Currently reading: Bentley Bentayga long-term test review: time for a service
Our Bentley Bentayga has had its first service. How much do you reckon it cost us?

Service intervals get ever longer but they’re still a pain when they run out – especially when your car is a mile-muncher like our Bentley Bentayga

And extra-especially since nowadays there’s absolutely no indication from the way a car drives that it needs attention. A 1990s Bentley might have given a hint or two along the way: the Bentayga just drives the way it left the showroom.

As the 10,000-mile cut-off approached, I started counting down from 9200, meaning to make an appointment every day. But I still overshot. And at 10,200, I suddenly discovered an urgent 600-mile errand. Would it be okay to add that extra mileage? We decided it wouldn’t, so contacted HR Owen’s Bentley service people in a bit of a panic, knowing demand is often so strong that even top cars like our big SUV often have to stand in line.

Bentley llter 433 0

Good news, though. At a day’s notice, senior service advisor Katan Wara found us an emergency slot, sent one of his drivers over to collect the car from our Twickenham HQ and take it to HR’s Wandsworth garage. A day later, it was back, valeted, serviced, immaculate and driving exactly as before, ready for another 10,000 miles. The work cost £810, which struck me as pretty solid for a 2hr 10min job, although that price comes straight from the service menu, including VAT, with oil, filters, wiper blades and remote battery changed. The first post-service trip was a particular joy. Whether you’re in a Bentayga or a Vauxhall Viva, there’s special pleasure in driving your immaculate car just after it has been titivated by experts.

The 600-mile errand rolled away as easily as all the others have done, the big Bentley returning its usual 22-23mpg. Like the price of the service, you can take two views of the fuel consumption. The glass half full view is that it’s okay: this is a 6.7-litre turbocharged petrol car weighing well over two tonnes, and consumption still allows you a range north of 400 miles. Nobody ever called this an economy car or a people’s car – but look at all those people in Crewe its production helps to employ. The only cloud on the Bentayga horizon is that it goes to a new owner soon. Woe. SC 


Price £160,200 Price as tested £197,150 Economy 21.9mpg Faults None Expenses None Mileage 10,989


Bentley llter 431 0


Read our review

Car review

The big-in-every-way Bentley SUV lands. We assess the impact of this most luxurious of luxury SUVs, which has few direct rivals with which to compare

Back to top

Our Bentley Bentayga has reached its first service at six months and 10,000 miles without a single fault or flaw, a feat in such a complex car, even if (as people keep saying) that’s what you should get in a £197k car.

Debate keeps raging over which engine — the diesel V8 or our petrol W12 — Autocar staffers and interested friends would choose. Scores so far: petrol W12, 11; diesel V8, seven. SC


Price £160,200 Price as tested £197,150 Economy 21.9mpg Faults None Expenses None Mileage 10,356 


Our Bentley Bentayga is bolting with dizzying speed towards its first service. The electronic log currently says it has 1500 miles to run. It has accumulated miles so quickly because (like most owners, I suspect) we use it almost exclusively as a mile-eating grand tourer.

One or two owners I’ve seen in the Cotswolds where I live have given their Bentaygas the role of GT-car- with-horsebox, a task at which it seems to excel. But every owner I’ve met agrees it’s no city car. It’s a big-occasion car, and not much good at squeezing into an average parking space. In town I use one of those higher-priced, more spacious inner-city Q-park sites (my other half calls them ‘gentleman’s car parks’) but that’s not a catch-all solution. Best to do what the rich do and use a smaller car in urban areas – or get Smiggins to drop you off and collect you later.

Bentley llter 432 0

Back to top

The burning Bentayga topic of the moment – as just about everywhere – is: are diesels any good? Although in the Bentley’s case the question is being framed rather differently. Instead of regarding the diesel as a potential mistake, prospective owners, having seen that the Bentayga Diesel has just achieved a rare five-star Autocar roadtest rating, are wondering if the oil-burner (which is £30,000 cheaper than our W12) is the better and more practical version.

There is certainly an argument to be made for the diesel, because the first-ever Bentley diesel is sensationally refined. But after more than 8000 miles, I continue to argue for the W12 – for its exotic nature, for its all-Bentley 12-pot heart, for its decisively better performance (it’s a second faster to 60mph and delivers bigger margins further up the range) and for the fact that its reasonable 22mpg overall – with an easy 350-mile range – protects you from the worst problems associated with ownership of a huge, 600bhp car.

Reliability seems flawless, although experience with Bentleys has led us to expect that, but just in case, the local dealer will get a chance to check it soon. SC


Price £160,200 Price as tested £197,150 Economy 21.9mpg Faults None Expenses None Mileage 8507 


To Wales from London, four up, laden for a week’s stay and nursing a sore leg, the legacy of old age and amateur running. The former I expected the Bentley Bentayga to cope with, especially with the recent adornment of a roof box; the latter I expected to be nursing with little sympathy.

The roof box is a controversial addition. Initssmart, dark paintwork, I reckon the Bentayga is understated – if an off-road Bentley can ever be described as such. The roof box lends the car a purposeful look and forgives some of its excesses.

The box is contoured to carry skis and accessories, although in our case it made do with wellies and big coats for a trip to the Preseli Hills. It was convenient for swallowing the luggage and allowed us to keep the boot mud and clutter-free. There are many makers of roof boxes, many charging less than the £2757 (including roof bars and ‘load assist’ tray) Bentley asks, but there’s no doubting its suitability for the job.

Back to top

Bentley llter 437 0

Likewise its motorway-munching – and knee-healing – qualities.

As I exited the M25 and began the trip down the M4, I started playing with the cruise control functions.

By the time I’d set the speed control, distance control, speed limit sensors, lane-keeping assist and auto braking, accelerating and steering, I started to wonder what was left for me to do.

It was my first prolonged exposure to such an integrated system. With the M4 relatively empty, so long as I kept my hands resting lightly on the wheel I didn’t have to offer a single input. It’s surprising how quickly you get used to watching a steering wheel being adjusted on your behalf. By the Severn Crossing I’d covered almost 100 miles without doing a thing, and the aches and pains coming from my rested knee had subsided.

Other cars are available with this tech, of course, and a Bentayga is considerably more expensive than a trip to the orthopedist, but the conclusion was apparent: this isn’t just a car that fits into your life, it is one that makes it better. JH


Price £160,200 Price as tested £197,150 Economy 21.9mpg Faults None Expenses None Mileage 7251 

Back to top


Bentley llter 435 0

I always knew the Bentley’s fuel economy would be steep (18- 22mpg), but I didn’t expect it to drink screenwash quite the way it does. You have to fill it every week or so. It stands to reason, what with all those screen jets, the tendency of the rear screen to need a lot of cleaning and the consumption of the integral headlight washers. With everything on, it’s like the Niagara Falls. 


Price £160,200 Price as tested £197,150 Economy 21.9mpg Faults None Expenses None Mileage 4784 


Having established within our first few hundred miles that our new Bentley Bentayga is fine for every mode of motoring (except perhaps for cramming into supermarket car parks), I spent a lot of time investigating its popular appeal over a few weeks by toting different groups of passengers to and from events.

It proved very instructive. Everyone who travelled in it remarked on two things: the way the 6.0-litre W12 engine is so refined as to be almost noiseless even at brisk speeds; and the supreme rear-seat comfort.

Back to top

It’s absolutely vital that our £197,000 SUV should get the popular nod on rear-seat comfort: the model is already being extensively used by Bentley Motors itself for chauffeuring top people and, even more importantly, most of its Far Eastern owners – of whom there are plenty – will usually be driven rather than drive. Apart from travelling in comfort, one special Bentayga advantage my occupants noted was its entry and egress. It is easy and more dignified getting in and out of a vehicle of such imposing height and with such large doors.

Bentley llter 441 0

Two caveats, though. As you look through a rear door, the seats don’t look as imposing as the rear compartments of some limousines. And although there’s enough leg room, even for big people and even behind a big driver, there doesn’t seem to be quite the sprawling room offered in a long-wheelbase Range Rover, almost identical in length. Bentley is rumoured to be working on a longer Bentayga for markets where rear space counts as the greatest luxury of all. For the rest of us, the present edition works very well.

Opinions vary over whether the Bentayga looks big or small. Stand by the mighty grille, or clock the height of the big bonnet, and there is no doubting that this is a very big car indeed. Negotiating streets in inner London soon tells you plenty about its width, too. Yet the car is in such good proportion – its wheel sizes, ground clearance, overhangs and height all matching one another – that viewed from a distance, it can appear quite compact. If you’re looking for a vehicle to make the car designers’ enduring point that good proportions matter, the Bentayga really does the job.


Price £160,200 Price as tested £197,150 Economy 21.9mpg Faults None Expenses None Last seen 18.1.17

Read our first report on the Bentayga here

Steve Cropley

Steve Cropley Autocar
Title: Editor-in-chief

Steve Cropley is the oldest of Autocar’s editorial team, or the most experienced if you want to be polite about it. He joined over 30 years ago, and has driven many cars and interviewed many people in half a century in the business. 

Cropley, who regards himself as the magazine’s “long stop”, has seen many changes since Autocar was a print-only affair, but claims that in such a fast moving environment he has little appetite for looking back. 

He has been surprised and delighted by the generous reception afforded the My Week In Cars podcast he makes with long suffering colleague Matt Prior, and calls it the most enjoyable part of his working week.

Join the debate

Add a comment…
bomb 25 September 2017

I love how the service cost

I love how the service cost is meant to sound reasonable. If you can afford it by all means pay it but don't try to justify it on any level. Bentley just doubled the servicing cost on your rebodied Audi Q7. I suppose it's a penance for inflicting one of these things on other road users so all works out in the end.

Zeddy 25 September 2017

Another world

The work cost £810, which struck me as pretty solid for a 2hr 10min job, although that price comes straight from the service menu, including VAT, with oil, filters, wiper blades and remote battery changed. 

conspicuous consumption

scotty5 25 September 2017

Are their batteries sourced from the £ store?

autocar wrote:

The work cost £810, which struck me as pretty solid for a 2hr 10min job, although that price comes straight from the service menu, including VAT, with oil, filters, wiper blades and remote battery changed.

Service?  You mean an oil and filter change. They also changed the wiper baldes (£20) and a battery for the remote (£1). It's just a standard VW group filter so that's anotherr £10 tops...  The average garage labour rate is Surrey at £81.07 an hour (incidentally, that's the UK's most expensive, even out doing London at £77.42).

So what the hell are they using to lubricate the engine for your £810, Krug champagne?

PS - the remote battery on my Golf was still going strong after 4yrs - you'd think Bentley would use bettery quality parts for their cars.

Greenracer 25 September 2017

For the few....not the many.

For the few....not the many.
Spanner 26 September 2017


Greenracer wrote:

For the few....not the many.


let it be so. For heavens sake please let it be so.