Thursday, October 21, 2021
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2021 Bentley Bentayga V8 First Edition (car review)

BENTLEY’S motto is not ‘pure driving pleasure’, that’s someone else’s catchphrase. And yet, that’s exactly what the 2021 Bentayga V8 First Edition delivers; an on-road experience that’s simply beautiful.

Powered by an exceptional 4.0-litre, 32-valve dual twin-scroll turbocharged V8 petrol engine, the Bentayga powerplant is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, with the combination delivering 404kW of power and 770Nm of torque.

It has a top speed of 290km/h and can sprint to 100km/h in 4.5 seconds. Fuel economy is around 13.3-litres/100km, although if you push hard, that escalates quickly. Cylinder management technology does even it out though. It has an 85-litre fuel tank.

Powerplant aside, the First Edition is a very limited run variant, that is essentially a Mulliner personal commission, hence the Cambrian Grey paint scheme and Beluga quilted interior with contrast stitching.

Now if you don’t know who Mulliner are, think of them as Bentley’s coach building arm, like say McLaren by Design or Aston Martin’s in-house customisation team. They literally build one-off custom variants for customers.

As a result, that means this car has some special goodies, including 22-inch 10-spoke diamond turned alloy wheels, and what can only be described as the most outstanding sound system we’ve ever heard.

The Naim for Bentley audio package delivers 1,780W of power via no less than 20 speakers including active bass speakers. Unmatched in the automotive sector, it also offers eight listening modes, ranging from Digital Media to Classic.

Significantly dearer than the standard Bentley Bentayga V8, the First Edition comes also with specific badging both inside and out, embroidered Bentley wings on the seats, and Bentley Dynamic Drive, offering 48V power assisted anti-roll bars.

This last item genuinely enhances the on-road experience of the Bentayga V8, and when paired with the standard air suspension, means that even under heavy acceleration, the driving persona of the big Bentley SUV is almost cloud-like.

Ride and handling are exceptional too. We took the First Edition on what you might call an all day hot lap of Sydney’s surrounds, ducking and weaving our way to Rozelle, and then out the back of the Hills district, before taking the long way round via Hunter’s Hill.

Never once, no matter the road surface, did the Bentley feel uncomfortable to drive, but at certain points, on twisty roads around Galston and Dural, it is obvious that it’s a hefty 5-seat luxury SUV, weighing in at 2,400kg.

As part of its First Edition specification, it also grabs deep pile mats in the front and rear, sports pedals and mood lighting, brushed aluminium trims, acoustic glass to truly keep the outside world, outside, and a hands free tailgate.

Bentley’s Touring and Blackline specifications are also included and add adaptive cruise control, an enhanced safety suite, which includes head-up display, lane assist, night vision and traffic assist.

Black painted finishes on the side window surrounds, wing vent, lower doors, rear bumper, front headlight bezels and door handles complete an impressive, almost sinister look.

A five seat comfort package sweetens the interior, with front and rear ventilated seats, and front seat massagers. All of this is in addition to a standard equipment list that includes increased rear leg room over the previous model.

It’s legitimately like a lounge suite back there, with so much leg room and head room that you could just about live in it. It may be too pretty for your children though, particularly in this limited edition form.

Standard boot space is 484-litres and the seats can be laid down should you need more room. It’s super practical in that sense, and with a host of other convenience features, is well suited to being an albeit expensive, excellent daily driver.

A next generation infotainment system has also been integrated seamlessly into the handcrafted, Bentley ‘wing’ dashboard design and features a 10.9-inch display screen with edge-to-edge graphics.

The new digital display includes super high-resolution and dynamic graphics which are configurable to suit driver preferences. The latest hardware and software bring all-new navigation with satellite maps, online search and other features.

Wireless Apple CarPlay is standard for the first time, alongside the existing wired system, as well as with Android Auto. Rear seat occupants benefit from the introduction of a new, larger touchscreen remote control tablet, similar to that introduced in the Flying Spur.

On the outside, the 2021 Bentley Bentayga provides a decent overhaul of the previous model, with a larger, more upright matrix grille, and intelligent LED matrix headlamp technology that includes a new design, inspired by cut crystal glassware.

A more aggressive front bumper emphasises the performance characteristics of the car. Heated, wet-arm windscreen wipers are also introduced for the first time, with 22 washer jets in each arm.

At the rear, the new Bentayga has undergone a major transformation, with a total redesign of the rear surfaces, including a new full-width tailgate with new encapsulated lamps, while the licence plate has been moved down into the bumper.

Wide, split tailpipes leave no doubt that this is a powerful performance car. A 20mm increase to the rear track width brings dynamic benefit and repositions the wheels in their arches to improve the car’s stance.

Truly opulent in its design, the First Edition Bentayga V8 drew plenty of looks. An ironic notion, when you consider that despite its grandeur, the big Bentley is subtle in its look and feel, rather than garish, like say the Lamborghini Urus; a key competitor.

The 2021 Bentley Bentayga V8 First Edition is priced at $448,219 plus on-roads. It comes with a 3-year unlimited kilometre warranty. To offset the decent cost of servicing, Bentley also offers three and five year care plans.

Seven standard exterior colours are available, as well as 56 optional hues (yes really), with five standard and 10 optional leather interior colours, and eight different trims on offer. You can even opt for further additional bespoke paint colours via Mulliner.

Our 2021 Bentley Bentayga V8 First Edition was supplied by Bentley Motors Australia. To find out more, contact your local Bentley dealer.

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Driving experience
9
Exterior styling
9
Interior look and feel
9
Technology and connectivity
9
Family friendliness
9
Value for money
7.5

SUMMARY

Pros - super luxurious; incredibly comfortable; effortless V8 power.
Cons - feels heavy in certain driving situations; too good to let the kids in; fuel economy.
Mark Holgate
A journalist with more than 24 years experience, Mark Holgate has worked with a number of regional, suburban and metropolitan newspapers, as well as stints with motoring specific publications like Which Car? Motorsport News, Auto Action and Street Machine. He is also a contributor to DriveTribe.

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