Indulging in Elevated Comfort
In the realm of luxury SUVs, the 2023 Bentley Bentayga reigns supreme, showcasing a fusion of power, comfort, and the undeniable ability to command attention anywhere it roams. However, after spending nearly a week navigating city streets while relishing in its performance and opulence, I find myself pondering a new perspective. It dawns on me that my focus should shift to the rear seat, where the true narrative of luxury unfolds.
I find myself in the confines of an extended wheelbase Bentayga Azure First Edition, equipped with the Airline Seat Specification. The experience is akin to occupying a business class seat on a premium airline. As evening descends, I assemble a cheese plate and retreat to the rear seat, placing my charcuterie on the veneered picnic trays thoughtfully positioned beneath the 10.1-inch screens. With a gentle recline against the plush headrest, I am transported into the realm of trans-Atlantic flight luxury.
The space within is lavish. The wheelbase extends an additional 7 inches beyond the standard Bentayga, offering ample room for calf stretches and relaxation. The First Edition elevates the ambiance with Diamond Illumination on the door panels, casting a regal glow through its purple ambient lighting. While not as theatrically captivating as the Starry Night Sky feature in the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, the Bentayga’s 22 LEDs create a cosmic tapestry by glimmering through perforated leather.
The centerpiece of this experience is undoubtedly the Airline spec seats, boasting an impressive array of 22 adjustable positions. Beyond the expected massage settings, Bentley introduces a Postural Adjustment System, applying up to 177 pressure changes over three hours to ensure continual comfort. As I conduct virtual work meetings with my feet up, the system provides a welcomed luxury. While I did not spend the full three-hour duration in this reclined comfort, the various adjustments offered a refreshing respite. The cupholders prove to be reliable companions as well.
A key enhancement lies in Bentley’s decision to extend the sunroof rearward by approximately 5 inches, prioritizing the comfort of rear passengers. The result is an airy atmosphere that feels even more spacious when reclined. The automatic climate control system fine-tunes the surface temperature, underscoring Bentley’s commitment to passenger well-being. After some playful exploration of the settings, I managed to configure the front passenger seat to provide maximum legroom, extended a footstool, and luxuriously reclined for a brief interlude.
Speaking of driving, the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 engine empowers the Bentley Bentayga with 542 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of torque, propelling both driver and passengers to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds. Handling this sizable SUV on the road is a nuanced experience. While the V8’s power doesn’t intimidate, the elongated hood can be slightly challenging, particularly due to the restricted visibility out the back (clearly, passenger comfort remains paramount). The all-wheel steering system aids maneuverability, allowing the Bentayga to execute impressive U-turns even in tight spaces.
Surprisingly, the cabin encounters a bit more road noise than expected during highway travel. The symphony of road noise and wind makes its presence known during rush hour traffic on Interstate 75 in Detroit’s suburbs. While not overpowering, this soundscape is characteristic of most SUVs cruising at highway speeds. The Naim speakers, however, triumphantly counteract external disturbances with their refined soundscape.
Sport mode becomes my preferred setting during the drive, aligning the eight-speed transmission shifts optimally with the V8’s prowess. Engaging the throttle rewards with a discernible growl, although the powertrain’s demeanor is more refined compared to the exuberant eight-cylinder SUVs from rivals like Jaguar and Maserati. The vehicle’s agility extends to off-road ventures, where the Bentayga exhibits impressive composure on compacted dirt roads thanks to the 48-volt active anti-roll system, Bentley Dynamic Ride.
Priced at $263,500, the Bentley Bentayga certainly exudes opulence. Its circular headlights adorned with diamond-shaped accents, extensive chrome detailing, and imposing grille deliver an imposing presence. Adorned in a subtly regal shade of purple, my test vehicle maintains an air of sophistication even under overcast skies. Riding on 21-inch painted machined wheels, the Bentayga commands attention while maintaining an aesthetic that aligns with counterparts like the Cullinan and Lamborghini Urus. Elegance with a touch of extravagance is the order of the day.
The Bentayga EWB (Extended Wheelbase) encapsulates prestige and lavishness in a unique manner. It’s one thing to fashion a spacious SUV with luxurious seating, but Bentley takes it further by engineering these seats to actively enhance passenger