Bentley’s first diesel. With the new Bentley Bentayga Diesel the British luxury marque offers a diesel engine in its range for the first time in its near-100 year history. We had a chance to experience this new dimension first hand in Spain.

Diesel recently gained a pretty bad image in the United States but in other markets buyers don’t really seem to care and still see the upside of driving a diesel: tremendous torque, extended range and great fuel economy. Bentley’s CEO, Mr Wolfgang Durheimer, couldn’t agree more: “With the technology available to us now the 4.0 liter V8 diesel engine is perfectly suitable for Bentley.”

On paper the triple-charged V8 delivers mouth-watering performance: 435hp and 900Nm of torque available from as low as 1,000 rpm. Enough to make the 2.4 tonne Bentayga sprint from 0-100 km/h in 4.7 seconds and continue to an unrestricted top speed of 270 km/h making it the fastest luxury diesel SUV in the world. At the same time, it is also the most exclusive and expensive diesel SUV in the world with a price tag starting at 174,400 Euros including tax in Germany.

On the outside the new diesel distinguishes itself from its W12 powered brother by a black mesh in the grill, a subtle V8 diesel badge on the front doors and two double tailpipes in the specific shape that hints at a V8 under the bonnet. The least subtle change between the W12 and the V8 Diesel is the price. The Diesel is more than 30,000 Euros cheaper than the W12 powered Bentayga which is likely to attract new customers to the Bentley brand.

Bentley Bentayga Diesel GTspirit 009

Inside, the Bentayga diesel is very much like the W12 variant of the Bentayga: the finest leather and wood is used to create a luxurious ambiance for four occupants. The two front and rear seats are near identical in shape and size and offer a lot of pleasant features including five different massage programs, seat cooling as well as heating.

The ride programs are adapted to the engines characteristics and the driver can choose between eight dedicated drive modes by twisting a knob in the center console. Ranging from sport, auto, comfort and custom to wet, dirt road, off road and desert. Each setting changes the driving dynamics of the car to the desired circumstances. The air suspension uses four different levels and raises or lowers the Bentayga by up to 100mm.

Bentley Bentayga Diesel GTspirit 036

The Bentayga also uses a 48V electronic system which allows Bentley to incorporate some clever tech including an electric compressor which independently fires up the first of two turbochargers, reducing the turbo lag to near zero. Thanks to this the turbo delivers its maximum boost a full second quicker than a car without 48V and the electric compressor. Another interesting feature on the Bentayga enabled by the 48V system is the electric anti roll bar which reduces body roll and improves the cornering capabilities of this massive luxury SUV.

Using a diesel engine for the first time Bentley wanted to make sure the engine characteristics would match that of other engines in the range. Two key things here were the effortless power delivery and an understated sound profile. When you get inside and fire up the engine it is very muffled and you don’t hear much from the 4.0 liter V8 lying under the giant front bonnet. Even when you switch through the modes and push the car, the engine sound never becomes dominant – which is typical for most Bentleys.

Bentley Bentayga Diesel GTspirit 020

The absence of disturbing noises from the outside world make the Bentayga Diesel a very pleasant travel companion. The extended range of up to 1,000 km which the diesel engine offers enhances this quality further. Off the line, it does not feel as quick as other SUVs like my own SQ5 – which is mainly due to the significant weight – but once it gets going it feels unstoppable. The Bentayga Diesel truly excels on the highway where it will eat up mile after mile providing its occupants with all the comforts, entertainment and assistance systems they can wish for in this day and age.

Bentley Bentayga Diesel GTspirit 018

The Bentley Bentayga Diesel will be offered in Europe, Turkey, Australia and South Africa. Dealers are taking orders now with the first customer deliveries only weeks away. Bentley will deliver 5,000 Bentaygas this year out of a total production of 11,000 vehicles. This clearly shows the significance of the Bentayga for Bentley. With one more engine variant in the pipeline and a two door derivative of the Bentayga on the drawing board Mr Durheimer hopes to sell 4,000 Bentaygas per annum on average throughout its lifecycle.

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2017-bentley-bentayga-diesel-reviewThe Bentayga Diesel is a very good luxury SUV. It combines a luxurious Bentley interior with the latest infotainment and assistance systems the VW Group has to offer. The lack of engine noise makes the drive comfortable but not as sporty or engaging as with other performance SUVs - maybe a Speed version can address this and add a sound option. The design is very much up to personal taste - I'm not a big fan of the front but the side and rear look good for what is a difficult size to master. Overall it is very much a grand tourer best at home on highways and not ideal on smaller roads due to the sheer weight of the Bentayga. in Europe I expect the diesel to sell very well - it has a great range and fuel economy and the tremendous torque makes up for the lack in hp compared to the W12.


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