2021 Bentley Bentayga revealed
There’s no denying the Bentley Bentayga has polarising looks, yet it’s been a solid sales success for the Crewe-based premium brand. The leather-lined behemoth recorded an 18 percent year-on-on-year increase in sales in 2019 and accounted for 45 per cent of the company’s production volume last year.
Even so, the ultra-luxo SUV category is now more hotly contested than ever, with the likes of the Lamborghini Urus and Rolls-Royce Cullinan recently joining the fray, while Aston Martin’s DBX is waiting in the wings. There’s also the fact that the Bentayga is now four years old, so it was clearly due for a mid-life facelift and upgrade.
We got a sneak peek at the revamped model in the UK in March (just before the Covid-19 curve went stratospheric), and the vehicle in question has scored much more than the usual nip-and-tuck that’s the norm for mid-cycle updates. Instead, the 2020 Bentayga represents a wholesale revamp, with virtually no body panels carrying through from its predecessor.
Bentley design boss Stefan Sielaff told us: “With the new design, we wanted to create a family resemblance with the latest Continental GT and Flying Spur, so we did a lot of work around the front and rear.
“One of the key points is that we wanted to have the wheels more outward. To create this effect, we pressed the front fender in by 10mm and widened the rear track by 10mm. This alone really improves the stance of the car. Every panel at the front has been reworked – bonnet, front fenders and bumper. The grille is also more vertical and 30mm higher. Similarly, the bonnet is also higher and the shutlines now meet the grille.”
Flanking the grille are brand-new Matrix LED headlights (comprising 48 LEDs each and configured with Town, Country and Highway modes so you can drive in high beam all the time). Sielaff says these are set higher and feature a cut-glass look for a more premium appearance. In addition, there are new-design 22-inch rims and a bigger rear spoiler – not only for better aero, but also to visually counter the stronger front.
A trick feature is that there are 22 heated jets on the wiper arms, which would obviously be a boon for those living in snow-bound countries, but it’s not all that relevant in the Middle East.
The revamped Bentayga’s derriere has also been comprehensively reworked and now features a clamshell tailgate (which Sielaff says is a cleaner design), but the real eye-opener are the elliptical taillights, which mimic those of the latest Continental GT. These features combine to create a greater sense of visual width, according to Sielaff. Look closely and you’ll notice the number plate has been repositioned much lower than was the case with the outgoing model.
The cabin has also been given a thorough working over, with new door trims and better materials used throughout. Virtual dials replace instruments with needles and there’s a 10.9-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and inductive phone charging. In addition, every vehicle comes with a pre-activated data service that continually updates maps and traffic info. Also new is a 1780-watt Naim sound system that fires boomtastic beats fired out of no less than 20 speakers.
Rear-seat occupants are better catered to as new seat frames help provide 30mm more legroom in the back in five-seat configuration. The gains are even more significant in four-seat format as there’s 100mm more rear legroom with the seats fully reclined. This puts it on par with a long-wheelbase Range Rover.
The same powertrains carry over, but there was no real deficiency in that department as the entry-level 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 thumps out 550hp and 770Nm. Further down the track, the V8 will be joined by a W12-powered Speed version as well as a Hybrid model.
Expect the new models to debut in the UAE and GCC by the end of summer.