by Jared Rosenholtz
In last week's "Before The Drive," we looked at the upcoming Maserati Levante. Our issue was whether or not Maserati had given it bold enough styling and enough power to really stand out among other luxury SUVs. With the Bentayga the issues are very different. The Bentayga is the "the fastest, most powerful, most luxurious, and most exclusive SUV in the world" according to Bentley. With a 6.0-liter W12 engine making 600 hp and 663 lb-ft of torque the SUV hits 60 mph in 4.0 seconds and has a top speed of 186 mph.
This makes the Bentayga the most powerful and the quickest SUV with an engine. But what about an SUV without an engine? Unfortunately for Bentley, its "fastest, most powerful" SUV in the world has already been trumped by the Tesla Model X. The P90D model with the optional "Ludicrous Mode" will hit 60 mph in an unbelievable 3.2 seconds! The P90D is more powerful than the Bentayga with 762 horsepower coming from its 90 kWh 400 V lithium-ion battery pack. Already this is not that good of a start for an SUV that was meant to be the king of its segment. So far it can't compete in power with a $140,000 Tesla. With a starting price of $229,000 we really expected a little more from the Bentayga.
Moving on from performance, there are a few areas where the Bentayga can still trump the Tesla. The Model X may be more practical with seating for up to seven passengers, but the Bentley can transport those passengers in more supple luxury. The third row of the Bentayga can come with either two or three seats, and the 22-way adjustable front seats can be covered in 15 different shades of diamond stitched leather. No matter which shade you choose, those seats will include heating, ventilation, and massage functions. The interior also has a choice of 15 carpets and seven wood veneers. You can even get an optional Breitling clock that costs more than an entire Model X! The Bentayga can even go off-roading, not that anyone will take it there, though.
If you are looking for the most luxurious SUV on the market, this is definitely it. Although the Tesla may outperform the Bentley in a few key areas, raw numbers alone don't make a car great. Why else would you really spend the extra money on a Mercedes-AMG S65 when the S63 is so good? With the Bentley you get the prestige of having the most opulent SUV on the road. Both the Betayga and the Model X may have head-turning looks, but only the Bentley can really be the king of SUVs. Although the Tesla makes a pretty amazing case, especially for an EV.