Bentley has unveiled its first-ever SUV, the Bentayga. The move follows the huge growth for $75,000-plus super-luxury SUV segment, up 44 percent in the last year. In fact, the Bentayga launch came within days of the fully equipped and heavily armored Range Rover Sentinel announcement. And though the Bentley may not withstand gunfire and grenades, the company claims it's the fastest, most powerful SUV to ever hit the market.
Starting at a cool $246,000, you are paying for a lot more than the Bentayga's 6-liter W12 engine with 600 horsepower (0 to 60 mph in four seconds flat, 187mph top speed). The other features of the newest — and arguably most opulent — Bentley include a 14.5-square foot panoramic glass roof, seven wood options to decorate the interior veneer pieces, eight drive modes ranging from on road Comfort to off-road Mud/Trail, a trunk mini-fridge sized to fit two bottles of champagne, and an in-dash gold and diamond Breitling clock.
Each SUV takes 130 hours to build, and not a single detail has been overlooked by the Bentley designers. The knurled interior switches and doorknobs, for example, are designed to sound expensive. "They can click plasticky, or they can click valuable," said Bentley CEO Wolfgang Durheimer.
Test drives during development took place in the -58ºF weather of Norway's North Cape, and the 122ºF heat in the sand dunes of Dubai's desert, just to ensure that the luxury vehicle could still handle off-roading feats in every imaginable condition.
Other high-end brands are planning on breaking into the super-luxury all-terrain market as well. Rolls-Royce is developing an SUV with their Project Cullinan, Tesla is working on their forthcoming Model X, and we are all holding our breath for Lamborghini to debut the Urus in 2018.