The Bentley Bentayga was a bold move, with Bentley treading the line between profits and a clear departure from its nearly SUV-free lineage. In hindsight, it didn’t do too badly in finding that balance. Time flies, because that was nine years ago, and the Bentayga is as strong as ever. We check out the Bentley Bentayga EWB (extended wheelbase) in the uber-rich Azure trim, to get a first-hand experience of what this seemingly driver-focussed super-opulent SUV has to offer.

The price tag isn’t for those weak at heart; at ₹6 crore, ex-showroom, the Bentayga EWB is not exactly affordable. It’s not wrongly priced, though, since the rivalling Rolls-Royce Cullinan is only some extra change more expensive, while sportier SUVs are about two crore cheaper. It’s also not the first time Bentley has made an SUV; remember the Dominator, which was made for an exceptionally wealthy customer? Half a dozen Dominators were exclusively prepared, but the underlying vehicle wasn’t a Bentley or even a Rolls-Royce. A popular British SUV which goes by the name of Range Rover donated many a component for Bentley to make its lifesaver.

The Bentayga is undoubtedly different in that regard. While Bentley didn’t prepare a bespoke platform for this luxury SUV, the excellent platform-sharing practices by Volkswagen have come in handy. Owing to the ever-changing automotive scenario, especially concerning downsizing and curbing pollution, you won’t find the usual Bentley engines in the Bentayga, either. Powering the EWB is a 4-litre twin-turbo-charged V8, which produces 542 bhp and 78.51 kg-m, figures that can’t hide that the Bentayga EWB is a heavy car and it needs all that power to get the thing rolling.

Ride quality

It’s rapid, though. It’s a Bentley, after all, and driving is pretty much at the top of its agenda, even if it’s a high-riding SUV. Zero to a 100 km/h is said to take just 4.5 seconds, which, for a luxury-focussed SUV is quite something. Taking off from a standstill is never an issue, because the V8 engine is always eager to deliver — sometimes more than what you ask for. The eight-speed automatic gearbox masks the shifts well, ensuring near-seamless power delivery at all times. It’s a big box to tick, seeking driving pleasure from a 2.5-tonne SUV, but this Bentley proves time and again that it’s worthy of the badge it wears.

Unsurprisingly, the Bentayga shines in the ride quality department. What piques our curiosity is how it achieves a supple ride while ensuring that body roll is kept to a minimum, and there are no untoward movements, even under hard driving. The answer to that is the adaptive air suspension and the 48-volt anti-roll system, which keep things tidy. In addition to that, and aiding the car’s dynamic prowess, is the rear-wheel steering system. At high speeds, it turns the rear wheels (only by a certain angle) in the same direction as the front wheels, to make lane changes easier. At low speeds, the same system turns the rear wheels in a direction opposite to the front ones, effectively giving the 5.3-meter-long car a shorter turning radius.

Driving modes

That’s not where the Bentayga EWB’s benefits end, either. To further customise how it behaves, the Bentayga comes with a choice of driving modes: Comfort, Sport, Custom, and a Bentley mode which offers a mix of the former two. Regardless of the mode, what stays constant is a great mix of driving abilities and overall luxury. Its steering, light at slow speeds, weighs up nicely to inspire confidence. The suspension does a great job of hiding road imperfections, ensuring that nothing hinders the car’s progress. The 22-inch wheels might seem a touch too big on paper, but in the flesh, these complement the car’s design and despite their size, they don’t hamper the ride quality.

Talking of design, the Bentayga has been at the receiving end of flak since its launch. That’s not because it was ugly, but quite possibly because the market wasn’t ready for a Bentley SUV. Needless to say, the Bentayga’s looks are much more palatable now, aided further by the mid-life update it received. The Bentayga EWB Azure First Edition doesn’t just have a mouthful of a name; it also has some design choices which might seem a bit OTT at first. For example, the set of aforementioned 22-inch wheels and a splattering of chrome around the body (and not just limited to the vertical-slat grille up front) would be borderline distasteful, especially on a large SUV. In the case of the Bentayga, the overall effect is quite the opposite, and as a result, it looks classy.

The great-looking cabin boasts of the Naim audio system and the Bentley Airline Seat

The great-looking cabin boasts of the Naim audio system and the Bentley Airline Seat


With an 180 mm increase in wheelbase over the standard car, the Bentayga EWB has even more space inside. Bentley has turned this into an opportunity to offer what can only be described as a first-class travel experience. This comes courtesy of not just a great-looking cabin, but also the presence of the Bentley Airline Seat. Think of it as a premium lounge chair which can recline up to 40 degrees, and is complemented by the finest of materials, a footrest and abundance of leg room.

The money-no-object theme continues with entertainment, too, and the onboard Naim audio system fits the bill perfectly. Adding further to the experience are the large rear doors, which close at the push of a button. When you do get bored of all this, you’ll be able to appreciate the top-class craftsmanship that’s gone into making the Bentayga. Despite the presence of some VW-Group switchgear, the interior presents some very likeable details. Similarly, even the way the V8 engine is presented turns out to be a great reminder that Bentley does indeed know how to make its customers feel special.

The Bentayga has been a successful product for Bentley, and a brief drive in one showed us why. In the EWB spec, it offers a great deal of comfort but when needed, it won’t be shamed by any of the smaller but more powerful super SUVs, like the Lamborghini Urus and Aston Martin DBX. Instead, it’ll carry on with its locomotive-like pull despite the added size and heft. In fact – and as clichéd as it may sound — it’ll corner like it’s on rails, too. In the modern auto-motive scenario, there aren’t many cars that can be referred to as ‘first class’, but the Bentayga fits that bill, even a decade after its arrival.