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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Editors' First Take

The Bentley Bentayga has had a pretty good run since its debut in 2015. The luxury SUV has risen to become not just the top-selling vehicle in Bentley's current portfolio, but also the bestselling vehicle in the brand's history. Building on that success -- while hoping to fill a long-wheelbase gap left by the 2020 departure of the Mulsanne -- the British automaker has debuted the 2023 Bentayga Extended Wheelbase, EWB for short. Longer, more luxurious (and certainly more expensive) than the standard Bentayga, this stretched SUV is aimed at affluent shoppers looking to be driven, rather than to drive. 

Extended wheelbase

The most obvious physical change to the Bentayga EWB is that it's been stretched to 125 inches, 7.1 inches longer than the standard Bentayga V8. Every bit of that additional length goes towards expanding the rear cabin legroom. The result is a cabin that, according to Bentley, is longer than the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, the Range Rover LWB and the Mulsanne that it technically replaces.

The stretch also lengthens the rear door, resulting in a wider opening for entry and exit, but that also makes the reach to close longer -- perhaps too long for some passengers -- so Bentley has equipped the Bentayga EWB with power-closing rear doors triggered by holding a center console button. The engineers also moved the opening for the Bentayga's moonroof rearward to better allow light onto the second row seats.

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