Despite its exceptionally high power and torque outputs and a kerb weight that wouldn’t be unprecedented among lesser SUVs, the Bentayga isn’t the fastest luxury 4x4 we’ve figured.
With peerless performance being one of the pillars on which the car’s market positioning is built, that fact can’t and won’t be ignored when we decide how many road test stars to hand out.
However, when you’re at the car’s wheel, it also hardly seems to matter, because Bentley has covered the still-huge and effortless performance that the car does offer with such a thick, silken blanket of refinement that it strikes you as a quite wonderfully endowed, unique car in any case.
A glance at the foot of this page will reveal by how much the current Cayenne Turbo S would outsprint the Bentayga – and it’ll do so well into three-figure speeds. A Range Rover Sport SVR would likewise get its nose in front and keep it there.
But both of those rivals are much more aggressive, uncompromising machines than the Bentley – the Porsche in particular slamming its full-bore gearchanges through the driveline with all the subtlety of a rough-edged Dakar rally special.
The Bentayga is all suave, velvet, discreet civility – even flat out. It declines ever to claw at the road surface, no matter what you do with the right-hand pedal, and it accelerates from a standstill with a gathering surge akin to that of a powerboat rising out of the surf. And it does so with the distant warble of an aristocratic 12-cylinder engine that always seems much too couth to be classed as a growl.
The eight-speed gearbox delivers its gearchanges with a smoothness to savour and is often allowed to take a back seat in the driving experience at moderate throttle openings courtesy of all that low and mid-range torque.
In the Bentayga, Bentley’s overhauled W12 engine does seem a little more responsive than it used to be, albeit still slightly thin and reserved in its delivery at high revs.
Cabin isolation is nothing short of incredible by high-sided SUV standards. On the 22in alloy wheels of our test car, there was a muted hum of road roar in evidence but very little wind noise below fast motorway speeds.
It’s a fact represented by our recording of just 65dB of cabin noise at 70mph. That’s fully 2dB less than in a Range Rover Sport SVR, and only 2dB more than in the much more aerodynamic Mercedes-Benz S350 Bluetec that we figured in 2013.