When it comes to cars, the driver is often prioritised. How does the vehicle handle? How fast does it go? Manual or automatic? There are endless questions.
But the new Bentley Bentayga Extended Wheelbase (EWB) turns this idea on its head, as this four-seater British-built 4×4 is designed to pamper chauffeured passengers in the back — evoking the luxury of first-class air travel.
This comes as the brand this week celebrated record sales of 15,174 cars in 2022 (exceeding 15,000 for the first time). Riding on 22in, 10in-spoke wheels, the car is stretched by an extra 7in compared to the standard Bentayga wheelbase — all of it added to the rear cabin area.
Stretch out: Bentley’s extended Bentayga SUV is focused on passenger comfort
Little effort is needed, even to get in: rear doors open automatically at the push of a button.
Bentley says its two reclining rear airline-style seats are the most advanced ever fitted to a car, with 22 modes of adjustment and posture massages. You can set your seat manually or choose one of three set configurations.
Footrests deploy electronically from behind the front passenger seats and there are smart fold-down veneered picnic tables.
My variant even had a rear console between the two rear seats housing a bottle cooler for champagne, plus two hand-crafted Cumbria Crystal flutes.
A ski hatch to the boot between the two rear seats is just the job should you be heading down to the Alps for the season.
Willing family guinea pigs tried out the experience in motion while I played chauffeur. And from them it was a smug thumbs up all round.
Driving it is fun and engaging too. Powered by a 542hp 4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine linked to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, it accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds and up to 100 mph, where legal, in 10 seconds, with a top speed of 180mph.
It’s smooth in comfort mode, more engaging in default Bentley mode, and has plenty of oomph in sport mode. Electronic all-wheel steering eats corners.
But fly first class and you’ll pay prices to match — in this case an eye-watering £211,300, including £32,000 of extras.
Pricing is broadly 15 per cent above the equivalent standard wheelbase Bentayga.
New auto climate seat technology senses the temperature and surface humidity and applies heat, ventilation or both simultaneously as required to keep occupants at ‘optimum thermal wellbeing’.
Each seat automatically measures pressure across the surface and makes micro adjustments to the seating position and pressure points to maximise comfort and minimise fatigue.
My sumptuous Azure trim included a unique 22-inch ten-spoke steering wheel, bright lower bumper grilles, special Azure embroidery and badging, quilted seats, mood lighting, heated steering wheel, and a host of driver assistance and safety aids.
This four-seater British-built 4×4 is designed to pamper chauffeured passengers in the back
Riding on 22in, 10in-spoke wheels, the car is stretched by an extra 7in compared to the standard Bentayga wheelbase
Powered by a 542hp 4-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine linked to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, it accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds
It’s smooth in comfort mode, more engaging in default Bentley mode, and has plenty of oomph in sport mode
But fly first class and you’ll pay prices to match — in this case an eye-watering £211,300, including £32,000 of extras
Extras included airline seats specification (£8,395), four seat comfort specification (£2,790). The Naim for Bentley sound system (£6,860), Mulliner drinks cooler set (£4,800), and privacy glass (£1,000).
My luxurious interior also included the Bentley Diamond Illumination option (£1,810) which delivers cabin lighting through handcrafted perforated leather.
Announcing its record sales results this week, Bentley said: ‘The continued demand for SUVs ensured Bentayga remained Bentley’s number one model, selling more in its sixth year of sales than ever before, accounting for 42 per cent of total sales and establishing itself as the most successful luxury SUV in the world.’
This included ‘strong order book for Hybrid and Extended Wheelbase (EWB) models’.
Bentley Motors chairman and CEO Adrian Hallmark said: ‘The Bentayga Extended Wheelbase is our first car truly dedicated to the on-board wellness of its occupants.
‘Every Bentley gets you to your destination feeling more relaxed than when you started your journey, and yet with the Extended Wheelbase we’ve been able to go even further thanks to the adoption of world-first wellness technology embedded within our unrivalled interior cabin design.’
He added: ‘In what was another year of unpredictability, the business overcame significant headwinds and demonstrated great resilience to deliver the third consecutive record sales year.’
Will it fit in my garage? New Bentley Bentayga Extended Wheelbase (EWB) Azure
On sale: now
Price as driven: £211,300
Length: 5305mm / 208.9 inches
Width (inc mirrors): 2222mm / 87.5 inches
Width (across body): 1998mm / 78.7 inches
Height: 1739mm / 68.5mm
Wheelbase: 3175mm / 125.0 inches
Engine: 4.0 litre twin-turbocharged V8
Power: 550 horse-power (HP)
Gears: 8-speed automatic ZF
Wheels: 22 inch ten-spoke
Top speed: 180mph
0 to 60mph: 4.5 seconds
0 to 62mph (100km/h): 4.6 seconds
0 to 100mph: 10.0 seconds
MPG: 21.4mpgCO2 emissions: 294g/km
Front legroom: 1058mm / 41.7 inches
Rear legroom: 1039mm / 40.9 inches
Front headroom: 976mm / 38.4 inches (4 plus 1 seat)
Rear headroom: 972mm
Kerb weight: 2514kg
Gross vehicle weight: 3250kg
Turning circle: 11.8m / 38.7ft
Exterior: Marlin paintwork
Interior: Duo-tone cabin in Imperial Blue and Newmarket Tan leather with open pore Koa fascias and contrast stitching
Teslas achieve highest crash-test safety scores
Two electric Teslas achieved the highest crash-test safety scores in their categories — experts at EuroNCAP revealed. The Model S is the top executive car and the Model Y the safest small off-roader.
From China, the new electric Ora Funky Cat took top safety honours for small family car, while the Wey Coffee 01 triumphed in the large off-road category.
The Model S (pictured) is the top executive car and the Model Y the safest small off-roader
Korea’s Hyundai Ioniq 6 won the bestin-class award in the large family car category achieving an ‘exceptional’ 97 per cent for adult occupant protection.
EuroNCAP said: ‘Tesla has made a huge impact on the European car market due to its design, ethos and safety performance. The Model S and Model Y both achieved the highest score of 98 per cent in safety assist of all vehicles.’
Suzuki premieres battery-powered compact SUV
Suzuki has given a taste of its electric future with the world premiere of a prototype battery-powered compact SUV.
The eVX is set to go on sale within two years
The Japanese carmaker said: ‘The eVX combines Suzuki’s strong 4×4 DNA with the advanced features of the latest battery electric vehicles.’
Suzuki has given a taste of its electric future with the world premiere of a prototype battery-powered compact SUV
It is scheduled to be introduced to the market by 2025. With an exterior designed to be instantly recognisable as a Suzuki SUV, it aims to carry forward the brand’s 4×4 legacy into a new electric era.
It was launched this week at Auto Expo 2023 in Delhi, India, by the firm’s President Toshihiro Suzuki who said: ‘Addressing global warming is a priority. We are promoting a range of global measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. So I am delighted to unveil the eVX, our first global strategic EV.’