Clock this debut; On the road LATEST MOTORING NEWS WITH COLUMNIST COLIN GOODWIN.
IMAGINE the embarrassment. You've invited friends round to have a look at your new Bentley Bentayga and one of them notices that it's fitted with the standard clock and not the optional Breitling version.
They might even think you aren't rich enough to splash out the extra PS117,000 required for the Breitling timepiece to sit in your dashboard, even though you may have added loads of options to the entry-level PS160,200 new Bentley.
And, boy, can you add some options to the company's first-ever SUV. We're used to testing cars that are carrying a few quids' worth of extras, but our Volcanic Black Bentayga is what the trade call fully loaded.
Take the paint. It's the optional pearlescent finish which adds a cool PS9395. I presume you can't buy a tin of it at Halfords.
Then there's Styling Specification. I'm not even sure what that is, but it'll set you back another PS19,800.
In fact, excluding that outrageous clock, you can pile around PS75,000-worth of extras on to this car. Bentley planned to build 3500 Bentaygas a year but the demand for them has been so strong that it has been lifted more than 5000.
Bentley won't tell us how many they have sold but I doubt you increase production by that amount if you've not got a lot of names in the book.
And the company must make a fortune on each one sold because underneath the skin is the same chassis that's used for the Audi Q7 and that will be used on the next Porsche Cayenne and Volkswagen Touareg.
All Bentley have had to do is design new panels, stick their W12 engine under the bonnet and kill a lot of cows for the interior. Oh, and chop down some trees for the woody bits inside.
You can't say the Bentayga is beautiful but I wouldn't go so far as to say that it's ugly - so let's just describe it as imposing. It certainly looks like a Bentley and it certainly goes like one.
Even though it weighs a monstrous 2420kg, its bulk is thrust down the road by a 6.0-litre engine producing 600bhp.
The top speed is 187mph and it'll do 0-62mph in 4.0 seconds. But no one will probably ever try doing that top speed - or any other of the tricks the Bentayga can perform.
Bentley launched their SUV in Palm Springs, California, where you can find challenging off-road conditions, a race track and sand dunes within 100 miles. We were taken to all three.
To throw a PS235,945 car around a motocross circuit requires a healthy disregard for other people's property.
While the Bentayga is not quite as good as a Range Rover off road, it can do far more than any owner would require.
Apparently, the first thing that wealthy Arab sheikhs do with a new SUV is head out to the desert and blast up the first steep sand dune that they can find.
If the car doesn't make it to the top, it is deemed hopeless and, from then on, no one would want to be seen in one.
As we proved, the Bentayga will happily play storm the sandcastle.
It's also not bad at thundering around a race track, although I really can't imagine anyone will ever take it around one.
I forgot to have a look at the trip computer while we were on the circuit - the official combined fuel consumption figure is 21.6mpg - but it'll have been in single figures.
However, emissions and economy don't matter in a car like this. Comfort and luxury do, and here the Bentayga scores 11 out of 10.
The air suspension is comfortable and the acres of leather look gorgeous.
Later, Bentley plan to add a seven-seat version, diesel and V8 petrol engines, and a hybrid powertrain.
Here's a prediction. By the end of the year, you won't be able to move for Bentaygas in the players' car parks at Premier League clubs.
And I'll bet that a few of them have even got the flash Breitling clock in them, too.
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Feb 26, 2016|
|Previous Article:||Beemer and a bowler; On the road LATEST MOTORING NEWS WITH COLUMNIST COLIN GOODWIN.|
|Next Article:||A Series of improvements; MAGGIE BARRY reckons BMW's popular 3 model now features better looks, greater levels of comfort and some brilliant engines.|