2021 Bentley Bentayga updated with tech improvements, styling tweaks
The refreshed Bentayga is the first Bentley to get Android Auto compatibility.
Steven EwingFormer managing editor
Steven Ewing spent his childhood reading car magazines, making his career as an automotive journalist an absolute dream job. After getting his foot in the door at Automobile while he was still a teenager, Ewing found homes on the mastheads at Winding Road magazine, Autoblog and Motor1.com before joining the CNET team in 2018. He has also served on the World Car Awards jury. Ewing grew up ingrained in the car culture of Detroit -- the Motor City -- before eventually moving to Los Angeles. In his free time, Ewing loves to cook, binge trash TV and play the drums.
SUV is still a relative newbie in the history of
, yet it's proven to be an incredibly important model. Bentley's sold more than 20,000 examples of its SUV since it first hit the scene in late 2015 and the company revealed a number of key updates on Tuesday, all of which aim to keep the Bentayga poised for continued success.
Outside, the Bentayga gets new front and rear fascia designs that are clearly inspired by the
coupe. "We changed everything from the A pillar forward," the Bentley's design director, Stefan Sielaff, said during a virtual press conference on Tuesday. The Bentayga's LED headlights have the same cut crystal styling as those on the Conti and the matrix grille is far more upright. The front end doesn't look vastly different, but it's still an improvement. Then again, that's not exactly a huge feat; the old Bentayga isn't exactly what we'd call attractive.
Watch this: The 2021 Bentley Bentayga only has a few changes, but they're all in the right places
The rear has the most obvious visual update, where you'll find a new interpretation of the Continental's oval-shaped taillights. What's not as immediately noticeable is the new full-width tailgate design, which helps give the back end a much cleaner overall look. The license plate holder is now integrated into the bumper, too.
Dimensionally speaking, the 2021 Bentayga is roughly the same size as before, though the rear track has been increased slightly. Despite no change in length or wheelbase, Bentley says rear-seat passengers have more room than before. For the chassis, a front double-wishbone and rear multi-link setup carries over and Bentley will continue to offer its 48-volt anti-roll technology, working in conjunction with the self-leveling air suspension.
Bentley will offer the 2021 Bentayga in V8, Hybrid and W12 Speed models; the standard W12 option doesn't carry over for this update. So far, Bentley is only releasing specs about the base V8 model, which uses the same 4.0-liter twin-turbo engine as before, with 542 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque. We've always liked the Bentayga best with the V8 -- it offers plenty of punch and a hearty soundtrack. It's no slouch, either; Bentley says the 5,326-pound Bentayga can accelerate to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds.
2021 Bentley Bentayga has better tech, better style
As before, the Bentayga will come with a number of driver-assistance features, though as is the case with just about every high-end automaker, they'll all be optional. The City Specification pack will add things like parking assist, traffic sign recognition and a top-view camera, while the Touring Specification gets you niceties like adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist. Four on-road driving modes will come standard, as will four off-road settings, for those who dare take their super-expensive luxury SUV off the beaten path.
Moving inside, the Bentayga gets new seats and some updated trim pieces, though the basic design largely remains the same. The most important interior update comes in the way of technology, where the previous Bentayga's older-than-dirt infotainment system is replaced by the company's "new, cutting-edge" tech. Of course, just like in the Continental GT and
, this is just a Bentley-specific version of
Communication Management software, though that's no bad thing. We like the colorful, reconfigurable, super-responsive nature of this interface, and hey, in addition to wireless Apple CarPlay, the software now includes Android Auto compatibility -- a first for both Bentley and Porsche -- though the latter is only available through one of the Bentayga's USB-C wired connections.
The Bentayga gets a fully digital instrument cluster, just like the ones found in the Continental and Flying Spur, plus there's a head-up display, too. Unfortunately, the Bentayga doesn't have the cool-as-hell Rotating Display used in Bentley's other cars, where the infotainment screen can flip back into the dash, revealing a trio of analog gauges.
Otherwise, the Bentayga's cabin is as luxurious and nicely appointed as it's ever been. Rear seat passengers get a remote control tablet like the one in the Flying Spur, with a 5-inch display. Back-seat riders can use this to control the audio and navigation systems, as well as things like interior lighting, window shades and, of course, seat heating and massage.
Look for the 2021 Bentayga V8 to go on sale later this year, with the Hybrid and W12 Speed models to follow. Official pricing hasn't been announced just yet, but the SUV's product line director, Chris Cole, said it should cost "about 5% more than the existing Bentayga." In the US, the current Bentayga starts at $160,000. That's not exactly chump change, but with these meaningful styling and technology updates, a slightly easier pill to swallow than before.