Would you take a Bentley off road? The brand-new Bentayga is bred for it

The idea of a Bentley SUV still seems somewhat surreal, even though the finished product will debut at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show next week. Bentley hopes its Bentayga’s combination of performance and luxury will help it climb new mountains, and not sink to the bottom of the mud pool of mediocrity.

When Bentley unveiled the EXP 9 F concept back in 2012, it was met with groans. The production Bentayga is a lot better, but it doesn’t stray too far from what we expected. The design more or less consists of styling cues taken from other Bentley models, and draped over a standard SUV shape marked with a fast-looking D-pillar.

At the front, the grille and lower air intakes look similar to what you’ll find on the Continental GT, as do the headlights. Those lights do hold some interesting details, though, including LED elements and washer nozzles concealed in the painted area at the center of outboard driving lights. At the back, a rear spoiler and tailgate ducktail provide actual downforce, Bentley says.

Bentley-Bentayga---Rear-Three-Quarter-Static

The Bentayga will need that downforce, as Bentley has some impressive performance goals for it. It claims a top speed 0f 187 mph, which will likely make it the fastest SUV in production, along with 0 to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds. Bentley also says the Bentayga completed over 400 laps of the Nürburgring as part of its development.

Helping the Bentayga achieve those impressive performance figures is an all-new 6.0-liter, twin-turbocharged W12, which will eventually replace the current-generation W12 used in other Bentley models. In the Bentayga, this titanic engine produces 600 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque, which is sent to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The Bentayga rides on a modified version of the Volkswagen Group MLB platform that underpins the current Audi Q7, which is something elitist owners probably won’t discuss much. Bentley says extensive use of aluminum saved about 520 pounds compared to conventional construction methods, although at 5,340 pounds, the Bentayga is still quite portly.

Bentley also claims the Bentayga will have genuine off-road ability, and to make that more than a boast, it equipped the SUV with adjustable air suspension that can be raised up for rough terrain, hill descent control, and Bentley Dynamic Ride, which adjusts the stiffness of the anti-roll bars electronically. There are also driver-selectable modes for different types of terrain.

However, Bentley hasn’t addressed what will happen when owners drive their Bentaygas out into the wilderness and mess up their posh interiors. This SUV will be just as luxurious as any other Bentley, with options that include a four-seat configuration with 18-way power-adjustable rear chairs. There are also Android tablets mounted in the backs of the front seats, and an exquisite-looking steering wheel with what Bentley says is the industry’s smallest airbag.

The Bentley Bentayga will officially debut next week at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show, and the first customer deliveries will begin in early 2016. Expect those customers to pay north of $200,000 to put Bentley’s first SUV in their driveways.

Product Review

Inside Maserati's Levante SUV beats the heart of a Ferrari

Maserati’s luxury SUV gets a shot in the arm by way of Ferrari-derived V8 power, but is it enough to go toe-to-toe with the established players in the high performance sport-utility segment? Let’s find out.
Cars

These winter-warrior cars will never leave you out in the cold

Snow can be an absolute pain if your vehicle isn't optimized to handle that sort of terrain. If brutal snowstorms are an annual part of your life, we recommend you pick up one of these winter-ready vehicles.
Cars

2019 Ford Ranger saves fuel without sacrificing towing capacity

The 2019 Ford Ranger marks Ford's long-awaited return to the midsize truck segment, which has seen a resurgence lately. But will being late to the party make Ford's job more difficult?
Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a luxurious and quick SUV, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.
Cars

LM Industries’ autonomous shuttles head to Phoenix, Sacramento campuses

LM Industries will deploy Olli low-speed autonomous shuttles at school campuses in Arizona and California as part of its ongoing "fleet challenge," which asks local groups to propose uses for autonomous vehicles.
Cars

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.
Cars

Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Product Review

Boring takes a back seat as 2019 Corolla Hatchback mixes fun with practicality

We drive the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the latest hatchback to bear the Corolla name. As the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, Toyota has high expectations to meet. This model mostly lives up to the legacy.
Cars

Hertz speeds up car rentals with biometric scan technology

Biometric security technology that uses face, fingerprint, and voice recognition is gaining traction, with Hertz emerging as the latest company to incorporate it into its daily operations.
Mobile

McLaren puts the pedal to the metal in special-edition OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T is yet another flagship killer smartphone, bringing powerful specifications to a much lower price than the competition. Now, OnePlus has teamed up with McLaren for the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition.
Cars

Aston Martin’s 1,000-hp Valkyrie will boast the Mona Lisa of the engine world

Aston Martin has released new details about its F1-inspired Valkyrie hypercar. Co-developed with Red Bull Racing, the Valkyrie will be one of the most aerodynamic production cars ever made.
Cars

The redesigned 2020 Passat shows Volkswagen still believes in sedans

The sedan segment in America is shrinking, but Volkswagen still believes in it. The German firm has released a teaser sketch to preview the redesigned 2020 Passat it will introduce during the 2019 Detroit Auto Show.
Cars

Infiniti previews its leap into one of the hottest industry segments

Infiniti has released a teaser image to preview a concept it will unveil at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The yet-unnamed design study is an electric crossover shaped by Infiniti's newest design language.