Have you ever wondered where the Bentley Bentayga’s name 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 carries interest, although there’s not much that’s rugged about it. Did you know, for example, that now there are 24-billion trim combinations available? Or that the threads used inside for the stitching are even finer and ‘create Bentley’s softest lofted quilted [seats] to date’? And, that from the end of 2022, there will be a long wheelbase version available?
According to Bentley, this is ‘so much more than just a stretch’. The Bentayga Extended Wheelbase (EWB) is ‘the result of the nine-figure investment to create a new model that provides 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 big-limo market is in decline; luxury SUVs are where it’s at now, so they expect the EWB to account for 45 per cent of all Bentayga sales.
The extra room it offers comes courtesy of the 180mm added to its wheelbase. That’s now 3,175mm, while the car’s overall length is pushed to 5,322mm. This is claimed to make the cabin larger than any other luxury competitor’s, and offers an ‘emphasis on wellness’. For example, the rear seating allows 16-way adjustment of the outer seats, which have, of course, heating and cooling and five different massage functions. But there’s also the Bentley Airline Seat option. This has 22-way adjustment and can recline the backrest by up to 40 degrees – so you can kickback and kip with your feet perched on the carpeted footrest that deploys from the back of the front passenger seat.
With the Airline Seat you get heated rear door and centre armrests and, while you relax, ‘auto climate technology’ that’s monitoring your temperature and the surface humidity. Using these parameters, the system decides whether to apply heat, ventilation or both, to optimise your ‘thermal wellbeing’. It’s also measuring the pressure across the seat’s surface. Air pockets in the seat’s six pressure zones will then inflate and deflate, making consistent micro adjustments that are almost imperceptible as you lie there. These tiny vertical and twisting movements improve circulation and prevent dead spots so you’re supremely rested at the end of every journey.
There are a few seating arrangements available: a four-plus-one, a straight four-seater or a full five-seater set-up. The four-seat option allows for more centre storage and a drinks cooler, while the five-seater means you can fold down the rear backrests for improved practicality. The seven-seat option that’s available with the SWB Bentayga isn’t offered – apparently, customer demand for that layout isn’t there in the EWB.
The level of attention to detail inside has been enhanced, too. There’s millimetre digital precision employed in creating the perforations and the stitching to the leatherwork. And the perforations in the leather door trims let through 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 this, there’s an optional ‘metal overlay in veneer’ for the facia and doors. Again, it’s all about precision. 0.07mm-thin slithers of brushed metal are bonded by hand to the veneer to create intricate designs with complete consistency. Advances in the technology offered includes a handheld touchscreen, to operate the various functions from the rear, and power-operated doors – that’s a first in a Bentley.
Two trims will be available from launch: Azure and First Edition. First Edition is the one you want if those bespoke touches we’ve mentioned – the Diamond Illumination and metal veneer overlays – appeal, because they come as standard, along with a Naim stereo. You’ll be able to recognise any EWB by its elongated profile, of course, along with the new front grille – with black mesh sitting behind vertical chrome vanes – and distinctive 10-spoke 22-inch polished alloys.
Bentley Dynamic Ride Control is also part of the EWB package, and while the model pushes the emphasis more towards luxury, the driving dynamics are said to be retained – in part with the inclusion of rear-wheel steering as standard. Engine power from the twin-turbo 4.0-litre V8 remains the same at 540hp and 568lb ft. That’s certainly enough to wake up the rear occupants from their monitored slumber, offering zero to 62mph is just 4.6 seconds and 180mph flat out.
1 / 16