First Look: The Bentley Bentayga

After spending the majority of my lifetime focusing on creating some of the world's finest GT cars and luxury barges, the fine folks at Bentley have decided to enter a new segment of the automotive market: SUVs. That's right, years after their original EXP 9 F concept (which was, um, not very good looking), Bentley has finally revealed their new model, known to you and me as the Bentayga. It's being hailed as the world's most luxurious SUV, and it pretty much needs to be, considering its mammoth price tag of nearly $250,000. So, what exactly do you get for that money? Let's find out.

First off, buyers will be treated with a proper engine. The only engine available at launch is a familiar 6-liter, twin-turbocharged W12, capable of a hefty 600 horsepower and 663 lb ft. Of course, more economical engines will come later, but for now, let's focus on the fast model. The Bentayga sprints from 0-60 in a slightly crazy 4 seconds on the way to its ludicrous top speed of 187 miles per hour. Those numbers are properly quick by sports car standards, and downright incredible coming from an SUV weighing in at well over 2.5 tons. Speaking of impressive numbers, the Bentayga is also capable of 22.1 miles per gallon, which doesn't sound like much until I remind you of the car's massive engine and weight.

Like every other modern Bentley, the Bentayga's interior is a thing of beauty. The intricately-designed cabin is lined with diamond-stitched leather acquired from the hides of over a dozen cows, complimented by nearly enough gadgets to tempt James Bond away from his DB10. Fine wood trim can be found throughout, serving as further reminder to buyers that they've done reasonably well for themselves.

Despite its gargantuan size, the Bentayga will actually be capable of cornering with a bit of speed. Bentley's Dynamic Ride system comes into play here, allowing the car to stiffen up as necessary to provide a sense of athleticism unheard of in the world of SUVs. The car will be capable off-road as well, although I doubt many Bentayga drivers will experience that first hand. Bentley even offers an optional off-road pack, which can optimize the car's setup for a variety of different loose-traction experiences. It's not likely you'll see one of these appearing on the starting grid of the Dakar Rally, but that's not really what Bentley is all about, is it?

As much as a preposterously-quick SUV wasn't on the top of my list of new models I hoped Bentley would introduce, it's refreshing to see they've done a proper job of it. It looks like a Bentley, it's luxurious like a Bentley, and it's definitely powerful enough to be a Bentley. With the Bentayga set to hit the roads next year, uber-SUV buyers across the world are undoubtedly preparing their checkbooks. Now, the wait for Rolls-Royce to respond begins...