Best Luxury SUV: Bentley Bentayga Petrol V8 Twin-turbo Review

The Bentley Bentayga V8 petrol is the most accessible Bentley yet. An SUV that brings comfort, luxury and performance to off road driving.
Specs
This 4.0-litre, four wheel drive luxury habitat weighs just under two and a half tonnes, but goes from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds with a top speed of 180 mph. The V8 has 542 bhp and the world’s largest front brake system with carbon ceramic as an option. The magnificent V8 engine hits maximum torque at 1,960 rpm all the way through to 4,500 rpm, so acceleration is there whether you’re pulling away from the lights or overtaking at speed. The eight speed ZF automatic gearbox is smooth as treacle and the infotainment system intuitively easy with Apple CarPlay and tv screens with system controls for the rear passengers.
Impressive and imposing at first glance, it is actually quite subtle for a Bentley, with a discreet muscular exterior hiding a refined luxury interior that spares no expense, matching the more expensive W12.
Exterior
The V8 body displays black exterior styling touches rather than chrome, with black chrome grille, headlamp surrounds and trim, for a meaner sportier look. A huge raised front bonnet and curved haunches further improve the Bentayga’s aesthetics, though I would like to see even more done to separate this luxury car from the SUV herd of boxes on wheels. Two twin-quad tailpipes and monster truck wheels in various appealing designs help achieve this.
Interior
The interior is the epitome of discreet refinement, not as easy to do as you would think. It’s knowing when to stop that’s hardest. Every aspect from the diamond patterned quilting to the soft flowing contours of the doors, seats and panels welcomes you into a world of luxury, including the signature Bentley aroma of leather, musk, amber, vetiver and cedar. My favourite touch was the Bentley embroidered cushions, derided at first, but soon fondly appreciated.
The liquid amber veneer plus the contrast stitching in the leather with the black and chrome dials is simply gorgeous. You can see why some clients are matching their home decor to their Bentley, as they desire the same level of luxury refinement everywhere. We’ll see more of this in the future as our mobile and static living environments overlap with our lifestyles and technology. There is of course a wide range of leather, veneer and interior details to choose from.
The deep pile mats are a must, kick off the shoes and stretch the toes out in sybaritic pleasure, while listening to the Naim audio system pump out some Californian dirge with mood lighting set low. Get the heads up display option as it is very useful to have a convenient speed limit reminder in a car that makes 70 mph feel like you’re ambling along at slow walk. You can have various configurations of seats too; four, five and even a seven seat version.
The interior makes this the best luxury SUV, you are cosseted and spoilt to the nth degree and end up not wanting to leave the car for the real world without good reason.
Performance
The performance is powerful and the optional electric anti-roll bar is pretty effective. The acceleration is tuned for comfort as much as speed, so you’ll barely notice the 0-60 in 4.4 seconds, but will appreciate the light and comfortable touch on the steering. Play with the paddles if the automatic is too smooth, but this is still more luxury cruiser than sports SUV. The V8 engine has more grumble than the W12 but you won’t really hear anything as the cabin is extremely well sound proofed. Off road it is extremely efficient, the suspension morphed even the worst country roads, hill climbs and muddy fields into soft undulations so you could enjoy the view in splendid serenity.
The combined fuel economy is 22.1 mpg, so something to consider, and there is a hybrid version coming.
You can up the response with the usual sport mode, but I did not find myself using that much, as why on earth would you rush anywhere ensconced in this much opulence.
Conclusion
The Bentley Bentayga V8 is seen as the sporty version of the W12, it has all the same luxury whilst being more economical and damn near almost as fast. Plus it is far less expensive than other models, so a great way to join the the Bentley car owners club for less.  I would definitely recommend a duo tone colour combination by Mulliner for the exterior, such as Pale Brodgar over Brodgar to bring out the shape of the haunches and bonnet. The Marlin Blue on my model was way too discreet. The car is a little big (pardon the oxymoron) on country roads, but the luxury it provides is second to none, and space is a vital part of that. The Bentley Bentayga V8 conjures refinement, wellbeing and four wheel drive adventure in an immaculate luxury environment.
Starts at £136,900https://www.bentleymotors.com/en/models/bentayga.html
Technical Specification
Engine
Type
4.0-litre, 32-valve, twin-turbocharged V8
Max Power
542 bhp* / 404 kW / 550 PS @ 6,000 rpm
Max Torque
770 Nm / 568 lb. ft. @ 1,960-4,500 rpm
Transmission
Driveline
ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox, permanent all-wheel drive with 40:60 front to rear torque split
Ratios
1st: 4.714; 2nd: 3.143; 3rd: 2.106; 4th: 1.667; 5th: 1.285; 6th: 1.000; 7th: 0.839;
8th: 0.667
Final Drive
3.308
Brakes, Wheels and Tyres
Front Brakes
400mm ventilated iron / 440mm carbon-silicon-carbide
Rear Brakes
380mm ventilated iron / 370mm carbon-silicon-carbide
Wheels
Optional 20”; standard 21”; optional 22”
Tyres
Pirelli 275/50R20, 285/45 R21, 285/45 ZR21, 285/40ZR22
Steering
Type
Electronic Power Assisted Steering, variable ratio
Turns lock-to-lock
2.3 turns
Turning circle
12.4 m / 40.6 ft
Suspension
Front
Four link double wishbones, optional 48V electric active anti-roll bar
Rear
Trapezoidal multi-link, optional 48V electric active anti-roll bar
Springs and dampers
Self-levelling air suspension, Continuous Damping Control
Dimensions
Wheelbase
2995 mm / 117.9”
Overall length
5140 mm / 202.4”
Width (across body)
1998 mm / 78.7”
Width (inc. mirrors)
2224 mm / 87.6”
Overall height
1742 mm / 68.6”
Fuel tank
85 litres / 18.7 UK gallons / 22.5 US gallons
Boot volume
Seats up – 484 litres; seats folded – 1774 litres (five-seat variant)
Kerb weight (EU)
2395 kg / 5280 lb (five-seat variant)
Gross vehicle weight
3250 kg / 7165 lb
Performance
Top speed
180 mph / 290 km/h
0-60 mph
4.4 secs
0-100 km/h
4.5 secs
Fuel Consumption (EU cycle)
Urban
18.1 mpg / 15.6 litres/100 km
Extra Urban
31.4 mpg / 9.0 litres/100 km
Combined
24.8 mpg / 11.4 litres/100 km
CO2 emissions
260 g/km
Emissions Controls
EU 6