Have you ever wondered where the name of the Bentley Bentayga comes from? Well, apparently it has a number of influences, including the Swahili word for “carried interest” and the Roque Bentayga, which is a rugged peak on the island of Gran Canaria. Well, the fact that it’s Bentley’s best-selling model certainly proves that it’s worth it, although there’s not much robustness to it. Did you know, for example, that there are now 24 billion finish combinations available? Or that the threads used inside for stitching are even finer and “create Bentley’s softest quilting. [seats] nowadays’? And, that from the end of 2022, a long-wheelbase version will be available?
According to Bentley, it’s “much more than just a stretch.” The Bentayga Extended Wheelbase (EWB) is “the result of a nine-figure investment to create a new model that offers the best rear cabin experience since the Mulsanne”. That’s a big statement, because the now defunct Mulsanne was the archetypal Bentley limousine. But, as Bentley reports, the market for large limousines is in decline; luxury SUVs are where they are now, so they expect ISF to account for 45% of all Bentayga sales.
The extra space it offers is due to the 180mm added to its wheelbase. It’s now 3,175mm, while the car’s overall length is pushed to 5,322mm. The cabin is claimed to be larger than that of any other luxury competitor and offers an “emphasis on well-being”. For example, the rear seats allow 16-way adjustment of the outer seats, which of course have heating and air conditioning and five different massage functions. But there is also the Bentley Airline Seat option. This one has 22-way adjustment and can recline the backrest up to 40 degrees, allowing you to back and forth with your feet perched on the carpeted footrest that folds out from the rear. from the front passenger seat.
With the Airline seat, you get a heated rear door and center armrests and, while you relax, “automatic climate control technology” which monitors your temperature and surface humidity. Using these parameters, the system decides whether to apply heat, ventilation, or both, to optimize your “thermal well-being”. It also measures the pressure on the seat surface. Air pockets in the seat’s six pressure zones inflate and then deflate, making constant micro-adjustments that are almost imperceptible when you lie down in them. These tiny vertical and twisting motions improve circulation and prevent dead spots so you’re extra rested at the end of every ride.
There are a few seating arrangements available: a four plus one, a straight four or a full five seat configuration. The four-seat option allows for more center storage and a drinks cooler, while the five-seat option means you can fold down the rear seatbacks for added convenience. The seven-seat option available with the SWB Bentayga is not offered – apparently the customer demand for this layout is not there in the EWB.
The level of attention to detail inside has also been improved. Millimeter digital precision is used to create the perforations and seams of the leatherwork. And the perforations in the leather door trim let in light (from 12 LEDs in the front doors and 22 LEDs in the rear doors) that will wow you at night. Bentley calls this feature Bentley Diamond Illumination, in case you were wondering.
On top of that, there’s an optional “veneer metal overlay” for the faceplate and doors. Again, it’s all about precision. Ribbons of 0.07mm thick brushed metal are hand glued to the veneer to create intricate patterns with total consistency. Technological advances on offer include a hand-held touchscreen, to control the various functions from the rear, and power-operated doors – a first in a Bentley.
Two versions will be available at launch: Azure and First Edition. The First Edition is the one you want if those bespoke touches we mentioned – the diamond lighting and metal plating overlays – are appealing, as they come standard, with a Naim stereo. You’ll be able to recognize any EWB by its elongated profile, of course, as well as the new grille – with black mesh sitting behind upright chrome vanes – and distinctive 22-inch 10-spoke polished alloys.
Bentley Dynamic Ride Control is also part of the EWB package, and although the model places more emphasis on luxury, driving dynamics would be retained, in part with the inclusion of standard rear-wheel steering. Engine output from the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 remains the same at 540 hp and 568 lb-ft. That’s certainly enough to wake rear occupants from their guarded slumber, delivering zero to 62 mph in just 4.6 seconds and 180 mph flat out.