2021 Bentley Bentayga First Look: Modern Luxury
Bentley’s Bentayga has long polarized opinion. The EXP 9F concept that teased Bentley’s first SUV, unveiled at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, was presented for its ostentatious details and oversized design benchmarks on a platform that did not allow the graceful proportions expected from the Iconic British luxury brand. The ostentation was softened by the time Bentayga production hit the streets in 2016, but the decision to build the car on the VW group’s MLB architecture meant that it remained proportionately contested.
The Bentley Bentayga 2021 facelifted is still not purple. The proportions have not changed, but a multitude of styling changes are designed to make the Bentayga 2021 lower and wider and planted with more confidence on the road. And Bentley hasn’t saved a lot of expense: just about every panel except the roof and the door trim is new.
The interior is a revised interior with a center console similar to that of the beautiful new sedan Flying Spur. The dashboard includes the 10.9-inch touchscreen used in the Flying Spur and Continental GT, as well as various Porsches, mounted under a new central vent designed to echo the famous Bentley wing logo. As with these cars, the new infotainment software offers wonderfully clear graphics and a high degree of reconfigurability in terms of display and information. Apple CarPlay is now standard and Android Auto is available for the first time in a Bentley.
Other interior changes include a new configurable digital dashboard display, redesigned seats, new door trim and a new steering wheel. The rear seat is slightly reclined and has a straighter backrest to improve the space for space knees, and the rear passengers control various functions via a remote touchscreen.
On the exterior, the new hood, new front fenders, a wider grille flanked by more spaced headlights, as well as a new bumper give the Bentayga facelifted a hint of the beautiful Flying Spur sedan from the front. At the rear, a flap tailgate similar to that used on the Audi Q7 allows a scalloped horizontal section and oval taillights that recall those of the new Bentley Continental GT. The new tailgate design meant that Bentley had to design a whole new body-side stamping to accommodate the larger one-piece design.
The new matrix beam headlights are an evolution of the cut glass style seen on the Flying Spur and the Continental GT, and have 48 LEDs each, allowing the lamps to actively adapt the light scattering on the road. The system includes different lighting modes suitable for driving in town, in the countryside and on motorways. The elliptical rear lights present a new model of three-dimensional network.
Horizontal themed graphics on the front and rear make the Bentayga facelift wider, although the overall width is actually unchanged from the current model. What changed, however, was the rear track, which was pushed back 0.4 inch on each side. As a result, the big Bentley now looks less oversized at the rear. The wider rear track also helps improve cornering response and cornering grip, according to Bentley engineers. The suspension is also unchanged, with triple-chamber air springs adjustable in height at each corner, and body movements controlled by the highly effective 48-volt anti-roll system.
The powertrain is also unchanged. The Bentyaga 2021 will launch with the 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine designed by Porsche under the hood, as this engine accounts for 70% of Bentayga’s sales worldwide. With 542 hp and 568 lb-ft of torque, the engine sends its growl to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. Bentley says the engine will take the 5,226-pound Bentayga to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds, 100 mph in 9.9 seconds and a top speed of 180 mph.
The Bentayga V-8 will later be joined by the Bentayga Hybrid, whose rechargeable powertrain includes a 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 of 335 horsepower powered by a 126-horsepower electric motor to produce a total power of 443 horsepower and 516 horsepower . lb-ft of torque. The Bentayga Hybrid is about 0.8 seconds slower at 60 mph and about 2.7 seconds slower at 100 mph than the V-8. Its top speed is south of 160 mph.
The twelve-cylinder versions of the Bentayga facelift will only be offered in the speed specification, mainly because that’s how most customers order the 627-horsepower crossover SUV. The United States, as well as Russia and the Middle East, remain a key market for this 190 mph model.
A new 22-inch wheel, available in two finishes, is exclusive to Bentayga for the 2021 model year and brings the total number of wheel options to five. Two new colors, Viridian (a dark metallic green) and Patina (a medium off-white) are added to the already extensive color palette.
The Bentayga 2021 comes standard with five seats, but luxury four-seat and seven-seat options suitable for children are available. A new 1780-watt Naim audio system with 20 speakers, including active subwoofers under the front seats and super-tweeters in pillars A and B, is also available.
Polarizing or not, the fact remains that Bentley has sold more than 20,000 Bentaygas worldwide since the launch of the model in November 2015, making it the best-selling model in the history of the brand. And over 70% of Bentayga buyers are new to the Bentley brand. The Bentley Bentayga 2021 is still not a beauty, but the figures suggest that it will not matter. Love is blind.
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