Bentley has every right to be proud of surpassing 20,000 Bentayga sales since the model launched in 2016. Sure, there was every indication that it would do well but there was no absolute guarantee that the world's first luxury SUV - a car hard to spec for under £150k - would fly out of showrooms. But now, in a world where a £165k SUV has doubled Lamborghini sales and even Ferrari is about to launch its own high-hip option, we now know just how prudent the introduction was. Quick recovery from a global pandemic permitting, it shows no sign no slowing either, hence the comprehensive list of changes applied to Bentley's pioneer for 2020 - which amount to a car that's even "further away from the competition" than before, according to CEO Adrian Hallmark.
While the basic VW Group MLBevo underpinning is the same as before, Bentley's altered the Bentayga face with a mandatory-for-2020 larger and more upright front grille and sleeker, 82-LED headlights. The rear's been substantially tweaked as well, its wheels sat on a 20mm wider track, its bumper receiving the numberplate and the lights now designed to mimic those of the Conti GT. The car also sits on new 22-inch rims and gets two new colour options - Viridian green and Patina white. Combined, it means the 2020 car's overall look is quite different to that of a pre-facelift one, although few would mistake it for anything other than a Bentayga. Which is entirely the point.
Inside, things are familiar, but you are given a predictable boost in technology, with Apple CarPlay now wireless, a SIM connection standard and a super high res, anti-reflection 10.9-inch infotainment screen replacing the car's original system. You also get a higher res HUD and instrument cluster, as well as USB-C ports and wireless phone charging as standard - although that's hardly something to brag about in 2020. Rear passengers get a larger remote-control touchscreen, taken from the Flying Spur, and legroom's been improved in the back, too, for both five and four-seat cars, with the latter receiving the most generous growth of 100mm when the seats are reclined.
Given that one of the Bentayga's original USPs was the lavishness of its cabin, you won't be surprised to hear that much work has been done on expanding the option list. Customers for all variants - including the V8, Hybrid and W12 Speed - are given more choice than was offered with the original, extensive options list. A new dark tint brushed aluminium and two straight-grained veneers - Koa and Cut Walnut - are available, while quilted micro piping can be added to the leather seats for the first time. But the general layout and hand-finished details that set the Bentayga apart from the merely plush remain as before. It means no two Bentayga interiors will alike, which is handy when you're customer base craves exclusivity.
At the business end, Bentley will first launch its 2020 spec Bentayga with the twin-scroll turbocharged 4.0-litre V8 and eight-speed auto, producing the same 550hp and 568lb ft torque outputs as before, delivering a 4.4 second 0-60mph time and 180mph top speed. The W12-powered Speed will return, likely with the pre-update car's twin-turbo-produced 635hp (although it's TBC). No major changes there, then, but as one of the world's most broadly capable luxury machines, it was arguably not required. That said, the addition (finally) of the Hybrid will provide the Bentayga with a 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 and E motor powerplant - shared with Porsche's Panamera 4 E-Hybrid - for the first time. It also kicks off Bentley's electrification era, creating its most efficient car yet (until, of course, the Conti GT receives its own version of the system).
Bentley claims a boost to the Bentayga's lateral performance no matter the engine thanks to the widening of the Bentayga's rear tracks. With each wheel now sat 10mm further out from car's centre line, it's said to enhance the anti-roll Dynamic Ride technology, improve steering response and make the car more predictable at pace. The car's eight existing drive modes (four on- and four off-road) remain unchanged, suggesting the inherent character will continue as before, which is all anyone could have asked for. Expect the 2020 version to deliver pomp and ceremony no less well than before when production begins at Bentley's self-distancing Crewe HQ in the coming months.
1 / 24