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Bentley freshens up Bentayga. Image by Bentley.

Bentley freshens up Bentayga
Mighty luxo-SUV gains suitably altered appearance, even plusher cabin and big-power engines.
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2020-08-12: First drive: Bentley Bentayga 2020MY

What's all this about?

It's fair to say that, when it launched in late 2015, the Bentley Bentayga didn't win many fans with its looks. But that is not to deny how brilliant it is to sit in and to drive, nor how successful it has been for the marque during the intervening period: in little more than four years, more than 20,000 Bentaygas have been handcrafted for an eager, upmarket global audience and, in 2019 alone, the SUV accounted for 45 per cent of Bentley's worldwide sales. So, with all that in mind (and skipping over the fact that we've become accustomed to the big Bentley's appearance so much that we actually quite like it now), here's the new Bentayga.

Is this going to be one of those 'spot the difference' facelifts?

Absolutely not. There are significant sheet-metal changes to the Bentayga and, we have to say, the look of it is much-improved. It takes its styling cues from both the current Continental GT and Flying Spur relations, with oval lamp clusters front and rear. That's a more subtle change at the front, as the pre-facelift Bentayga had round headlights, but with a larger Matrix grille and more aggressive lower airdam arrangement, the face of the SUV is still notably different.

However, round the back only a blind man on a galloping horse could miss that this is the facelifted Bentayga. Not only are the lamps now crystalline ovals, instead of the 'B'-signature lights on the old model, but the number plate has moved from the boot lid to the rear bumper. This gives the whole back of the Bentayga such a different look that it's a wonder it's not an all-new model, rather than just a facelifted Mk1. The smoothed-off tailgate now has the wide-spaced 'Bentley' lettering and overall it's a handsome, quality affair.

Elsewhere, longer front-wing side-vents, reshaped lower door mouldings, a new design of 22-inch alloy wheel (in two finishes), two fresh body colours (Viridian, a dark metallic green, and Patina, an off-white) and a rear track that's 20mm wider all sharpen the appearance/stance of the Bentayga facelift.

What about inside? Is it as drastic a change in there?

No, not at all, but there's still plenty to talk about. That wider rear track not only helps stance (and, accordingly to Bentley, ride comfort and handling too), but it allows for the repositioning of the rear seats. This means that in one of three seating configurations available on the Bentayga facelift - choose from a plush four-seat layout, the standard five-seat cabin or a three-row, seven-seat option - there's 30mm more kneeroom for rear-seat passengers with the chairs in their upright position and up to 100mm more kneeroom with the seats reclined. It's the four-seat model, in case you're wondering.

Up front, there's not yet the appearance of the wonderful Bentley Rotating Display as seen in a Conti GTC, but there is the large, heavyweight remote-control touchscreen in the back of the car, which is a direct lift from the Flying Spur. Beyond this, the Bentayga's front infotainment screen is larger, crisper and brighter, now measuring 10.9 inches, and the instrument cluster is fully digital, instead of part-analogue. New door trims, seat quilting, wood-veneer finishes and a redesigned steering wheel all further heighten the ambience, while the two central air vents have been replaced with a single, wider item. Technology upgrades for the facelift include the standard fitment of a wireless smartphone charging pad in front of the gearlever and also the possibility to wirelessly connect your phone to the vehicle through Apple CarPlay. Android Auto is also supported in certain markets.

What about motive power?

Three drivetrains from the pre-facelift line-up are carried over for the updated Bentayga but the solitary opening salvo from the British marque will be the V8 petrol. That packs the 4.0-litre twin-turbo mill with 550hp/770Nm, allowing for 0-62mph in 4.5 seconds and a 180mph top speed, with eco-stats of 21.2mpg combined and 302g/km of CO2. That economy allows for a 464-mile cruising range on the V8, making it slightly more frugal than the W12-powered Speed, which will follow on from the V8 soon after launch - although the real 'green' Bentayga is the Plug-In Hybrid, set to return alongside the updated Speed. However, due to slow sales, there's no place in the revised line-up for the short-lived Bentayga Diesel, while the Speed's presence means the 'regular' 608hp W12 is no longer called for either.

Matt Robinson - 30 Jun 2020

2020 Bentley Bentayga Facelift. Image by Bentley.2020 Bentley Bentayga Facelift. Image by Bentley.2020 Bentley Bentayga Facelift. Image by Bentley.2020 Bentley Bentayga Facelift. Image by Bentley.2020 Bentley Bentayga Facelift. Image by Bentley.

2020 Bentley Bentayga Facelift. Image by Bentley.2020 Bentley Bentayga Facelift. Image by Bentley.2020 Bentley Bentayga Facelift. Image by Bentley.2020 Bentley Bentayga Facelift. Image by Bentley.2020 Bentley Bentayga Facelift. Image by Bentley.    - Bentley road tests
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