When you get a call from Bentley Manchester asking you to take their highly anticipated SUV model for spin, what do you do? Well, you conveniently add an extra day to those so called ‘non maneuverable’ deadlines that you had previously set yourself and jump on the early train to Crewe, or as it is known to many, ‘the home of Bentley’.

Prior to even arriving at Bentley’s rather overwhelmingly sizable headquarters, it is hard not to develop a set of expectations for the Bentayga that, being honest, would be pretty hard to beat. The anticipation is largely due to the price tag that is attached to the car – which once you have merely glanced at the list of extras will take most excitable Bentley customers well past the £200,000 mark. One added extra available is none other than a £110,000 Tourbillon timepiece which at first thought could be described as unnecessary. However, you soon realise that you are sat in arguably the most premium SUV ever to go into production, and if you’re going to do it, do it properly, right?

So what does the car offer?
As soon as I entered the vehicle, I couldn’t help but think back to the factory tour which I had experienced only minutes earlier. I wasn’t sat in a mass produced car manufactured predominantly by robots, but a machine that is the result of ultimate craftsmanship and a clear obsession for detail. Most elements throughout the car are indeed hand crafted and can be constructed bespoke to every individual customer. It seems that buying a car from Bentley is like buying a suit from Savile Row, you ultimately end up owning something that has been designed as much by you as it has the manufacturer.

However, it is not only the flawless hand crafted interior that strikes you when entering a Bentley Bentayga, but the amount of technology and driving options that are ready and waiting for you. Its intelligence is what makes the Bentayga stand out amongst other premium SUVs; the car is equipped with what is known as the ‘Bentley Dynamic Ride system’ (BDR).

It seems that buying a car from Bentley is like buying a suit from Savile Row, you ultimately end up owning something that has been designed as much by you as it has the manufacturer

The BDR is an active body control suspension system that incorporates electrically controlled active anti-roll bars, powered by a supplementary 48v electrical system. This system delivers a flawless driving experience both on and off the road. The drive mode settings cater for all occasions, and includes a choice of Comfort, Sport, Bentley and Custom.

Leaving Bentleys headquarters and venturing over to Oulton Park’s off-road course, the car was put to the test. One factor that might have raised some initial concerns was the Bentayga’s 2,440kg Kerb Weight. However, the 600bhp, 5950cc, W12 twin-turbo petrol engine would have something to say about that. It is remarkable to think that the same vehicle that has just breezed through an intensive off road course with laughable ease also achieves 0-60 mph in just 4.0 seconds, as well as offering a top speed of 187mph.

Arriving back at the Bentley Headquarters, I drove past several eye catching, factory fresh bespoke models out for their first test drive (including a bright yellow Continental GTS), which made me start to re-evaluate my initial concerns of whether it being a good idea to invest in this car. However, it is quite clear that the Bentayga has been built for a certain individual: someone who takes their top of the range Range Rover straight from the showroom and into an after-market specialist for further customization, simply because what was already on offer wasn’t good enough.

The Bentley Bentayga has well and truly eliminated any initial concerns I may have had, and succeeded my expectations by offering the performance, stylishness and build quality that everyone was hoping for. The fact that this rather beautiful SUV drives like a supercar (when you want it to) puts it in a league of its own. The Bentley Bentayga now acts as a benchmark for what is a brand new ultra premium SUV market, which is no doubt about to explode, courtesy of the Crewe based automotive legends. Bentley have just created their own market, and we can’t wait to see what other luxury automotive giants will do in response. EJ

Bentley Models available at:
Bentley Manchester
Mobberley Road, Knutsford, Cheshire
WA16 8GT, United Kingdom
01565 220315