If you are seeking an ultra-luxury SUV, you will want to put the 2021 Bentley Bentayga on your list for consideration. In the circles where Rolls-Royce’s Cullinan, Porsche’s Cayenne Turbo and Land Rover Range Rover’s roam, one will feel right at home in the 2021 Bentayga. Bold and beautiful, the updated Bentayga, just like its competition, has a price tag that may cause one to blink just a wee bit before taking the buying plunge when the standard price is $177,000. That is until you take a gander at some of the changes Bentley made in the 2021 Bentayga. On the exterior, a wider more upright, matrix style grille gives it more pizazz while being a tad more macho and the 22-inch wheel designs give it added display of stamina. The headlights soften the overall look by appearing as a pair of glorious and glistening, multifaceted Hope Diamonds. Only prettier and more sparkly.
Inside the Bentayga seemed far roomier and infinitely more beautiful than my first east coast apartment, but I digress. The model I drove for several days was a Bentayga V8 and with the additional options came to a total price of $239,815. And it was a sight to behold. Possessing wine and creamy vanilla colored leather interior throughout including the door panels that Bentley has monikered “Linen and Cricket Ball,” it had diamond cross stitching trimmed with shiny two-tone blond and dark wood panels. It was, perhaps to state the obvious, opulent in the extreme and unimaginably comfortable. Think contented cocoon only grandiose.
If you need some time, just want to daydream, or simply stare at a beautiful creation without heading to a museum, the Breitling analog clock perfectly placed on the fascia features a stunning dark mother-of-pearl face caressed with eight diamonds set at the index positions. This is both timely and elegantly timeless.
On the tech side, and also courtesy of the 2021 changes, the Bentayga has a new 10.9-inch touchscreen infotainment display and it is so easily intuitive to use, I was up and running in minutes. It is AppleCarPlay compatible and Android Auto is standard. There are front and rear USB ports and a large wireless charging pad. The optional 20-speaker Naim sound system coupled with the cabin’s silence while driving meant tuning out the rest of the world and tuning in to music was an absolute pleasure.
There is 17.1 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row which is sufficient for a stealth shopper or a couple of large suitcases or several carry-on wheelie bags. With the second row down, there is 62.6 cubic feet of space, ample even for a profusely persistent purchaser. The kick opening feature for the liftgate was a nice switch from the usual swooshing sway opening of other luxury SUVs. Less of a cha cha movement – when you are certain the neighbors think you’re severely intoxicated – and more of a concerted, straightforward movement. As an admitted serial schlepper, I found it completely perplexing though that in an automobile of this caliber putting the second row down was a manual proposition. And it didn’t go 100-percent flat limiting to a degree the movement of extremely large items in a totally lie flat position.
Of course since the second row is a split two plus one, hoisting the seat back up was actual manual labor even though I am hardly a shrinking violet. Granted, while many Bentley owners would have valets or persons Friday to engage in such activities, still one would expect it to be push button automatic. The 542-horsepower 4.0-liter twin turbo V8 engine possesses 568-pounds feet of torque making one definitely not want to heed any applicable speed limits on the highway. Getting way above those lofty speed limits however required depressing the pedal all the way down to the metal.
While I shall plead the 5th against self-incrimination respecting my own personal speed, Bentley correctly reports the Bentayga reaches 100 miles per hour in just under 10 seconds. And once the pedal was down, driving felt more like piloting – smooth and super quiet – and I was pretty sure that had I channeled my inner Thelma and Louise, I could have achieved lift off to the friendly skies. No doubt the founder of Bentley would have been proud of his plane-like progeny. In the city steering felt a bit stiff for sharp turns and parking in tight spots and was surprisingly slow to react compared to the Rover or significantly more expensive Cullinan.
Like many of its brethren in the ultra-luxury SUVs powered by gas, there will be no green awards given. The Bentayga V8 gets 15-mph in the city and 24-mph on the highway. As with all Bentley models, the Bentayga comes with a three-year limited warranty regardless of mileage and the first year’s maintenance is included. This type of luscious luxury indeed comes at a price. But at this price point for metal, speed and shiny things that go zoom in the day and night, decisions are by definition more impassioned. In which case, if you are in this market for uber lux wheels, you just may find yourself an owner of a 2021 Bentley Bentayga.