It’s the Bentley Bentayga, take two. What you see here is a heavy facelift of an SUV launched in late 2015, but with over 1,000 new components, it’s a big deal.
Visually, in particular. Although the general form is the same as before, the details have been tweaked in some areas and revised in others, with the new lights (front and rear) being the most notable.
While the Bentayga launched with a passing resemblance to a Continental GT, its mid-life update has allowed it to adopt its coupe cousin’s headlights and taillights with far less subtlety.
Some will see it as an apt aesthetic confidence for such a broad-shouldered car, others will recall the clumsy application of 911 design elements by the first-generation Porsche Cayenne in its early 2000s.
Once past the lights, there are cleaner touches. A 20mm increase in the rear tracks improves the Bentayga’s stance while improving its handling, there are new alloy wheel designs, and new headlights use cut glass to make them sparkle even when not on.
When on, their intensity varies with driving speed to avoid dazzling other road users while illuminating isolated country lanes.
Bentley offers a variety of powertrains for the Bentayga. At the low end, it has a 443-hp hybrid arrangement with a turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 and an electric motor. Then there’s the 542-hp twin-turbocharged V-8.
We have not driven the first, but we can say that the second emits a powerful roar when reaching 100 km / h, which it does in just 3.3 seconds. The Bentayga Speed ups the ante with a 626-hp W-12. Back in 2017, when the Speed had 600bhp, this super-smooth motor delivered a 3.6sec result in our 100kph test.
The W-12’s power delivery is creamier than the V-8’s, and its performance felt more robust during overtaking maneuvers. Bentley claims the Bentayga Speed, with a top speed of 190 mph, is the world’s fastest SUV (although the Lamborghini Urus might have something to say about that).
Regardless of what’s under the hood, all Bentaygas use an eight-speed automatic transmission and come standard with four-wheel drive.
Inside the Bentley Bentayga, the driver enjoys a luxurious driving position. The stock seats adjust in a wide range of directions (16, if we want to be specific), and the steering column tilts and extends to accommodate.
The front seats are very well designed. They’ve got just enough side bolstering to keep you steady when cornering, plenty of lumbar support and, in the Comfort spec, they come with a massage function.
However, the most important and welcome change is the infotainment system. At 10.9-inches, its screen is larger than that of the Aston Martin DBX and it comes loaded with features. DAB radio, wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, real-time navigation and integrated SIM card come as standard.
Plus, the touchscreen has sharp graphics, is responsive to commands, and has intuitive, easy-to-use menus. We also love the way it can be controlled using the screen itself or with a series of physical keys below it, something not possible on the touchscreen Audi Q7.
The interior was revised as part of the 2020 update. The changes are mostly in the details: the two eyeball-shaped air vents are gone, replaced by a limited-edition-inspired wing-shaped air vent. of the Bentley Bacalar grand tourer and that incorporates an analog clock.
As expected, the materials are very impressive, from the rich leather and wood veneer to the aluminum vents with their organ stop dampers. The quality feel is tremendous, especially in the styling of the chrome bezels and the exquisite stitching on the dashboard and seats