We’ve been seeing a series of significant changes coming from the house of the Flying B of late, Bentley just last week finishing up production of its flagship Mulsanne saloon car, as the British prefer to call it.
Now, the ultra-premium automaker is rolling out a major mid-cycle update of one of the two models that will, moving forward, serve as its flagships. In this case, that’s the Bentley Bentayga SUV.
We’ve been hearing rumors and seeing spy shots for some month, and what Bentley is delivering hews pretty much to expectations. And that means taking the big SUV even more upmarket to compete more directly with the likes of the newer Rolls-Royce Cullinan, which makes sense as the Bentayga is the best-selling model in Bentley history, topping 20,000 sales since its launch. It saw an 18% growth in 2019
“With the new Bentayga, we’re repositioning the pinnacle of the luxury SUV segment to be even higher, even further away from the competition,” said Bentley Chairman and CEO Adrian Hallmark. “We’ve listened to our customers and made improvements to the areas most important to them, and the new Bentayga is a thoroughly modern and beautiful extension of the original car’s abilities and achievements.”
Hallmark noted during a call discussing the new flagship ute that this is the first new product launched under the new “Beyond 100” business plan as it moves past its centennial.
This serves as the keystone for the company as it moves into the future, and in the “next 10-20 years we’ll see radical changes for the industry and Bentley itself.”
For now, the new 2021 Bentayga picks up on the updated design language we’ve been seeing in other recent models, including the latest-generation Flying Spur – the brand’s new sedan flagship following the demise of the Mulsanne.
That starts with a larger “matrix” grille with new smart headlamps designed to resemble cut crystal. The headlights use 48 separate LEDs, which adjust to the performance mode the vehicle is set up in. The 2021 Bentayga gets more assertive front and rear bumpers and, in back, the entire tailgate and surround have been redesigned, with the SUV getting new encapsulated taillamps and split tailpipes.
To give the SUV a more planted look – and ride feel, the rear track has been widened by 0.78 inches, as well. New wheels are available, all the way up to a 22-inch design.
In terms of other dimensions, the car grows 0.4 inches wider overall, and the hood has been raised by nearly 1.2 inches. That, along with the revised rear spoiler, give the 2021 Bentayga a slightly longer appearance but, in fact, the SUV’s wheelbase and overall length remain the same.
Interior changes, notes Bentley, include “a new center fascia and steering wheel, new door trims and all-new seats — now available with ventilation in the rear of the five-seat cabin option.
Passengers in the rear also enjoy significantly more space, with legroom increased by up to 3.93 in (I 00 mm) depending on configuration.” The new model can be configured in a variety of ways, including a seven-passenger version.
The current infotainment system also gets a much-needed upgrade and will be accessed through a new, 10.9-inch touchscreen display featuring edge-to-edge graphics. And the display is now reconfigurable to a driver’s preferences. New onboard connectivity means the motorist won’t have to provide their own data service. Android Auto is standard, as is the wireless version of Apple CarPlay.
These days, power is measured in many ways, and the new Bentayga can be equipped with a 20-speaker Naim audio system punching out a full 1,780 watts.
From an engine perspective, the 2021 Bentley Bentayga also makes plenty of power. Its 4.0-liter, twin-scroll-turbocharged V-8 makes 542 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque. Pushed through an eight-speed automatic, torque going to all four wheels, that’s enough to launch the big SUV from 0-60 in just 4.4 seconds, with a top speed of 180 mph.
Bentley also promises to bring a new, “performance-focused” Bentayga Speed model which will feature more aggressive styling and the power of the automaker’s 6.0-liter W-12 engine. Specs weren’t revealed but that engine makes as much as 582 hp in the Continental GT.
The automaker also hints it will “later” add a hybrid version of the Bentayga. The plug-in will go beyond the package available in the outgoing SUV to become “Bentley’s most efficient model ever,” it claims.
“A hybrid can turn an SUV into a regular family car in terms of (fuel) consumption.”
Other notable features on the 2021 Bentayga will include an update of the Bentley Dynamic Ride system, an electrically activated anti-roll technology, the on- and off-road Bentley Drive Dynamics mode selector, and optional All-Terrain Specification. Up to eight different driving modes can be selected at a turn of a dial and immediately adjust functions including throttle, transmission and active damping.
A number of specs, including fuel economy, haven’t been released yet. That includes pricing — though company officials indicated the new model will run around 5% more than the outgoing Bentley Bentayga which started at $160,000, and which can run to well above $200,000 when fully equipped. The new model goes on sale in July. The PHEV will roll out in various markets over the coming months, the Bentayga Speed to follow in 2021.