It’s not often we drive something with gold and silver two-tone paint but then we don’t often drive Bentaygas, especially with most options boxes ticked. We check out the new V8 model with it all.
One week this month we jumped out of one high-end, hi-po British SUV powered by a V8 with forced induction and straight into another, this one with a different type of blower. Well, two as it happens, both turbos whereas the former SUV had a supercharger. We’re talking here of the Range Rover Sport SVR and the Bentley Bentayga V8, the latter just arrived in the country to supplement the W12 version and the V8 turbodiesel. We’ve not sampled the oiler, but the newbie might well be the best ‘Tayga yet.
And it’s probably not for the reasons you might be thinking, namely, less weight over the front axle with the V8 (there’s actually little in it) and less costly (well yes, of course, but not in this instance). For the local Bentley crew managed to max out the options list just to show customers what they could potentially have if they went a bit mad. And by that we mean in excess of $150k above the entry level price of $274,999.
That’s $70k more than the W12 costs. Most will option in the Touring and City Spec packs to the V8 which takes the price to just over $300k, still comfortably less than the W12. Those packs add stuff like active cruise, night vision, head-up display, lane keeping, city AEB and the like.
Anyhow, suffice to say, few V8 Bentaygas will go out the door this fully specified (to the tune of $427k). We’d imagine even fewer will be finished in the interestingly coloured Rose Gold (for her, presumably) and Magnetic Silver (for him we’d guess). The Duo Tone paint by Mulliner is something else but then so it should be for $37k. You can see how the numbers might add up.
In this vehicle almost everything that can be leather clad is, including the ceiling. That’s in case you roll the vehicle and then you’d still be sitting on leather. Why they also finish the cargo cover in leather is anyone’s guess. A novel option is a biometrically locked compartment ($5572) which also meant there were no USB ports in the vehicle.
Some of the crazy expensive options (not on this vehicle but on the list) include Black Specification ($44k), Mulliner satin paint ($73k), carbon ceramic brakes ($33k), sports exhaust ($19k), four-seat comfort spec with rear centre console ($25k), and the Naim for Bentley audio system ($19k). You could soon make quite a dent in those Lotto winnings. Alternatively, you could just buy the Mulliner variant outright if you’ve a cool $550k burning a hole in your pocket. That has most of the spec you’d want as standard.
But then you don’t really need to go the whole hog because the V8 Bentayga is a pretty mean machine without all the extras. My eyes don’t find it beautiful to behold but it does have presence, particularly on black 22s. And we’d venture to say it looks better than the W12 version which was a bit too shiny. On the V8, the external parts are blackened instead (or at least they can be for $15k) and it presents better as a result.
Inside, it’s pretty cool, even if the architecture is starting to look a bit dated. There are some bits borrowed from the Audi parts bin, like the indicator and cruise wands, the latter hidden by the wheel, where most now incorporate cruise onto the wheel itself.
However, controls otherwise work intuitively, much more so than with the Velar-based screens on the RR Sport SVR. Yes, those look astonishing but functionality is naff, and too distracting. The Bentley ones are far easier to operate without having to attend training sessions.
Moreover, the buttons and controls you use most often are close to hand. There’s no twirly mousy thingy to muss with, just buttons and a touch screen. And it’s the little things, like turning off the lane keeping, that are simple and not hidden in a maze of submenus; it’s one click away on the end of the indicator wand. Thanks for that Audi.
So to the powertrain – is the V8 up for it?We say that if you can’t stretch to the W12, this will do. Actually, it’s a wonderful second best. There’s no real weight saving; on our scales the Bent8 came in at 2486kg, just four less than the 12-cylinder Bentayga. As to output, this manages 404kW and 770 Newts (from 1960rpm), which is 43kW and 130Nm less than the W12 but still sufficient to propel the beast to 100 in a claimed 4.5seconds.
Not far adrift then from the big dog, which is rated 4.1sec. We got 4.15sec out of that so imagine our surprise when this ran a couple of sub-4.0sec zero to 100s. I think the eight-speed ZF hooks up a bit quicker in this, by way of explanation. The real test of raw power is the overtake and there the W12 remains king of the jungle, its 2.25sec 80-120km/h time eclipsing the V8’s best of 2.55sec.
However, you’d probably expect to get better economy out of the V8, with cylinder deactivation technology. We saw 20L/100km exactly when milking that oh-so-strong midrange, falling to 17s on the motorway using cruise control at the speed limit. Bentley reckons on 11.4 overall, compared with 16.0 for the W12. By the seat of the pants the V8 doesn’t feel quite as robust in the nether regions as the 12-cylinder variant, as you might expect.
And it’s a similar story with the noise. Our’s didn’t have the sports exhaust, just the Akrapovic mufflers but it still sounded completely glorious. It’s somewhat hushed in the ‘Bentley’ drive mode, though also a bit menacing. In Dynamic this gives it a war cry that befits the demolishing performance, along with ripping crackles on the overrun. If you ever tire of this, there’s always the Bentley Signature audio ($8400) to fall back on, amongst the best in the business.
And while discussing dynamics, it’s worthwhile mentioning that this also does a pretty fair job of straightening out back roads, so long as you remember to option Bentley Dynamic Ride ($11k). That comprises active sway bars, each with an electric motor in the middle run by a 48v system and applying over 1000Nm of torque to the bar ends, counteracting body lean in corners. Aided by a relatively decent 55/44 weight split, you’d not credit how well this almost 2.5-tonne hippo gets through the bends. It’s no sports car but definitely one of the more interesting ‘sport’ utility vehicles.
The RR Sport SVR which weighs as much but has a better weight split gets the edge on this, but for ride comfort it’s not in the same league. Apart from the odd short sharp shock that air suspenders sometimes have trouble dealing to, this is only ever plush and pampering, the special front comfort seats ($8k) massaging, ventilating, heating and supportive in all directions.
Competitors? RR Vogue Autobiography but that’s not really in the same performance category. The Cullinan if you really want to spend up large on something that drips class but is styled like a high-riding Phantom. The incoming $340k Lamborghini Urus promises to be an interesting new entrant in this area, bringing with it Italian style, sound and raging bull performance (484kW) and dynamics (4WD with 4WS).
|Model||Bentley Bentayga V8|
|Engine||3998cc, V8, T/DI, 404kW/770Nm|
|Drivetrain||8-speed auto, all-wheel drive|