Yorkshire Times
Weekend Edition
Andy Harris
Motoring and Property Editor
12:00 AM 4th May 2024

Bentley Bentayga Azure – A Mighty Fine Way To Travel

On the drive last week was a prime example of the Bentley Bentayga, in extended wheelbase guise. Resplendent in a rather fetching shade of ‘Cricket Ball’ satin and paired with 22-inch bright machined ten spoke alloy wheels, this was a car to be noticed in.

Under the bonnet sat a familiar 4.0-litre twin turbocharged V8 engine. Power is 550PS, enough to propel this gargantuan and weighty luxury SUV from rest to 60mph in just 4.5 seconds. In the real world it feels every bit as quick and should you find yourself on a derestricted autobahn, top speed in around 180mph.

The silky smooth ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox and permanent all-wheel drive ensure that all that power can be safely deployed whatever the weather and should ensure that some light off-roading will be possible. I stuck to terra firma, not wanting risk damaging those smart and oh-so-expensive alloys.

I doubt fuel economy is high on the list of Bentley owners’ worries, but over 600 miles of mixed running, the trip computer read a little over 23mpg, about the same as the company’s quoted combined economy figure. You can specify a plug-in hybrid drivetrain for your Bentayga, which from previous experience will allow around 30 miles of fully electric running. Lovely if you can charge overnight at home.

Ensconced behind the wheel, the brutish Bentley always impressed. Slower traffic was dispatched with a mere twitch of the right foot, the heady 700Nm of torque being readily available from low revs. The V8 engine is an aural delight, though it only will be heard when fully extended.

Subjected to most of my favourite local test routes, I found the Bentayga surprisingly easy to hustle down narrow country lanes. Excellent visibility, sharp speed-sensitive power steering and adaptive suspension all played their part. I preferred the ‘Sport’ setting as it firmed up the suspension nicely, without disturbing the car’s exemplary ride comfort.

However, the Bentayga is a cruiser first and foremost and any version will make a wonderful long-distance travelling companion. I travelled south for the recent ‘Scramble’ event at Bicester Heritage and arrived fresh after nearly four hours behind the wheel.

It is generally accepted that Bentley make some of the finest interiors currently on offer by any manufacturer and having toured the Crewe factory, you can see not only the care and attention that goes into the creation of each car, but also the quality of the materials used.

This is all readily apparent when you open the Bentayga’s door and glimpse the exquisite cabin within. The seats are clad in the very best quality leather and whether up front or in the rear, comfort is guaranteed. I rather liked the traditional wooden dashboard, though Bentley offer a myriad of different finishes to suit.

My test car was fitted with the optional four-seat comfort specification with rear centre console. In this configuration, each rear seat could be adjusted independently and were as comfortable as the pews up front. All seats come with a massage function, ideal to sooth away the stresses of that board meeting or a day spent engaged in country pursuits. And with this being the extended wheelbase model, legroom in the rear is generous to say the least.

All my rushing around did nothing for the Bentayga’s fuel economy. As I have already mentioned, I managed to record a smidgen over 23mpg. However, with the list price of £219,800, it is doubtful that the lucky Bentayga owner will be at all concerned. He or she is more likely to wonder what lovely extras can be added to ensure their car is a one-off bespoke model. The test car was adorned with nearly £60,000 of delightful goodies… I would tick most the boxes if I was ordering, though would baulk at £23,895 for the rather polarising paint finish. There are seven standard colours on offer, though up to fifty-six combinations can be had.

So, what else is likely to be on the Bentayga buyer’s shopping list. A Rolls-Royce Cullinan will doubtless be ruled out due to its stratospheric pricing and the Range Rover is far too commonplace, though the company’s top models are now reaching Bentley pricing. An Aston Martin DBX or a Lamborghini Urus may also appeal if driving pleasure takes priority.

Which leaves the manufacturer from Crewe in a unique position. It offers enough exclusivity to satisfy a wealthy buyer and is capable of doing the school run one minute and dashing off to Klosters for a little skiing the next. And whatever is asked of it, it will ensure that all on board are pampered and cossetted.

Fast Facts
Bentley Bentayga EWB Azure
Price £219,800 (£278,550 as tested)
4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 engine
700Nm of torque
0-60mph in 4.5 seconds
Top speed 180mph
Combined economy 22.1mpg

Key Options
Mulliner range satin paint £23,895
‘Bentley Airline Seat’ spec £8,645
Naim Audio system £7,065
Touring specification £5,800
Harmony diamond quilt £4,325
All terrain specification £3,830
Rear centre console £2,875
Open Pore Walnut £2,315