Some three years after Bentley stirred furious controversy with its first stab at an SUV through the EXP 9 F Concept, the British firm is heading to the Frankfurt Motor Show with the production version named the Bentayga.
Despite what Bentley officials might have had us believe over the past couple of years, most of the original EXP 9 F Concept's design has been conveyed to the production model, with one notable exception: the most divisive part of the study, the front end, has been redesigned to be way less offensive and more in line with the brand's other products.
There are some other changes such as the sleeker window line and the slightly boxier rear end, but you can immediately tell that the Bentayga is the offspring of the EXP 9 F.
Inside, it's a typical super-luxurious Bentley interior, with real, handcrafted wood and metal trimmings and sumptuous leather covering just about everything. It can be had in either four or five seat configurations, all available with contrast stitching and a quilted diamond design applied to the ‘shoulders’ and bolsters, and if you're not sold yet, the front ones can be adjusted in…22 ways and come with a six-program massage system, seat heating and ventilation.
There's also a full-length panoramic sunroof, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system with a 60GB hard drive, a removable 10.2-inch Android-based Bentley tablet with 4G, WiFi and Bluetooth for the rear passengers, three available audio systems, including a 1,950 Watt unit from Naim with 18 speakers, and a flurry of other standard and optional features.
For more personalization options, customers can go through Bentley's Mulliner Bespoke program that offers among other things, some 90 additional exterior hues, 15 (!) carpet options, seven handcrafted veneers, 15 choices of interior trim hide and several alloy wheel options ranging in size from 20 to 22 inches.
Built on a modified version of the VW Group's MLB-Evo platform found on the latest Audi Q7, Bentley will launch the Bentayga with a brand-new 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged W12 gasoline engine, which the British brand says, will make it the "the fastest, most powerful, and most exclusive SUV in the world".
The 12-cylinder unit, which is connected to an eight-speed automatic and standard all-wheel drive, is good for 608PS / 600HP and 900 Nm (663 lb-ft) delivering a 0-60 mph time of 4.0 seconds (0-100 km/h in 4.1 seconds) and a top speed of 187 mph (301 km/h).
It also comes equipped with Bentley’s Drive Dynamics Mode as standard, with an optional Responsive Off-Road Setting, offering up to eight driving modes, plus a computer-controlled, adjustable air springs with four ride heights, and many electric aids such as Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) with Stop & Go, Predictive ACC, Traffic Assist and Park Assist.
Wolfgang Dürheimer, CEO of Bentley Motors, commented: “The Bentayga is truly the Bentley of SUVs. It redefines luxury in the SUV sector and offers a genuine Bentley experience in any environment, thanks to a combination of unparalleled attention to detail, go-anywhere ability and cutting-edge technology. With this extraordinary car we are looking forward to an exciting period of strong growth and sales success for Bentley. The Bentayga is the next step in our brand’s bold future.”
The Bentayga will celebrate its first public outing at the IAA Frankfurt Show from September 15 to 27, with deliveries to begin in early 2016.