Bentley Bentayga

At the heart of the 2017 Bentley Bentayga is its engine. Other SUV's might make due with 6- or 8-cylinder engines, but nothing so pedestrian powers the Bentayga. Underneath the hood sits a 6.0L W12 engine fed by two turbochargers, mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, sending power to all four wheels. Speaking of which, Bentley claims the sophisticated but huge engine makes 600 horsepower and 664 lb-ft of torque. The sprint to 60 mph takes less than 4 seconds; reminding everyone on board that Bentley have won the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans race on more than one occasion.

Picking out the right Bentayga is an exercise that can easily take up one's entire afternoon. So many options and colors are available for the big SUV that it's easy to get lost amongst the features list. And of course the standard features are just on this side of ridiculous. Virtually every car sold in the last forty years comes with a sound system with at least four speakers and at least a 100-watt amp. The Bentayga also has a sound system-- it has 20 speakers and a 1950-watt amp. Not surprisingly, Bentley claims it's the most powerful stereo ever sold in an SUV. Other cars might have a rear seat entertainment system, but the Bentayga has two 10.2-inch screens set into the headrests that are removable and can be used as tablets. There's also a touchscreen remote located between the rear seats to control that infotainment system.

The Bentayga is available in three distinct specifications, Touring, City and All-Terrain. All-Terrain Bentaygas come with a couple of unique driving modes, including a Mud and Trail mode and a Sand mode. Another nice little feature on the All-Terrain is a sump camera that could prove invaluable in helping the driver to avoid bottoming out on while off-roading. A compass, an altimeter and various other off road spec gauges come standard on the All-Terrain.

City specification includes Park Assist functions and a top view camera to make parking the admittedly large SUV significantly easier. The City specification also has the ability to detect traffic signs, displaying speed limits and other signs in the dashboard where the driver can see them. The City specification also has additional features to help avoid fender benders in urban areas. The Bentayga has an audible pedestrian warning system that will beep if someone steps into the vehicle's path, applying emergency braking if necessary.

The Touring specification adds adaptive cruise control and lane assist functions to the Bentayga. The adaptive cruise control can even be used in heavy traffic, allowing the Bentayga to come to a complete stop and then accelerate again as traffic allows. A night vision system can also warn drivers of potential hazards lurking beyond the view of the headlights.

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For a lot of people, buying a hybrid or EV is as much about saving fuel as it is about making a statement. Coincidentally, that desire to flaunt is also what gets many well-heeled buyers behind the wheel of a Bentley.

So it's a good thing, then, that Bentley will soon offer electrified versions of all its vehicles, starting with the 2020 Bentayga Hybrid you see here. The Bentayga is already Bentley's most popular model, and the least-expensive way to get a car with a Flying B on its nose. In fact, the Hybrid makes the world of Bentley even more accessible. At a still-lofty $156,900, or $8,100 less than a Bentayga V8, it's the company's lowest-priced offering.

But that doesn't mean the Hybrid skimps on luxury; open the door and you're greeted to the same cabin as every other Bentayga. The SUV's interior can be as monochromatic or wildly vibrant as you wish, with myriad leathers, metals and veneers to choose from. There's a real sense of occasion to all Bentley interiors, and this least-expensive Bentayga is no different. Every last stitch of the diamond-quilted leather looks as exquisite here as it does in a $400,000 Mulsanne. Everything from the turn signal stalks to the air vent plungers have a satisfying feel to their action, and the cabin is as comfortable as it is quiet.

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