When it comes to luxury, more is always better. So a bigger, more opulent Bentayga is sure to go down well.
What does a Bentley Bentayga owner want in life? We bet it’s a need for more; extra market share, greater profits and a bigger Bentayga in the garage. This is the Bentayga EWB, the extended wheelbase model.
They’ve added 180mm to the length, all of it dedicated to the rear passengers and so this is a Bentayga that is all about the backseat experience. While a ‘typical’ New Zealand buyer is more likely to drive their Bentley than be driven, never underestimate the need to have the best, biggest and most lavish.
We know things are expensive these days but this whopper takes it to the next level with its $620,000 price tag. The ‘regular’ Bentayga starts at $378k, and the EWB kicks off at $427k, although that’s before any consideration is given to options.
And this black beauty is brimming with extras. On top of its First Edition specification, there is the Blackline specification, the Mulliner Driving Specification and the Styling specification. Talk about being spec’d to the nines.
While we’re reluctant to label the regular old Bentayga as a wallflower, the EWB has added presence; it’s a commanding machine at over 5.3m in length, with meatier proportions. This looks particularly menacing with its all black addenda, the grille darkened with just the Bentley wings and the bejewelled headlights bringing the bling up front.
It’s the same for the flanks, while the 22s have the optional always upright Bentley centre caps. They’ve managed to sneak some carbon trim in as well, although in all the most vulnerable places as it covers the front splitter and sills, along with the wing on the rear.
No cheap seats here
It’s not often that we are fizzed up about sitting in the back seats of a vehicle but we simply had to in the EWB. The rear doors are simply enormous – they’d be worrisome in a tight car park – but we imagine EWB owners won’t be jostling for space at the local Pak’nSave.
They come with an electrically assisted closing function; the chauffeur can simply push on the outside handle and it closely elegantly, while there’s a button inside for the passenger. The expansive opening eases entry and egress as does the acreage afforded to legroom.
This has the Airline Seat option with a pair of recliners that enables you to stretch out, the passenger side also fitted with a footrest. For those on the left, select the relaxed position, and the seat sinks back, while the front passenger pew motors forward to give even more leg room. This tester is fitted with a middle seat, though the four-seat configuration seems more appropriate.
And we’d opt for the console bottle cooler, complete with bespoke Cumbria crystal flutes, even if the cooler has room for just one bottle. There is a small tablet-like remote allowing the driven folk to control the media, the climate, even the lighting of the interior, as well as the screen on the seat back.
Along with serious amounts of legroom, passengers can choose from multiple massage functions and the seat will make myriad minor adjustments on the go to aid comfort and prevent the need for any squirming.
The Airline Seats mean you’ll fit fewer cases of Dom in the boot as the bulkhead robs a little luggage space, though there looks to be enough for a couple of golf bags.
The level of opulence in the cabin is off the scale, many cows dying happily knowing their fine hides will grace just about every square centimetre of the interior.
We like the ambient lighting emanating from the perforations in the door cards. This was also fitted with exquisitely lavish lambskin rugs in the footwells. Kick off your Gucci loafers and your feet luxuriate within the fine wool.
We did a few miles in the back as the staff ferried us about. It’s a serene place to watch the world go by, while deep tints and retractable blinds help filter the gaze of onlookers. A Bentley doesn’t really ‘waft’ as such but there is a cosseting ride to the city gait, though you’re never completely isolated from the road. It’s quiet of course but you can still hear the burble of the lovely V8.
Up front is traditional Bentley fare with copious veneers and chrome bling, the hewn vents with their organ stops adding to the colonial ambience.
The conservative buyer will like the raft of retained buttons and the moderate screen, though it does now seem quaint. The Audi-sourced wands grate, while the gear lever had the slightest wobble about it, which would annoy if you’d paid $620k.
Despite the added mass and length, it does go surprisingly well. The twice blown V8 offers a generous amount of both power and torque but all in a refined manner. There is a graceful launch feel – you don’t want to be lurching off the mark – and the auto slips its ratios pleasingly.
It’s reactive enough and so there’s always an abundance of surge there for you. Despite fuel saving tech, the V8 loves a drink, the long term average sitting at 19.9L/100km. And there’s no hybrid version as the battery doesn’t fit due to EWB’s rear-wheel steering (more on that in a second).
Of the drive modes, it defaults to Bentley, a ‘just so old chap’ setting that optimises everything for whatever you’re doing. Comfort adds a dollop of gooiness to proceedings, good for city roads but B mode is advisable on highways as it adds better body control.
Rear-wheel steer is fitted as standard in order to make round town manoeuvres easier. While it doesn’t whip around in a snip, it’s manageable and the RWS also aids dynamics at speed. Despite the long wheelbase, it turns quickly thanks to the steering rears, while they can also aid stability in faster bends by turning in the same direction as those up front.
Coupled with the active roll control and adaptive air springs, the EWB keeps itself tidy for what is a massive, high-riding limo. Given a chance to run, the V8 races towards 6800rpm as the auto snaps a gear and it can amass speed indecently quickly for a lounge room on wheels. Even the brakes do a decent job of hauling it all up in a hurry.
A fitting range topper?
The Bentayga EWB effectively replaces the departed Mulsanne and highlights why SUVs now rule the luxury set. It’s an elegant limo to ride in with palatial accommodations in the rear while the ride height also allows for more dignified access. And with the level of customisation and extras, buyers can make it their own, and elevate the price if they need to outdo their golfing buddies.
|Model||Bentley Bentayga Azure EWB|
|Clean Car Discount||Fee – $6900|
|Engine||3998cc, V8, T, DI|
|Drivetrain||8-speed auto / AWD|
|Stability systems||ABS, ESP, TV|
|Safety||AEB, ACC, BSM, LDW,|
RCTA, ALK, AHB
|Tow rating||750kg (3500kg braked)|
|Service intervals||12 months / 16,000km|
|Warranty||3 years / unlimited km|
|ANCAP rating||Not rated|