Bentley Bentayga V8

Bentley Bentayga, front action
Bentley Bentayga, front static
Bentley Bentayga, front action 2
Bentley Bentayga, front
Bentley Bentayga, side
Bentley Bentayga, rear
Bentley Bentayga, rear action
Bentley Bentayga, rear static
Bentley Bentayga, dashboard
Bentley Bentayga, front seats
Bentley Bentayga, rear seats 2
Bentley Bentayga, boot

A VERSION of Bentley's Bentayga has recently been officially declared the fastest SUV in the world, just about pipping the hottest version of Lamborghini's Urus to the post.

The Bentayga Speed features an uprated version of Bentley's six-litre W12 twin-turbocharged engine, which is capable of propelling it from 0-60mph in 3.9 seconds and on to a top speed of 190mph.

They are performance figures which seem to fly in the face of the laws of physics, given the Bentayga's bulk and stature, but the experience is not dissimilar in the more pedestrian V8.

My previous experience behind the wheel of the Bentayga was in the diesel version.

It too is smooth and swift and packs a hell of a performance punch but somehow or other there's something about a diesel engine in a Bentley that just doesn't feel quite right.

Aside from the Bentayga Speed and the ‘regular' W12 version (if indeed there can be such a thing), the other model in the range is the V8 petrol and in many ways it is the pick of the bunch.

The Bentayga range was expanded with the introduction of the V8 last year.

If you need or want an SUV, have deep pockets and really like the idea of being a Bentley owner then it ticks plenty of boxes.

In performance terms it outshines the diesel and doesn't lag far behind the standard W12 but is significantly more fuel efficient than its 6.0-litre sibling.

Don't get too excited though, with a combined economy figure of 24.8mpg you're unlikely to be turning up to Friends of the Earth committee meetings in it but it means that theoretically you could travel 464 miles on a full tank.

Efficiency, relatively speaking, is further boosted by stop-start and cylinder deactivation technology transforming the V8 into V4 when leisurely pootling along.

The adaptive air suspension system offers a tremendous boost to the overall Bentayga experience, from a driving perspective and when it comes to ride quality and comfort, both of which are sublime.

There are several driving modes, including Comfort, Sport and an in between ‘Bentley' setting.

The V8 emits a pleasing purr which can be transformed into a guttural roar when Sport mode is engaged and you put your foot down.

From a performance point of view it really is quite breathtaking. Its acceleration could put many decent sports cars to shame and the handling is hard to get your head around.

Quite how it stays so flat when cornering at speed is hard to comprehend.

One can never quite get away from its sheer bulk - at the end of the day this is a 3.2 tonne SUV - but for a vehicle like this to handle the way it does is strangley pleasing and makes for a suprisingly fun driver's car.

The jury might still be out on whether traditional upmarket car makers like Bentley and Rolls Royce should be going down the SUV route and there are certainly styling challenges but overall the Bentayga is nicely sculpted and displays more than enough Bentley DNA.

The interior is even more Bentleyesque, in what essentially is an SUV limousine.

FAST FACTS

Bentley Bentayga V8

Price: £136,200

Mechanical: 542bhp, 3,996cc, 8cyl petrol engine driving four wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 180mph

0-62mph: 4.5 seconds

Combined MPG: 24.8

Insurance Group: 50

C02 emissions: 296g/km

Bik rating: 37%

Warranty: 3yrs/100,000 miles

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