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Frankfurt show: Bentley exposes Bentayga

Made in England: The Bentley Bentayga will be hand-built at the company's facility in Crewe, England, and should arrive Down Under next year.

Three years after the controversial EXP 9 F concept, Bentley reveals Bentayga SUV

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Bentley logo9 Sep 2015

By TIM NICHOLSON

BENTLEY has finally uncovered its Bentayga SUV, revealing a hulking W12-powered high-riding wagon that the iconic luxury brand is referring to as a “true Bentley”.

Lifting the covers off the Bentayga a week out from its Frankfurt motor show debut, Bentley says its first SUV is “the fastest, most powerful, most luxurious and most exclusive SUV in the world”, Australian timing is unclear at this stage, but Bentley said in a global press release that customer deliveries will start in early 2016, so expect it to roll into local showrooms mid to late next year.

Pricing is also yet to be confirmed, however the W12 version of the Flying Spur sedan retails for $423,160 plus on-road costs Down Under. The Bentayga could sit in this vicinity or perhaps a little higher.

Bentley Motors chairman and chief executive Wolfgang Durheimer said the Bentayga will lift the British car-maker to new sales heights when it is officially released.

“The Bentayga is truly the Bentley of SUVs,” he said. “It redefines luxury in the SUV sector and offers a genuine Bentley experience in any environment, thanks to a combination of unparalleled attention to detail, go-anywhere ability and cutting-edge technology.

“With this extraordinary car we are looking forward to an exciting period of strong growth and sales success for Bentley. The Bentayga is the next step in our brand’s bold future.”

The design is an evolution of the polarising EXP 9 F concept that divided opinion when it was revealed more than three years ago at the 2012 Geneva motor show.

It carries the same basic shape with puffed out rear three-quarter panels over the wheel arches providing a muscular look, and a traditional-style Bentley bonnet, but other elements have been toned down from the concept.

The front end has a softer look and the odd headlight design of the EXP 9 F has thankfully been replaced by a more 'Bentley' set incorporating four round LED lights that is similar to those on the Continental GT sportscar and Flying Spur.

It features smoother and more rounded aluminium front fenders and the large matrix grille leaves little doubt of the Bentayga's brand heritage.

The Bentayga uses “the largest single-piece aluminium pressing in the automotive world”, according to Bentley, and it also features an integrated skid plate in the lower front bumper, discreet headlight washers hidden in the outer headlight's body-coloured centre.

At the tail end, the Bentayga has a sportier look compared with the concept, with a lip on the tailgate and redesigned tail-lights with a 'B' motif, while a split-pane panoramic glass roof makes up 60 per cent of the roof that can be covered with an electric roof blind, with a pair of aluminium roof rails sitting to either side.

Bentley says the use of lightweight aluminium in the Bentayga has made for a 236kg weight saving compared to a more traditional body construction.

Underpinning the British-built SUV is the MLB2 platform that is said to be shared with a number of Volkswagen Group products, including the second-generation Audi Q7 and the 2017 Audi A8. Wheel sizes for the bespoke alloys range in size from 20 to 22 inches. Under the chunky bonnet is an all-new 6.0-litre W12 TSI engine, producing 447kW at 6000rpm and 900Nm from 1250-4500rpm, matched with a ZF eight-speed automatic transmission and a permanent four-wheel drive system, helping the Bentayga reach 100km/h from standstill in 4.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 301km/h.

A combination of direct and indirect fuel injection has helped deliver low emissions and improve power and torque delivery, according to Bentley, with the 2422kg SUV offering an official combined fuel economy rating of 12.8 litres per 100 kilometres on the European cycle, and CO2 emissions of 292g/km.

Idle-stop tech, and the Variable Displacement system which shuts down half the engine under certain conditions if it is not needed, have ensured the latest W12 is 12 per cent more efficient than the old W12 from the Flying Spur and other Bentley models.

The company has confirmed that the Bentayga will also be available with a diesel and a hybrid powertrain down the track.

The VW Group-owned brand says the Bentayga underwent “the most exhaustive” development process in the company's history, covering five continents and completing more than 400 laps of Germany's famed Nurburgring Nordschleife circuit.

To ensure the big SUV is capable off-road, Bentley has fitted it with the Dynamic Ride electric active roll control technology (optional), Drive Dynamics Mode, Responsive Off-Road setting (optional) Electric Power-Assisted Steering, ESC, multi-mode traction control and Hill Descent control.

The Bentayga has a four-link double-wishbone front and trapezoidal multi-link rear suspension set-up, and it also features multi-mode air suspension and Continuous Damping Control.

It measures 5141mm long, 1742mm high and 1998mm wide with a 2992mm wheelbase, which is about 89mm longer, 1mm higher and 30m wider than the new Audi Q7, while the wheelbase is 2mm shorter.

Bentley says the Bentayga boasts “the world's finest automotive cabin”, with hand-selected veneers, hand-crafted polished metal elements on the doors, dash and centre console, and typical Bentley 'wing' design for the dashboard and bulls-eye airvents.

Individually crafted front seats feature 22-way adjustment, a six-program massage system and heating and cooling, while other seats – whether in four- or five-seat configuration carry contrast stitching and quilted diamond design.

In four-seat configuration, the two individual rear seats are 18-way adjustable and feature massage and ventilation functions and a footrest, while in any layout, rear seat occupants benefit from a 10.2-inch removable Android tablet with 4G, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. Activating the hands-free tailgate reveals a cargo area capable of stowing 430-590 litres worth of gear and an optional folding 'event' seat which matches the style of the cabin seats and can be used to face outwards from the boot to watch the polo.

High-tech features and driver aids include a Predictive Adaptive Cruise Control and Traffic Assist systems that uses sat-nav data, cameras and sensors to predict corners and speed-limit changes and modifies the speed accordingly.

It also features Traffic Sign Recognition, Cross Traffic Warning, a surround view monitor, Park Assist, an 8.0-inch touchscreen and a choice of three different sound systems.

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