Bentley Bentayga: Part 2 of the Super SUV Showdown
My heart’s pounding and adrenaline’s coursing. I’m high on speed. The Lamborghini Urus leaves you breathless, after that everything should be downhill. And then I step into the Bentley Bentayga and, wow, this is something else. And I am yet to drive the Mercedes AMG G 63 and the Porsche Cayenne turbo.
Where the Lambo is all aggression and fighter jet cues, dark sporty cabin that cocoons itself around you and focuses on just the driving, the Bentley Bentayga feels like an English castle. It’s huge! Like really, really massive! The space is measured not in metres but acres. The carpet is thick shagpile, just like the lords like it. The furnishings are all real metal that’s cold and expensive to touch. The leather is soft and luxurious. And everything can be personalised. Want your family crest on the headrests instead of the Flying B? Sure. Individual buckets at the rear? Of course. Sport exhaust? The Bentley Bentayga is making sounds that are even more exuberant than the Lambo. This particular example is the money-no-object kind with carbon lashings, black-chrome package, leather over more leather, bigger rims, side steps that deploy when you open the door, everything. And thus trimmed you’re looking at an invoice of around 6.5 crore rupees. Yikes! Two crore rupees in just options!
Super SUV showdown part one - Lamborghini Urus
The Bentley Bentayga is a money-no-object SUV
The Bentley, then, isn’t for everyone. If you thought Lamborghini was high end, the Bentley straps on a booster rocket and fires off into the stratosphere: in price; in spec; in lavishness; in customisation; and, most awesomely, in the engine department. The Bentayga doesn’t get a mere twin-turbo V8, though you can get a V8 if you want. The SUV I’m driving gets a W12, with two turbos breathing into it. A W12! The last of VW Group overlord Ferdinand Piech’s vanity-engineering projects where cost was never a concern. A colossus of an engine, shaded only by the Bugatti’s W16, it makes 600bhp but that pales into insignificance in the face of the 900Nm of torque. If our god’s didn’t fly they’d move mountains using the W12’s torque. And the driving experience is truly extraordinary.
Super SUV showdown part three - Mercedes-AMG G 63
It’s like the horsepower of a petrol, mated to the torque of a diesel. You step on it, nothing so boy-racerish like Launch Control, and the W12 spins away furiously, the nose rearing its head like a bull to a red rag. That’s the horsepower of an angry petrol motor. And then, gear after gear, the W12 accelerates without any let-up, any dip in the rate of acceleration, without any drop in the g-forces, all the way to 301kmph. 301kmph in an SUV! That’s the inexorable, unstoppable torque of a big brute of a diesel; the hand of god shoving you towards the horizon. The overall experience is unlike anything else you might have driven and it suits the in-yer-face character of the Bentayga to the hilt. This, after all, is the SUV for those who don’t need/want/care to compromise on anything. If you’re buying a Bentley you might as well go the full nine yards and stump for the W12. Are you really worried about fuel efficiency?
Super SUV showdown part four - Porsche Cayenne Turbo
The Bentley Bentayga is pure English super luxury
Truth be told Bentley’s opulence comes as no surprise. The ride quality too is proper super-luxury. You don’t feel a thing. You don’t hear a thing. But its speed, it’s handling, the genuine enthusiasm in its road manners, that’s a revelation. It, quite obviously, is not as focused as the Lambo but it remains a hugely enjoyable SUV to drive. And it’s all amplified by the gurgling, popping, banging and very naughty exhaust note. Get off the gas at 2000rpm and it gurgles non-stop, the W12 gargling petrol like an oil sheikh. It is over the top, a money no object SUV – not so much a Super SUV but a Super Luxury SUV.