2017 Bentley Bentayga

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$229,100–$297,400 MSRP range
(4.8) 4 reviews

Key Specs

of the 2017 Bentley Bentayga base trim shown

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Refined, powerful 12-cylinder
  • Active suspension
  • Luxurious interior
  • Off-road capability
  • Dashboard touch-screen
  • Numerous ways to personalize

The Bad

  • Busy, firm-riding air suspension
  • Gear selector not very intuitive
  • Limited cargo room
  • Expensive optional features
  • Awkward front styling
  • A few hints of VW ownership

Notable Features of the 2017 Bentley Bentayga

  • New for 2017
  • Bentley's first SUV
  • Seats four or five
  • 600-hp, 12-cylinder engine
  • All-wheel drive standard
  • Active suspension available

2017 Bentley Bentayga Road Test

https://www.cstatic-images.com/stock/64x64/90/img1115632532-1502480398190.jpg
Mike Hanley

The verdict: The new 2017 Bentley Bentayga is a multitalented ultraluxury SUV that's just as at ease tiptoeing down steep off-road descents as it is hustling around a racetrack, all the while coddling passengers in its richly appointed cabin.

Versus the competition: The Bentayga is currently the only SUV available from an ultraluxury brand. While it's possible to buy a Land Rover Range Rover or Porsche Cayenne that costs six figures, this Bentley starts at a lofty $231,825, including a $2,725 destination charge, which puts it in an altogether different class that's poised to grow with new SUVs from the likes of Rolls-Royce, Maserati and Lamborghini on the horizon.

Consumers can't get enough SUVs at the moment, but there haven't been any ultraluxury ones until now. The Bentayga looks to capitalize on this drought because it's not as if ultraluxury shoppers don't appreciate SUVs. On the contrary; Bentley's U.S. President and CEO Michael Winkler said average Bentley owners have five vehicles in their household, two of which are luxury SUVs.

The 2017 Bentayga shares its platform with the redesigned 2017 Audi Q7 (Bentley and Audi are Volkswagen subsidiaries). The two SUVs have different styling and powertrains, and the Bentayga's unpainted unibody structure is shipped to Bentley's factory in Crewe, England, for final assembly. The Bentayga is finished by hand, which takes around 130 hours.

I had the chance to drive a number of Bent...

The verdict: The new 2017 Bentley Bentayga is a multitalented ultraluxury SUV that's just as at ease tiptoeing down steep off-road descents as it is hustling around a racetrack, all the while coddling passengers in its richly appointed cabin.

Versus the competition: The Bentayga is currently the only SUV available from an ultraluxury brand. While it's possible to buy a Land Rover Range Rover or Porsche Cayenne that costs six figures, this Bentley starts at a lofty $231,825, including a $2,725 destination charge, which puts it in an altogether different class that's poised to grow with new SUVs from the likes of Rolls-Royce, Maserati and Lamborghini on the horizon.

Consumers can't get enough SUVs at the moment, but there haven't been any ultraluxury ones until now. The Bentayga looks to capitalize on this drought because it's not as if ultraluxury shoppers don't appreciate SUVs. On the contrary; Bentley's U.S. President and CEO Michael Winkler said average Bentley owners have five vehicles in their household, two of which are luxury SUVs.

The 2017 Bentayga shares its platform with the redesigned 2017 Audi Q7 (Bentley and Audi are Volkswagen subsidiaries). The two SUVs have different styling and powertrains, and the Bentayga's unpainted unibody structure is shipped to Bentley's factory in Crewe, England, for final assembly. The Bentayga is finished by hand, which takes around 130 hours.

I had the chance to drive a number of Bentaygas on surfaces many U.S. buyers likely never will encounter: rolling desert dunes, technical off-road terrain and a racetrack. In between, I drove it on California highways, city streets and winding mountain roads. Optional features on the Bentaygas I drove brought the as-tested prices to around $275,000.

Exterior & Styling
With its large inner and small outer front lights, big mesh grille and smooth body sides, it's clear Bentley was intent on creating a strong visual connection between its new SUV and its lineup of sports cars and sedans. While the designers have succeeded on that front, I question whether they've created a pretty SUV. That's not the word that comes to mind when I look at it. The Bentayga's outside front lights are too small, which gives the front end an odd look, and the rear styling isn't particularly memorable. Even though cost isn't the most important factor for the likely buyer, the Land Rover Range Rover looks just as stately for around a third of the Bentayga's price.

How It Drives
The most remarkable thing about the Bentayga is how well it handles very different types of terrain. It'll plow through loose sand and tiptoe down a 30-degree descent just as well as it cruises on the highway. It seems a little excessive to build so much off-road capability into a vehicle that will rarely, if ever, see that kind of terrain in the U.S., but the prospects are much greater in places such as China, Russia and the Middle East, where Bentley hopes to grow the brand with the Bentayga's help. All the same, Bentley has done a masterful job integrating the technology that enables this multifaceted performance capability. Plus, it wouldn't be an ultraluxury SUV if there weren't a little excess involved, am I right?

The Bentayga is powered by a new twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter 12-cylinder engine that makes 600 horsepower and 664 pounds-feet of torque. The engine uses a special oil system to ensure there's enough oil circulating even on 35-degree inclines. Engine power is routed through an eight-speed automatic transmission to a rear-biased all-wheel-drive system, and Bentley claims the 5,379-pound SUV can hit 60 mph in 4 seconds on its way to a top speed of 187 mph.

As high-performance engines go, this 12-cylinder is incredibly refined. At idle, you can't hear it or feel any engine vibration from the driver's seat. Power comes on in a wave that makes passing slower-moving traffic on two-lane roads effortless. Like the Range Rover Supercharged with its 510-hp V-8, the Bentayga has plenty of power to spare at highway speeds. Eventually, Bentley will offer V-8 and plug-in hybrid V-6 drivetrains.

As good as the 12-cylinder engine is, I was more impressed with the Bentayga's optional active suspension. Dubbed Bentley Dynamic Ride, the system uses electric motors that act on the stabilizer bars to limit body roll in corners. It's an effective system; it kept the Bentayga relatively flat on winding mountain roads and made this big SUV feel more at home on a 17-turn, 2.7-mile racetrack than it had any right to be.

A four-corner air suspension works with the active stabilizer bars. An air suspension might conjure up thoughts of pillow-soft ride quality, but that's not what the Bentayga provides; the ride is relatively firm, and small imperfections like cracks or bumps are transmitted to the cabin, making the ride feel busy at times. I think some shoppers are going to expect more road isolation than the setup provides. Suspension responses don't appreciably change whether you're in Comfort, Bentley (normal) or Sport mode, which is selected by a rotary knob on the center console. Sport, however, improves gas-pedal response and keeps more engine power at the ready by preventing the automatic transmission from upshifting aggressively. All U.S. models include the All-Terrain Specification, which adds four off-road driving modes — Snow & Grass, Dirt & Gravel, Mud & Trail and Sand Dunes — to the rotary knob.

Interior
Apart from a few Audi tech details, such as the configurable instrument-panel screen, the cabin is pure Bentley with its focus on exquisite detailing and rich materials. Nearly every surface on the models I drove was finished in leather, wood or chrome. There are 15 leather colors and seven veneers available for the Bentayga, and other elements, such as the seat belts and carpet, are matched to the leather color.

It's a comfortable interior with seating for four or five depending on the backseat configuration (the four-seat arrangement is an $11,015 option). The front and rear seats have firm but comfortable cushions and the backseat is comfortable for adult passengers thanks to a seat cushion that's high enough off the floor combined with good thigh support and legroom. The rear backrest reclines, too. Eventually, Bentley will offer a two-seat third row intended for children.

Ergonomics & Electronics
Rather than following BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and others with a controller-based multimedia system, Bentley has given the Bentayga a familiar touch-screen. The 8-inch dashboard screen responds quickly to menu selections and supports smartphone-style inputs, such as pinching the screen to zoom the navigation map.

The rear-seat entertainment system is a pricey $7,155. Rather than using built-in screens, the Bentayga has two 10.2-inch Android tablets that attach to the backs of the front seats and also can be used outside the SUV. The interface is Bentley-specific, but the tablets can run regular Android apps. The tablets can stream audio through the SUV's speakers and send destinations to the Bentayga's navigation system. They also can use the SUV's 4G LTE Wi-Fi internet connection.

Most of the controls are sensibly arranged, but the electronic gear selector on the center console isn't the most intuitive. On most shifters Park is the position closest to the dashboard, but in the Bentayga it's a button on the shifter itself. That unnecessarily complicates an otherwise-familiar interface.

Cargo & Storage
There's 17.1 cubic feet of cargo room behind the backseat in the five-person model and 15.2 cubic feet in the four-seat version. With 32.1 cubic feet of cargo space, the Range Rover offers considerably more room. The Cayenne's 23.7-cubic-foot cargo area is larger, too.

For $3,200, the Event Specification includes a sliding and folding rear-facing seat in the cargo area. It's built for two adults to sit at the edge of the cargo area with the liftgate open and is finished in diamond-quilted leather. The seat also serves as a cargo divider. If you only want a cargo divider, the $200 Luggage Management Specification includes a telescoping dividing bar and straps that work with standard floor rails.

Safety
The Bentayga hasn't been crash-tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Like other expensive, low-volume models, it probably won't ever be tested.

Standard safety features include automatic high-beam headlights, a blind spot warning system, pedestrian detection and warning, rear cross-traffic alert and a surround-view camera system. The optional Touring Specification adds adaptive cruise control; forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking; lane departure prevention; night vision with pedestrian, cyclist and large animal detection; and a head-up display. The package costs a whopping $7,870.

For a full list of safety features see the Features & Specs page.

Value in Its Class
Without any true direct competitors at the moment, we're left comparing the Bentayga to pricey luxury SUVs such as the Range Rover and Cayenne, the latter of which aligns well from a performance perspective.

When you consider that the Bentayga is around two to three times more expensive than the Land Rover or Porsche, you start to wonder if it's two to three times better. While the Bentayga is a very nice SUV, from a functional standpoint it's not that much better than them.

That may be beside the point for the typical Bentley customer, who has a net worth of anywhere from $5 million to more than $30 million, according to the automaker. What the Bentayga does offer is a level of exclusivity that Land Rover and Porsche can't match and that won't be rivaled until other ultraluxury brands enter the SUV segment in a few years.

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What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
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Performance
(4.8)
Interior Design
(4.8)
Comfort
(4.8)
Reliability
(4.3)
Value For The Money
(3.5)

Latest Reviews

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Extrairdinary vehicle

by Tropexotic1 from Charleston,SC on April 18, 2018

This was a custom ordered Bentayga that had everything that I would have ordered myself. It exceeded all of my needs, wants and expectations and beautifully built. Read full review

(5.0)

Toyota

by Outbackhill from Sacramento on August 9, 2017

Gas saver it was smooth and had nice features rarely had problems my friend also had the same vehicle Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2017 Bentley Bentayga currently has 1 recall

Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

The 2017 Bentley Bentayga has not been tested.

Manufacturer Warranty

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / unlimited distance

  • Powertrain

    36 months / unlimited distance

  • Roadside Assistance

    36 months / unlimited distance

CPO Program & Warranty

Certified Pre-Owned by Bentley

Program Benefits

79-point inspection is conducted by a factory-trained Bentley technician. A Certified Pre-Owned Bentley qualifies for the 24-hour Roadside Assistance program.

  • Limited Warranty

    1 year unlimited mileage

    Bentley Supported Certified Limited Warranty includes 1-year and Unlimited Mileage in addition to any remaining new Vehicle Limited Warranty.
  • Eligibility

    10 Years / Unlimited Mileage

    Vehicles receive a 79-point technical inspection.

    See inspection details.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Bentayga received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker