Whenever you got down to examine the plush and extremely specialised nature of the brand new, longer Bentley Bentayga EWB, it’s exhausting to know whether or not to begin on the entrance of this mighty machine, or the rear.
Within the driver’s seat, you’ve gotten entry to new requirements of experience and highway potential introduced by the mix of a 180mm-longer wheelbase than the common Bentley Bentayga and an all-new four-wheel steering system that improves each manoeuvrability and high-speed stability.
Within the rear – after you’ve stepped by way of a much bigger and now power-assisted door – you get entry to essentially the most spacious super-luxury lodging stepping into a manufacturing automobile, even towards the long-wheelbase Vary Rover and Rolls-Royce Cullinan.
There’s a selection of three seating set-ups: a traditional three-seat bench, a novel two-plus-one format (two huge seats and a minimal central perch) or, as in our check automobile, so-called Airline Seating that consists of two multi-adjustable throne-like rear buckets, that are much better and extra extensively configurable than these supplied by any airline we all know.
Overlaying the lot is a brand new focus on decreasing noise, vibration and harshness, particularly within the automobile’s rear compartment – not that the shorter Bentayga mannequin is any slouch in that division. However this new EWB is now very a lot Bentley’s flagship, and your best option for many who choose to be chauffeur pushed.
In the interim, the EWB’s one and solely obtainable powertrain is Bentayga’s acquainted V8 – a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 shared with Audi that has 542bhp on faucet, drives all 4 wheels (extensively and well spreading torque across the wheels based on load) by way of an eight-speed auto. Regardless of a hefty 2.5-tonne kerb weight, the EWB can flip in a 0-60mph dash time of 4.5sec and has a 180mph prime pace.
A plug-in hybrid powertrain, whose petrol-powered part is a 3.0-litre Volkswagen Group V6, is already supplied within the unique, shorter Bentayga and appears a certainty for the EWB when demand builds (and, likely, laptop chips turn out to be extra freely obtainable).
In fact, the Bentayga feels essentially related on the highway to its shorter sibling, however there’s a particular benefit to experience high quality from the longer wheelbase, though physique roll remains to be quelled by the identical extraordinarily environment friendly 48V energetic roll management system, and the EWB makes use of the acquainted three-mode air suspension system. No person may quibble with both Bentley SUV’s experience consolation, however these decided to quibble would say a Vary Rover had a bonus in low-speed plushness and calmness over bumps.
Nevertheless, the long-wheelbase Bentayga’s most putting characteristic is its four-wheel steering system, which decreases the turning circle to an awfully tight 11.8m at parking speeds but additionally turns the rear wheels minutely in the identical path because the fronts throughout energetic higher-speed manoeuvres – comparable to pressured lane modifications – to extend stability.
There’s a ensuing ‘king of the highway’ feeling that must be skilled to be believed: solely the Bentayga’s appreciable physique width now impacts its potential in actually tight going, comparable to inner-London streets.
There are a number of quibbles. The steering within the automobile we tried suffered from minor ranges of stiction across the straight-ahead that imply it wanted extra focus than its finest rivals. And though the cabin meeting and supplies high quality are among the many most interesting obtainable at any value, the fiddly switchgear (though superbly made) is beginning to look distinctly old-school. We’re placing cash on this being an essential space for progress within the subsequent mannequin, which should be nicely underneath manner on condition that the primary manufacturing Bentayga noticed the sunshine of day in 2015.