Bentley just put their first and the most refined diesel engine ever into their Bentayga. Making it the most powerful posh diesel SUV in the world. Proving once again that luxury needn’t end where there is no more road. Dieter Losskarn spent some quality time in this epitome of rolling luxury.
In 2016 Bentley was the first top luxury carmaker to manufacture an SUV and to no surprise it turned out to be a palace on wheels. Thus defining a whole new vehicle segment. This year Lamborghini reacted with the Urus and Rolls Royce with the Cullinan.
And Bentley put the first ever diesel engine in 99 years of company history into their SUV. This sophisticated V8 is a silky smooth affair and a great alternative to the V8 and W12 petrol powerplants currently moving the SUVs. The only difference is the black grille of the diesel, instead of a chrome one and the rather ugly diesel badges on the sides. With a base price of almost R3mio it also costs more than a million Rand less than the top petrol model. But with an average consumption of about 7 litres/100km it is the most economical Bentley ever. Accomplishing more than a 1000km with one tank fill.
The serene interior smells like I remember the W12 Bentayga I was fortunate enough to drive in England in 2016. Like a gentlemen’s club of old. Think deep gloss lacquer, thick aromatic leather,smooth polished metal surfaces, mesmerizing matching rare wood veneers and perfectly placed hand-stitched seems. The ambience literally screams for a cigar and a single malt. But it would be undignified to scream in a Bentley.
Inside you’re in another world, detached from reality. You pull past traffic, fly across country roads. Effortlessly, despite the 2.5 tons beneath you. The 4.0-l. V8 accelerates the luxury cruise ship in 4.8 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h and reaches 270km/h with ease. While the 8-speed automatic shifts gears unnoticeably.
Its despite the size incredible handling is a result of the electric active roll control technology, which made it necessary to boost the electrical system to 48 volts. Thus reacting three times faster than any hydraulic system.
I corner the beautiful Franschhoek bends almost as if I was piloting a sportscar. Paired with the enormous torque of the engine this is a rather exhilarating affair.
Owned by the Volkswagen group for two decades now, the Germans managed successfully to retain the Britishness of Bentley. Just like BMW conserved the legacy of Rolls-Royce, the other British epitome of rolling luxury.
The Germans just added some of their renowned and ingenious technology. The aluminium-paneled MLB platform shares its architecture with the family members of the Bentley, namely the Volkswagen Touareg, the Porsche Cayenne, the Audi Q7 and the Lamborghini Urus. It is up to the design teams to build an individual car on top of this template, as unique as possible. The Lamborghini has to look and feel Italian, the Bentley British. I think even the former railway and aircraft engineer Walter Owen Bentley, who founded the company bearing his name on 18th January 1919 would agree that the Germans did a rather splendid job in preserving his heritage.