It has the aerodynamics of a portable toilet, but this thunderous SUV is a hoot to drive. Sarah Moore reports.
If you like your SUVs with heaps of clamorous character, few come close to the Bentley Bentayga V8, says Richard Ingram in Auto Express. “Opulent, ostentatious and… fun to drive, the brutish off-roader displays personality and charm by the bucketload.”
It is a “sonorous exercise in excess”, agrees Ed Wiseman in The Daily Telegraph. The ignition button “delivers an aural treat so delicious you may, as I did, find yourself dawdling around an underground car park just to hear the exhaust note bouncing off the walls”. Borrowing its 4.0-litre twin-turbo petrol engine from the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, the “characterful” V8 sounds like a “thunderstorm at full chat” and flooring the throttle sends the 2.4-tonne SUV rocketing towards the horizon without hesitation, says Ingram. The Bantayga is “relentlessly fast” in a straight line, revving aggressively all the way to its 7,000rpm red line. And when you feel the need to hustle more than 2,300kg of SUV along a B-road, it feels controlled and flows “with a reassuring cohesiveness”.
The Bentayga’s electronic tech isn’t left wanting either, says Stuart Gallagher in Evo. There are 12 ultrasonic sensors and five cameras, and both short- and long-range radars to “run the show”. The “show” consists of features such as park assist, adaptive cruise control and an infra-red night-vision camera. There is also a touchscreen infotainment system, and if you want to “go all Puff Daddy”, you can opt for the 18-speaker Naim audio system.
Admittedly, there are downsides, says Wiseman. “It’s too expensive, it’s dynamically compromised, it’s about as aerodynamic as a portable toiler and it’s a little bit naff.” But the SUV has never been a rational purchase decision. “We buy them because we want them, and what could reflect such whimsy more accurately than a V8-powered, 180mph, Bentley off-roader”?
Price: £136,200 (Bentley Bentayga V8); Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8; Transmission: eight-speed auto, four-wheel drive; Power/torque: 542bhp/770Nm; 0-62mph: 4.5 seconds