MO­TOR­ING

The im­pres­sive new Bent­ley Ben­tayga V8 Diesel SUV

House and Leisure (South Africa) - - Contents - COM­PILED BY JULIET MCGUIRE PHO­TO­GRAPHS SUP­PLIED

The newly launched Bent­ley Ben­tayga V8 Diesel kicks off at R2.95 mil­lion. And with a price tag like that, you’re per­fectly right to ex­pect the fastest and most pow­er­ful SUV ever made to be seam­lessly blended with pure Bent­ley op­u­lence in the brand’s first-ever diesel-en­gine char­iot.

The ve­hi­cle – it doesn’t re­ally feel like ‘car’ is the right word – has a rather dis­tinc­tive de­sign, to say the least. It might not be to ev­ery­one’s taste, but Bent­ley wants the de­sign cues to en­hance the Ben­tayga’s in­di­vid­ual char­ac­ter. The Bent­ley client is not ex­actly one look­ing for sub­tlety or some­one who prefers to fade into the back­ground: a Bent­ley cus­tomer wants bold, and that front chrome grille cer­tainly achieves it. The loudly con­fi­dent looks carry over to the rear, where you just need to look at the two twin-quad tailpipes to see that it sports a sig­na­ture pow­er­train be­neath the bon­net.

And what would be the point of a car that looks like this but doesn’t boast any­thing un­der the cov­ers? Bent­ley says that the Ben­tayga has the most tech­ni­cally ad­vanced en­gine in the world, and at the heart of this 2.5-ton beast lies a 4-litre, 32-valve V8 diesel pow­er­train. At the same time, clean tech­nol­ogy means it has the low­est CO2 emis­sions of any Bent­ley and a range of more than 1 000km.

Unique to this en­gine is its triplecharg­ing sys­tem, which con­sists of two ex­haust-driven tur­bocharg­ers and one elec­tri­cally pow­ered one. The en­gine is no­tice­ably quiet and you’ll be for­given for for­get­ting to turn the car off (should you be driv­ing it your­self, of course). It’s the en­gine that has gar­nered much of the at­ten­tion in the run-up to its ar­rival, be­cause it is a first from Bent­ley, and be­cause it’s so re­fined yet su­per pow­er­ful. A whop­ping 900Nm of torque drives this 5.14m-long beast.

The in­te­rior is just as re­mark­able, with five stan­dard hide colours and seven stan­dard paint colours ( plus more than 100 op­tional Bent­ley paint hues) to choose from. The hand­crafted cabin is com­pletely cus­tomis­able. It takes 12 hours for a Bent­ley spe­cial­ist to hand­stitch just the steer­ing wheel, and each of the 15 sur­face pieces is shaped by the brand’s ar­ti­sans and fin­ished with trade­mark at­ten­tion to de­tail.

While some tra­di­tion­al­ists might not like the idea of a Bent­ley SUV, the Ben­tayga is an in­stant leader of the pack in the niche lux­ury SUV mar­ket.

un­der the bon­net

Model: Bent­ley Ben­tayga Diesel En­gine: 4 ℓ , 32-valve triple-charged V8 diesel, 320kW, 900Nm, 0–100km/h in 4.8 sec­onds Com­bined fuel con­sump­tion: 8.0 ℓ /100km Lug­gage com­part­ment: From 431 ℓ (de­pends on seat con­fig­u­ra­tion) Price: From R2.95 mil­lion

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