A few years back the concept of SUV (sport utility vehicle) referred to a vehicle similar to a station wagon or estate car; usually equipped with four-wheel drive for on-road or off-road ability. Some SUVs include the towing capacity of a pickup truck with the passenger-carrying space of a minivan or large sedan. The "SUV" acronym is used nowadays to define nearly anything with available all-wheel drive and raised ground clearance.
So how about a super luxurious SUV?
I still think some of the wealthiest people around the Middle East and the GCC were often discussing why automakers hadn't produced a SUV true to its meaning, but also with a super twist of luxury. Around the Levant area (Lebanon, Jordan and Syria) the most expensive SUV was the Range Rover Vogue Autobiography. Around the GCC people were looking into both the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG and the G65 AMG. Now the whole game has changed with the launch of the first ever super luxurious, most expensive and fastest SUV on planet earth: the Bentley Bentayga. Let me give you some facts about the Bentayga's direct competitors.
The Mercedes-Benz G65 AMG delivers 621 horsepower and 1000 Nm of torque. The Bentayga is 21 horsepower less and 100 Nm less of torque. On the other hand, the Porsche Cayenne Turbo S hits 100 km/h in just 3.9 seconds. The Bentayga runs that race 0.2 seconds slower. The Range Rover Autobiography can bath its metal through 35.4 inches of water, overcome nearly 12 inches when toiling off-road, and tow 7716 pounds. The Bentayga can only bath 19.6 inches of water, get to 9.64 inches toiling off-road, and is rated to tow only 7714 pounds.
We acquired the Bentayga for just a one-day drive from the official Bentley distributor in Lebanon, Saad & Trad, so we couldn't take it off-road to test its abilities. In terms of drivability, I can say that it still feels like a Bentley. Basically, it drives like a Continental GT with a higher stance. But keep in mind this one is pretty fast! Driving position is rightly right. I loved the massage feature in the seats that gives a luxurious flair to the interior cabin. Other than that, it is not a super engaging SUV to drive. Expect to get out thrilled with its stiff suspension. This is the right kind of SUV for those billionaires with the big yachts parked in the Dbayeh Marina where we did our photoshoot. In fact, a couple of those boat lords approached us during our photoshoot on the Marina. Some of them didn't reach for the price tag and the others cared about the engine compartment. What is the Bentayga good at apart from its super luxurious cabin and exterior looks? Performance - although it is not engaging to drive throughout corners. But it grabs me with such ferociousness that it blows my mind. It can't put all its power down, but pins me back in the seat so hard it causes me to shout out loud, "Wou-ha. Again!"
Its modern luxury interior is handcrafted in Britain; the Bentayga boasts the world's finest automotive cabin, with unrivalled levels of precision. The detailing in metal, wood and leather - including careful tolerances between elements of trim - sets a new standard in automotive design. This level of perfection is achievable due to the exceptional skill of Bentley's people in the Crewe factory.
So, all in all, my opinion will be as fast as the Bentayga is. I'm telling you, it will sell since it does feel like a genuine Bentley. (To all of you in Lebanon, the price tag is somewhere around $400,000 USD plus!) But, one thing not to forget to mention: Bentley is the only player in the ongoing show of "super-luxurious SUV" at this moment - that is until Rolls-Royce, Aston Martin, and Lamborghini make their presence known…
Pros: Immensely fast, remarkable chassis, luxurious cabin, gorgeous looks
Cons: Super expensive price tag, not really suitable for off-road adventures
Rivals: Mercedes-Benz G65 AMG, Range Rover Vogue Autobiography
one word: Bentley-of-SUVs
6.0L twin-turbocharged, W-12 cylinder, 600 hp @ 5000 rpm, 900 Nm @ 1350 rpm
8-speed automatic, AWD
0-100 km/h: 4 sec, top speed: 301 km/h, fuel consumption: 14.8 L/ 100 km
Weight: 2427 kg