Bentley Bentayga review, test drive
Published on Apr 06, 2016 04:50:00 PM
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There’s even more action up next, as I pull into a circuit twenty minutes down the road. Now, taking a big SUV to a track is normally an exercise in futility. There’s excessive body roll, massive tyre wear and at times, it isn’t much fun either. So, I’m expecting plenty of heave ho and loads of tyre degradation.
But the first couple of minutes out on the circuit have me doing a double take; the Bentayga corners so flat, it’s a bit disorienting. Yes, it does mildly drop a shoulder on the way into corners, and there is a hint of roll too, but body control is so good, you can just power out of corners like you wouldn’t believe. This, of course, is down to the new 48V active anti-roll bar system that has both, more energy and more speed to keep this broad-bottom luxury liner on an even keel. And it’s not just the good body control, the Bentley has hugely capable brakes, a nicely connected electric steering system and a reasonably quick eight-speed gearbox too. It does understeer with all that weight in the nose, especially if you overload the front tyres, and you need to drive around this. But all things considered, it’s still a hoot to drive. It doesn’t have the agility of the Porsche Cayenne and isn’t as nice when you really get on it, but the Bentayga’s remit is much wider, and how many owners will drive on a track?
Where they are likely to drive it harder is on a mountain road. And here, it feels much more at home. I say this with plenty of confidence because a couple of hours later, I find myself on just such a stretch; a hill road that takes an hour or so to traverse. And it’s just perfect for the job. Around 30 percent wider than the roads we have back home, it is fast, flowing and has a delicious rhythm to it. And after the track, I just can’t help but get stuck right in; the Bentley flying from apex to apex, loads of grip, unbelievable poise and an innate ability to rocket out of all manner of corners, a fair amount of the 608hp put to good use.
The Bentayga, of course, is even more at home delivering a massive hit of comfort and luxury. The fast-acting active anti-roll bars ‘open up’ and allow ride comfort to be super supple. Bump absorption, especially over the larger holes, is often so good, it literally feels magic carpet-like as the chassis soaks up everything. And it is seriously capable on broken surfaces too. Of course, some really large holes are likely to upset it and sharper edged bumps could affect it too, but it really does have the potential to be super special on our roads back home. It just seems to have the right balance between floaty and tight, and the manner in which it seems to isolate the suspension from the rest of the car feels special too. Can’t wait to drive it on our roads back home.
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