While many automotive brands can proudly claim they’re selling the world’s “first luxury SUV,” over in the UK we can only think of one model that kickstarted the ultra-luxury SUV madness. That would be the Bentley Bentayga, of course.
First marketed by the Volkswagen-owned luxury carmaker in late 2015, this mid-size luxury crossover SUV has never been heralded as the world’s most beautiful, most off-road capable, or even the most spacious. Still, it had a tremendous impact on those preconceptions about certain brands which should only sell one type of vehicle or the other. Sure, Cadillac was churning out one luxurious Escalade after another, there was Porsche posting record after record in terms of Cayenne sales, and there was even Land Rover who had been selling the posh Range Rover since 1970.
But no one cared about that, as everyone got struck in the head with the incredible knowledge that legendary brands, plus the world’s love for crossovers, SUVs, and trucks, along with the usual ultra-high price because it is Bentley (after all) equals god-send massive profits and the joy of introducing Earth’s affluent clients to a new niche. As if all those posh G-Class, Escalades, Navigators, Lexus LXs, and whatnot suddenly did not matter. Hey, even BMW jumped at the occasion and brought to life a new X7 flagship model for its family of SAV wonders.
Speaking of Bavarians, while Bentley opened up the affluent world’s eyes towards flaunting massive ultra-luxury SUVs as the latest means to stand out in a crowd, it was ultimately the BMW Group-owned Rolls-Royce that solidified the new niche as one of the greatest assets – both across the OEM realm and, especially, across the aftermarket world. And one can take it from experienced outlets, Bentley’s Bentayga went from progressive, forward-thinking ultra-luxury SUV to a model fighting to enter the personalization crowd’s top five… behind the Cullinan, Lambo’s Urus super-SUV, the G-Class, as well as the Caddy Escalade.
And things are only going to get tougher as we progress towards the establishment of an entire segment – as Land Rover has just sent the Range Rover into a nearby pricing stratosphere, and Ferrari is about to hit the ultra-luxury SUV party with alleged naturally-aspirated V12 dreams of crowning itself as the super-SUV king of the world. Naturally, Bentley could not just stay put and watch the cookies crumble around it while the Rolls-Royce Cullinan rival and the Italian VAG sibling (Lambo Urus) fought for the entire jar without thinking they would indiscriminately stumble on top of Escalades, G-Wagons, Range Rovers, and Bentaygas.
So, they introduced us to the Bentayga EWB in a bid to recapture the hype before it is too late and their quirky (some would even call it ugly) ultra-luxury crossover SUV becomes a historical footnote of the great bespoke SUV age. Of course, they will even have a Bentayga EWB Azure First Edition on sale during the first year of order – even if it is not exactly available across all markets, just yet. For example, the EU27, its home market of the UK, as well as Switzerland, Israel, Ukraine, Norway, Turkey, and Vietnam are not getting access to it just yet, so one can already say the Bentayga EWB is off to a rocky start.
Meanwhile, Cullinan, Urus, G-Class, Escalade, and even 2022 Range Rover aftermarket customization projects are all the rage across important regions such as North America, and it does not seem the Bentayga EWB’s apparition will sway things away from the current measure of ultra-luxury SUV things. Frankly, I would not be too surprised to see very few clients looking to be the odd ones to stand out in the affluent crowd. And my main example in that direction is Aston Martin’s DBX, which even in DBX707 form has not attracted a lot of attention among the mighty. Basically, even Mercedes might be doing a better job with its Maybach GLS 600 than Aston, if you ask me. So, is the Bentayga EWB too late or just fashionably tardive at the ultra-luxury SUV party?
Article Credit: Aurel Niculescu
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