Cars & Gadgets
Queen Elizabeth-Approved: This Is the Fastest Luxury SUV in the Market Right Now
To no one’s surprise, the Bentley Bentayga has become the British carmaker’s best-selling vehicle in the past year.
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“The Bentley Bentayga—doesn’t that roll nicely off the tongue?” asked the event host at the Philippine launch of the ultra-luxury SUV. Truth be told, no. But consider this: In the time you spent carefully enunciating all three syllables of the SUV’s name—a full second, at the very least—the Bentayga at full gallop, 301 kilometers per hour, would have traveled a shade under 275 feet. Sure, other supercars can go faster, but with its eight-figure price tag, Bentley can rightfully claim that the Bentayga is the fastest luxury SUV on the road today.

When Walter Owen Bentley founded Bentley Motors in 1919, he had one goal: “To build a good car, a fast car, the best in class.” And over the years, the cars produced under the Bentley banner have lived up to this motto. It has a proud racing heritage, but more than that, it’s virtually synonymous with luxury, adding to its allure. Bentleys are desired by people at the very top, but what’s surprising is the breadth of personalities it caters to, from rock stars to royalty. When Queen Elizabeth II made her first public appearance earlier this year after a long health scare, the paparazzi gleefully snapped away as she arrived at Sandringham in her Bentley limousine.

Even if you don’t have a title, you’ll feel like a royal in the Bentley’s interior. The stock 700-watt entertainment system is more than adequate for most audiophiles, but an upgrade to the 1,950-watt, 22-speaker sound system from Naim Audio is offered to the most discerning customers. For your riding comfort, the distinctive diamond-shaped quilt from Mulliner, Bentley’s in-house customization company, has found its way to the Bentayga’s seats. It’s unlikely, but in the event that you find the stock options for wood trim, carpet, and seat leather color combinations too narrow, Mulliner offers bespoke customization services. The same goes for the exterior paint. There are 11 colors to choose from in the Bentley showroom, but if you wish, your SUV can be personalized at the factory in Crewe, England, with over a hundred shades at your disposal.

Inside the Bentley Bentayga

For Bentley’s first SUV, the choice of name was significant and there are two stories as to how this came about. The first says it’s a combination of Ben, from the carmaker’s name, and a spelling variant of Taiga, the world’s largest snow forest. The second is more straightforward.

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On the island of Gran Canaria in Spain is a rugged peak known as Roque Bentayga. You can choose which explanation to believe; in any case, the SUV will easily handle any terrain put in front of it, from snowy roads to jagged mountain paths. According to Bentley, the engine and gearbox can handle all off-road conditions, capable of performing smoothly at dips or inclines in any direction up to 35 degrees.

We could talk all day about the innovations put into the all-new W12, twin-turbocharged 6-liter engine, the technological leaps that make this stately vehicle accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.1 seconds, but it’s the more quirky features that will make even non-petrolheads take notice. Headlight washers are standard in most luxury cars these days, but you won’t easily find them in the Bentayga. It’s only when you flip a switch that the washer jets come out from their hiding place—at the center of the outermost running lights—and spray your main lights clean. Bentley is equally proud of another interior collaboration, which produces one of the most insane upgrades targeted to watch connoisseurs. Why settle for the standard clock on the dash when you can have a custom-made, hand-built tourbillon clock from Breitling? This option is yours, with white or rose gold trim, for about the same price as another luxury sedan.

A more useful but equally nice touch, the event seat, comes with all Bentaygas. It’s a unique built-in folding seat for two people that slides into position when the tailgate is raised. As you can imagine, it’ll come in handy during picnics (perfect with the optional Mulliner hamper) or for watching your children or friends as they pursue their favorite outdoor pursuits. The Bentayga is meant to go fast, but it’s just as amazing when you’re taking it slow. 201 EDSA, Mandaluyong, Philippines; 727.1919; manila.bentleymotors.com.

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Pierre A. Calasanz
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