in the backend which lowers the car, about 6 – 8″ to make loading and unloading effortless.

Bentley Bentayga Park AssistBentley Bentayga instrument viewParking assist (standard) is far from typical on the Bentayga. The home theater quality HD visuals coming from the onboard cameras provides awesome visuals from every angle on both the main screen and to the driver.

The Bentayga has the added attraction (to the non-limelight hungry set) of being super stealthy. When one stops and looks at the Bentayga its big and beautiful, but it isn’t a head turner, insider it a safety feature in our picture-taking-happy world. The drawback of driving eye candy is the heightened awareness one has to drive with, always watching for some ass-clown trying to take photos of you while driving or wanting to race. Driving the Bentayga was a dream.

In its second year of production, the Bentley Bentayga for 2017 is available in four configurations:

  • Bentayga
  • Bentayga Mulliner
  • Bentayga Onyx Edtion
  • Bentayga Diesel

Each can be further customized or Bentley-ized if you prefer. And yes, there is talk of a version of the Bentayga coming market with their powerfully efficient V8 engine rather than the W12. Bentayga price as drivenQuality, attention to detail, dependability and corporate responsiveness while rare, has value. Luxury has a price tag, and so it should.

Sport utility vehicles have been around, surprisingly, since the 1920s. Remember the terms “carryall” or “suburban”? Willy’s brought us the “wagon” in 1940. The modern SUV heyday began in the 1980s as gasoline prices became secondary and driving a sporty, yet cool, functional vehicle became the new status symbol. Land Rover’s Range Rover was likely considered the first luxury SUV, it does have a royal warrant. Mercedes, Lexus, Cadillac, and others rounded out this new market. Some even questioned whether we were on the downward side of the product bell curve when Porsche committed to building a new sport-utility vehicle in 1999. Global SUV sales are still going strong.

Living with Bentley BentaygaToday Bentley’s Bentayga, might be game changer. This puts driving, or being driven, on a whole new level, the level of extraordinary.