First Drive: 2020 Bentley Bentayga SUV Treats Drivers Like Royalty

But the premium price doesn’t bring all the safety features you would expect

2020 Bentley Bentayga driving

SUVs are the dominant species in the wild world of cars now, and prestige brands such as Aston Martin and Maserati are eager to cash in on their cachet. Enter the Bentley Bentayga, an ultra-luxury midsized SUV designed to attract status seekers.

The storied Bentley brand has British roots, but it's now a boutique entry within the Volkswagen conglomerate. This has enabled the Bentayga to be based on the impressive Audi Q7, a high-scoring model that has been recently updated.

Given Bentley’s reputation for pampering drivers, it was expected that its version would cost more than the Q7—but three times as much? Yes, and that’s just for starters.

Bentayga buyers take advantage of the bespoke ordering process, enabling them to outfit their vehicle with a variety of added features and meticulous appearance details. This can add tens of thousands of dollars to the $165,000 base price. The decadent Bentayga is offered in the U.S. with three different powertrains, a turbocharged V8, turbocharged W12, and plug-in hybrid. Other markets also have a diesel engine.

Luxury SUV Road Tests

To see how royal the driving experience is, we rented a Bentayga V8 from the automaker. It came with about $50,000 in opulent extras. We don’t intend to buy one to test.

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What we rented: 2020 Bentley Bentayga V8
Powertrain: 550-hp, 4.0-liter turbocharged V8 engine; eight-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
MSRP: $165,000
Options: Paint ($6,155), contrast stitching ($2,135), Mulliner Driving Specification with 22-inch wheels ($16,040), Centenary Specification ($1,850), City Specification ($3,915), Front Seat Comfort ($3,835), Rear Privacy Glass ($2,125), two-tone steering wheel ($490), deep pile floor mats ($535), veneer trim ($690), Naim audio system ($5,050), and Bentley Dynamic Ride ($5,315).
Destination fee: $2,725
Total cost: $215,860

2020 Bentley Bentayga interior
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