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When the phone rang and a representative from Bentley Middle East offered us a test drive of the new Bentayga, we pinched ourselves to make sure we were not dreaming. After all, this was a car that will not come to our region until November, but since a pre-production unit couldn’t catch its flight back to Crewe due to the pandemic, we zipped across the city and made our way to Dubai Autodrome to pick it up. With all the formalities signed and out of the way, we had a few short hours with the bodacious Bentley and decided to make the most of it.
Making our way from the Autodrome to the Al Maha Desert Resort on Dubai Al Ain Road, we got to experience the refined yet ferocious 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 in all its glory. With it set in Comfort mode, the Bentayga is everything a Bentley should be, smooth, quiet, and dignified but a simple twist of the Drive Select switch to Sport and the engine roars to life. 550 horsepower and 770 Nm of torque are big numbers for any car and even more so for a luxury SUV. With the accelerator pedal mashed to the floor, the 8-speed gearbox shuffles cog after cog to hit 100km/h in 4.5-seconds and a top speed of 290km/h.
Dripping with class, the interior is fantastic and even more so when specced by Bentley’s customization division, Mulliner. The quilted leather and new cross-stitch embroidery envelopes the cabin in a dark green hue contrasted with red stitching on the door panels, seats, and steering wheel. Being the sportier of a few available options, our test car was embellished with a brushed aluminum inlay while the standard car receives dark wood and piano black inserts.
At the back, the new Bentayga is either offered as a 4-seater, 5-seater, or 7-seater, the last of which is not a particularly favored choice in the Middle East. Rear seat occupants also receive a new tablet controller that allows them to control the blinds on the panoramic roof and also heat/cool the seats. Those seated in the center will also get an undisrupted view of the 10.9-inch infotainment screen and the new central A/C vent design with an integrated analog clock.
When it comes to features, the new Bentayga has every feature imaginable from seats that offer multiple massage options to one of the best adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping systems in the business. Two features that particularly stand out, however, are the wireless connectivity to Apple CarPlay and the automated parking system that utilize the numerous sensors and cameras around the vehicle to automatically park the Bentayga.
The Alpine Green hue that coated our test car was unique but then again, being a Bentley and a Mulliner spec at that, it could have had any color under the sun. Since it did have the optional Black Pack, all the brightwork was converted to a rich, gloss black, including the grille, headlight surrounds, and window line. The keen-eyed enthusiasts will be quick to spot that the grille on the Bentayga is more upright than the outgoing model and the bodylines have been reworked for a more structured design. The big changes, however, are at the back where there are new oval taillights, oval exhausts, and a reworked boot release button embedded into the Bentley logo.
While our time with the new Bentayga was short, it reminded us of how special and exquisite Bentleys truly are. The new Bentayga is sure to be a hit when it hits our SUV-loving market in November later this year.