New Bentley Bentayga First Edition: first examples delivered

Bentley’s 600bhp luxury off-roader is the world’s fastest SUV, and we have all the details

This is the Bentley Bentayga SUV, an all-new model and the first SUV ever produced by Bentley. It's available to order now, and customers have taken delivery of the first batch of First Edition models at the brand's headquarters in Crewe.

The Bentayga is set to be the fastest and most powerful SUV in the world, and, as you might expect, one of the most luxurious. It was designed and engineered at Bentley’s factory in Crewe where it will also be built.

Buyers have the choice of four and five-seat options, while a plug-in hybrid model are likely to go on sale at a later date.

The Bentley Bentayga First Edition is, as its name suggests, be the first version to of the car to hit the streets. Just 608 examples of this model have been offered, but despite their £229,500 price tag, Carbuyer understands they’ve all been sold already.

The Bentayga is on sale now at Bentley's dealerships in London and around the UK.

Check out Bentley's own launch trailer of the new Bentayga here:

Bentley Bentayga First Edition

The Bentley Bentayga launched with a special edition called the Bentley Bentayga First Edition. It features a range of exclusive details, including Union flag badges, illuminated tread plates and 22-inch alloy wheels. Just 10 colours will be offered, including the shade of silver-white pictured.

Inside, the Bentley Bentayga First Edition features ‘Diamond within Diamond’ quilted leather trim and more Union flag badges.

Each Bentley Bentayga First Edition is supplied with one of three Breitling watches, including one that features a ‘personal locator beacon’. These watches will be available as an option to buyers of the standard Bentayga at a later date.

Styling

The Bentley Bentayga was previewed by a concept car called the Bentley EXP 9 F back in 2012. The styling proved to be controversial, so the next few years saw the firm’s designers refine the looks. While the Bentayga shares a lot with the divisive EXP 9 F, the Bentayga has a far sportier and more muscular look befitting its considerable performance.

Despite being one of the most distinctive cars on sale today, the Bentley Bentayga features quite a lot of styling cues that debuted on the most recent Bentley Continental GT facelift. The ‘wings’ in the front bumper, for instance, have been carried over from the Continental, as have the chrome ‘Flying B’ air vents in the front wings just behind the wheels.

Other details are currently unique to the Bentley Bentayga – such as the daytime running light ‘halo’ around the front headlamps, the metal guard under the front bumper and the LED ‘B’ in the rear lights.

The alloy wheels on offer measure 20 or 22 inches in diameter.

Interior and equipment

As expected from a Bentley, the Bentayga’s cabin is one of the most luxuriously appointed of any car on sale today – and certainly any current SUV.

Similar in layout to that of the Bentley Continental GT, the Bentley Bentayga’s cabin is predominantly crafted out of leather and wood veneer, with most of the rest consisting of knurled metal inserts. A diamond-quilted pattern also features on the door inserts above the armrests, as well as on the seat bolsters.

Despite the traditional craftsmanship on display, the Bentayga also has one of the most hi-tech cabins ever seen in a Bentley. For instance, the eight-inch touchscreen in the centre console is the largest and most advanced to be fitted to a Bentley road car, while the digital display in the dashboard can swap out the instrument readouts for a sat-nav map or an infrared night-vision view of the road ahead.

Other noteworthy gadgets in the Bentley Bentayga include a head-up display, a pair of 10.2-inch touchscreens that double as detachable tablet devices and full ventilation and adjustment options for all seats in the four-seater model.

Bentley has also added features that enhance the Bentayga’s abilities off-road. For instance, the air suspension can be raised or lowered from inside the cabin and four of the car’s eight driving modes (selected using a Land Rover-esque dial on the centre console) are dedicated to maximising traction on surfaces like mud, gravel and snow.

A lot of safety kit is fitted as standard as well, ranging from adaptive cruise control and a traffic-sign recognition system to rearwards-facing radar that detects and warns of crossing traffic when you’re reversing out of a parking spot.

Currently, the Bentley Bentayga is available in four and five-seater configurations. A seven-seater option will be added in 2016 – presumably with third-row seats that fold out of the boot floor, instead of being permanently upright.

Engines and performance

At launch, Bentley Bentayga buyers will only be able to choose one engine: a turbocharged, 6.0-litre, 600bhp W12. There’s only one gearbox choice, too: an eight-speed automatic.

Despite weighing 2,422kg, the Bentley Bentayga is capable of reaching incredible speeds. According to Bentley, the 0-62mph sprint takes just four seconds, while the Bentayga’s claimed 187mph top speed is equally impressive.

The Bentley Bentayga’s engine also features cylinder-deactivation technology, which hasn’t appeared on a W12 until now. By shutting down six of the 12 cylinders when you’re cruising gently, the engine uses less fuel.

Yet despite these fuel-saving measures, the Bentley Bentayga is still a thirsty car, with claimed fuel consumption of 22mpg. CO2 emissions of 292g/km also put it in the most expensive band for road tax – although buyers will probably be easily able to afford the £505 annual fee.

Upcoming Bentayga diesel and hybrid models are expected to bring running costs down – especially if the hybrid can run solely on electric power for shorter journeys. However, they’re not expected to make the Bentley Bentayga noticeably more efficient in real-world driving than the current car.

Off-road performance

Bentley has designed the Bentayga to be as at home in Chile’s Atacama desert as it would be on the streets of Kensington in London. Our sister title, Auto Express found a prototype version of the Bentayga proved to be very capable at tackling muddy slopes and rocky terrain, even if it wasn’t quite as agile as a Range Rover.

The Bentayga features adjustable air suspension as well as a Land Rover-style rotary selector that allows you to change 19 different parameters to maximise the car's off-road performance. Four of the car’s driving modes are all about maintaining maximum grip, including when driving on snow or sand.

While the Bentayga has proven itself to be a capable off-roader, it's unlikely that many Bentayga owners will venture far off the beaten track.

Price and release date

Prices for the Bentley Bentayga will start at £160,200 and steadily rise as more and more options are added. If you’re in the position to afford it, Bentley’s Mulliner personalisation programme can tailor your Bentayga exactly to your desired specification.

Bentley won’t reveal official pricing for the seven-seater, diesel and plug-in hybrid Bentayga models until later next year, but it’s expected that these versions will be considerably more expensive than the standard car.

Order books for the Bentley Bentayga are already open, with the first deliveries due in early 2016. However, high demand for the car means those placing their order now almost certainly won’t receive their Bentayga until 2017.

For more on Bentley's range, check out Carbuyer's reviews page.

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