An extended-wheelbase version of the market-leading Bentley Bentayga SUV has been revealed and officially labelled it the marque’s new flagship, a status previously held by the Bentley Mulsanne limousine, which ended production in 2020.
The new model, called EWB for Extended Wheelbase, is stretched by 180mm and has all of its extra space in the rear passenger compartment and extra length in the rear door. Sold only with a twin-turbo petrol V8 “for the time being”, it ushers in a suite of trim, paint and styling changes, the most obvious of which is a new vertically slatted grille.
The EWB also introduces a new rear steering system that both reduces the turning circle and enhances high-speed stability, a refinement that first appeared in Bentley’s Flying Spur saloon in 2019 and more recently in the Bentley Continental GT. Despite the extra length, the EWB’s turning circle of 11.8m is actually 0.6m tighter than a standard-wheelbase model’s.
The EWB’s launch is a stern defence of Bentley’s leadership in the global super-luxury SUV market. Last year, the Bentayga accounted for more than 40% of Bentley’s record annual sales (14,659 units, up 31%) and the company expects about 45% of future Bentayga buyers to opt for the EWB.
The Crewe firm effectively invented the sector with the Bentayga’s launch in 2015 and has maintained its supremacy through the arrival of the Lamborghini Urus and Rolls-Royce Cullinan. The imminent arrival of the Ferrari Purosangue is likely to expand super-luxury SUV sales further: Bentley bosses say today’s 40,000 sales should climb by one-third by the end of the decade.
Bentley acknowledges the battle with its rivals by pointing out that the EWB is roomier in the rear than the Cullinan and Range Rover, and equal with both for head room despite having a less boxy shape and a lower roof. But despite the larger rear cabin space, there won’t be a seven-seat Bentayga EWB.