Since it launched in November 2015, the Bentley Bentayga has redefined the luxury SUV sector - more than 20,000 examples have been built and, in 2019, it alone accounts for 45 per cent of Bentley's global sales. Well, now it's time for a midlife update and the British marque has done a comprehensive overhaul job. We've seen the new Bentayga up close and personal already, so here's our rundown on the main changes.
Visually, you will not mistake the post-facelift Bentayga for the pre-facelift model, because Bentley has gone to town on the thing, drafting in the current portfolio-wide styling cues that were first seen on the current Continental family. To that end, we're going to start at the back of the Bentayga, because significant sheet-metal alterations have seen the oval rear-lamp clusters similar to those fitted to the Conti brought in, while the number plate moves from the middle of the tailgate down to the back bumper. This allows for wide-spaced 'Bentley' badging on the now-smooth boot hatch and really helps take visual weight out of the Bentayga.
At the front, the lamp clusters are more ovoid than round in shape, and they're also further apart and 30mm higher than they were on the pre-facelift cars. In turn, there's a larger grille, a more aggressive front bumper and lower airdam and, in a practical switch, a set of front wipers with 22 washer jets integrated into each arm. Along the sides, a longer wing vent sits above the front wheels, while the lower door mouldings are all-new. Furthermore, the Bentayga's rear track width is increased by 20mm, which not only improves the handling but also the SUV's stance; the vertical faces of the wheels now sit flush with the bodywork, instead of slightly inboard.
On the subject of wheels, a new design of 22-inch alloy is available in two finishes brings the total choices of rims for the plush SUV to five, while two new colours are added to the body palette - Viridian, a dark shade of metallic green based on the EXP 10 Speed 6 Concept Car, and Patina, an off-white finish.
Technology meets tradition
Inside, there are more changes, although - sadly - the Bentayga does not yet gain the magnificent Bentley Rotating Display you get in the Continental. However, the 10.9-inch infotainment is bigger, brighter and higher-resolution than before, with Bentley also claiming it has improved the response of the touchscreen to human inputs. New door trims are complemented by a redesigned steering wheel, which sits in front of a fully digital instrument cluster instead of the old part-analogue affair. Similarly, the pair of traditional, twin 'bullseye' air vents in the centre of the fascia have been replaced by a single item with a flowing chrome bezel, while wireless Apple CarPlay connection is now supported, along with Android Auto (in certain markets). A wireless smartphone charging pad is standard-fit in the facelift cars, there are USB-C data ports in the cabin and two sound systems peak with a 20-speaker, 1,780-watt Naim premium set-up.
More practically, the Bentayga has three possible seating configurations. There's a four-seat model, a five-seat version and, for those who want it, a seven-seat, three-row affair. In the most luxurious four-seat Bentayga in particular, the wider rear track width has allowed for a repositioning of the back seats, freeing up 30mm more kneeroom for passengers in the second row sitting in the upright seating position, and up to 100mm more kneeroom with said seats reclined. Factor in new wood trims and stitching options, as well as the larger touchscreen remote-control tablet as seen in the Flying Spur for rear-seat passengers, and the Bentayga's superb interior is even better than ever on the facelifted models.
V8 power from launch
Bentley will launch the revised Bentayga with the 4.0-litre twin-turbo petrol V8 as the first and only engine. This continues from the pre-facelift model and delivers 550hp with 770Nm, allowing for a 290km/h top speed and a 0-100km/h time of 4.5 seconds. Bentley says it will go up to 746km on a single tank of fuel, thanks to 21.2mpg (13.2 litres/100km) economy, while emissions are 302g/km. That's despite the fact that the V8 can shut off half its cylinders and run as a 'four' when it needs to, in order to save fuel.
Following the V8 model, the Plug-In Hybrid and Speed variants will follow on, but there's no room in the revised line-up for either the Diesel model - due to slow sales - or the 'regular' W12; now the Speed is here, there's apparently little call for two different 6.0-litre Bentaygas.
'Very definition of the luxury SUV'
Adrian Hallmark, the chairman and CEO of Bentley Motors, said: "From its moment of launch nearly five years ago, the Bentayga has been the very definition of the luxury SUV. Like the Continental GT, the Bentayga created an entirely new part of the market and since we set the benchmark, many others have joined the sector. But no other car can offer a breadth of ability to rival the Bentayga.
"With the new Bentayga, we're repositioning the pinnacle of the luxury SUV segment to be even higher, even further away from the competition. We've listened to our customers and made improvements to the areas most important to them, and the new Bentayga is a thoroughly modern and beautiful extension of the original car's abilities and achievements."