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Bentley Bentayga breaks out. Image by Bentley.

Bentley Bentayga breaks out
First official photos and details of Bentley's first ever SUV.
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Hang on, someone's put stilts on a Continental GT.

No, no they haven't. That really is the first ever Bentley SUV, the Bentayga. Bentley is calling it the fastest, most powerful, most luxurious and most exclusive SUV in the world, a series of titles it homes to hang on to at least until Rolls-Royce can rustle up a competitor.

Underneath the rather conventional styling (much toned down after the EXP-9 Falcon concept car was so widely panned for its looks) lies the same chassis as you'll find under the new Audi Q7, but Bentley has significantly changed the mechanical package. First off, the only available engine for now is a massive 6.0-litre turbo W12 unit with 600hp, which Bentley says is both lighter than it used to be and around 11 per cent more efficient. Other powertrains, including a twin-turbo V8 petrol and a plugin hybrid and even a diesel, will doubtless follow.

Bentley is claiming a top speed of 187mph for the Bentayga and a 0-60mph time of 4.0 seconds - Porsche 911 pace from a car weighing 2.4 tonnes. Emissions are pegged at a pretty whopping 292g/km while combined fuel economy is just 22mpg and frankly you'd probably be lucky ever to see that. That's in spite of cylinder deactivation and a 'sailing' mode that disengages the transmission for brief bursts when the car is cruising at speed. The car has been through a one-million-mile test regime, in some of the coldest, hottest and roughest places on Earth so as, according to Bentley, "to ensure unwavering performance".

Suspension is by computer controlled air springs, and there's a clever McLaren-style anti-roll system that keeps the car flat when cornering hard, but softens everything up in a straight line.

Inside, it's pretty much as you'd expect. Several herd's worth of leather, a small coppice of wood and everything that looks like metal really is metal, not just painted plastic. There will also be a new-generation touchscreen infotainment system (replacing the rather aged system Bentley currently uses in most models) and this is the first Bentley with a folding rear seat. There will also be a seven-seat option soon.

Price? 160,000 to you, squire - more expensive than a Range Rover but significantly cheaper than Bentley's flagship, the Mulsanne saloon. Sales will start just this side of Christmas, and if the Bentayga sells as it's expected to, it'll push Bentley's sales volumes past the 10,000 car per year threshold for the first time ever.

Neil Briscoe - 9 Sep 2015

Earlier articles featuring 2015 Bentley Bentayga

2015-09-04: Bentley's Bentayga will top 185mph
2015-01-12: Bentley SUV name revealed

2015 Bentley Bentayga. Image by Bentley.2015 Bentley Bentayga. Image by Bentley.2015 Bentley Bentayga. Image by Bentley.2015 Bentley Bentayga. Image by Bentley.2015 Bentley Bentayga. Image by Bentley.

2015 Bentley Bentayga. Image by Bentley.2015 Bentley Bentayga. Image by Bentley.2015 Bentley Bentayga. Image by Bentley.2015 Bentley Bentayga. Image by Bentley.2015 Bentley Bentayga. Image by Bentley.

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