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First drive: 2022 Bentley Bentayga EWB. Image by Bentley.

First drive: 2022 Bentley Bentayga EWB
Bentleyís already luxurious Bentayga SUV now comes with added limousine credentials.

   



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2022 Bentley Bentayga EWB

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Because the Bentayga just isn't big enough, Bentley has introduced a new, even longer version with more space in the back. The idea is to broaden the Bentayga's appeal with extra legroom for rear-seat passengers, creating a kind of high-riding limousine called the Extended Wheelbase, or EWB. But is the Bentayga better for it, or have the changes ruined an already very capable luxury car?

Test Car Specifications

Model: 2023 Bentley Bentayga EWB Azure First Edition
Price: Bentayga EWB from c£190,000
Engine: 4.0-litre turbocharged V8 petrol
Transmission: eight-speed automatic, all-wheel drive
Power: 550hp
Torque: 770Nm
Emissions: TBC
Economy/Range: TBC
0-62mph: 4.6 seconds
Top speed: 180mph
Boot space: 392 litres

Styling

In many ways, the Bentayga EWB looks exactly like every other Bentayga youíve ever seen, but then you notice the extra length. Because all 18cm of it can be found between the rear wheel and the B-pillar, itís all been added to the back door, and that has sent the proportions slightly out of whack. Itís a surprisingly subtle change, though, and the Bentayga hides it quite well, but it is noticeable Ė particularly if you see an EWB next to a standard-length car.

Interior

From the driver's seat, the EWB looks exactly the same as a standard Bentayga, with a high-tech dashboard that's adorned with modern yet somehow classic design features. As usual, there's leather upholstery everywhere, and there's a wide range of lovely veneers to choose from. There's tech, too, in the shape of the digital instrument display and the touchscreen, which both work brilliantly.

But the back seats are, in many ways, the place to be. There, Bentley has given customers a choice of seats, including new Airline Seats that can adjust your posture on the move and monitor your body temperature to keep you comfortable. It's clever stuff, and it's all controlled from a little tablet that lives in the back of the centre console. Using that screen, you can adjust the seats, lighting and entertainment systems to suit your needs.

Practicality

Every millimetre of the EWB's 18cm stretch has been used to improve rear passenger space. The Bentayga was already pretty roomy back there, so another seven inches or so has really made it spacious. Even this tester, at 6ft 2in, could stretch out comfortably. However, the figures suggest the boot is a bit small, with four-seat EWBs getting 392 litres of luggage space. That does increase substantially if you choose the five-seat car, but it's still on the small side for an SUV of this size. That said, the boot feels bigger than the numbers suggest, and there's plenty of room for most customers' luggage.

Performance

Like the standard Bentayga, the EWB comes with a 4.0-litre V8 petrol engine that produces 550hp. Of course, the Bentley is a heavy car Ė particularly in long-wheelbase form Ė but it can still get from 0-62mph in just 4.6 seconds, making it around a tenth slower than the standard-wheelbase car. That difference is, essentially, nothing, and itís no less efficient either, not that anyone buying one of these will care much about fuel consumption. There is a suggestion that a hybrid version will follow for those more interested in their eco credentials, but the V8 is still refined and smooth. Yes, it gargles a bit at times when you might not want it to, but itís quiet in the cruise and it has a lovely snarl when you put your foot down. Itís a great engine.

Ride & Handling

Using what we can only assume is witchcraft, Bentley has managed to make the bigger, longer, heavier EWB drive every bit as well as the standard car. Yes, the British company has fitted four-wheel steering, which (ridiculously) gives the car a smaller turning circle than the conventional Bentayga, but it doesn't roll any more in corners and it doesn't feel any larger on the road. It feels every bit as agile as before, which is quite impressive given the Bentayga's natural ability.

Of course it feels slack and rubbery in Comfort mode, but in Sport mode it morphs into a proper sports SUV, able to tackle winding roads like a hot hatchback. It has off-road ability, too, thanks to its all-wheel-drive system and suspension that can raise or lower the vehicle, while an optional pack adds some off-road goodies. The only real catch is that it doesn't feel quite as comfortable as we'd like, with a slight nuggetiness to the ride here and there. It isn't a boneshaker by any stretch, but it isn't a magic carpet, either. A Range Rover or a Rolls-Royce Cullinan will be marginally more comfortable, albeit less dynamically capable.

Value

Bentley hasn't yet announced prices for the Bentayga EWB, partly because it hasn't homologated the car yet. We don't know official carbon dioxide emissions, and therefore we don't know how much customers will be charged in tax. However, Bentley has indicated the EWB will cost something in the region of £190,000 before options, so you're looking at spending something in the region of £250,000 to get the car you want. That's roughly what our test car cost, and it came with plenty of toys. Aside from the usual leather upholstery, satellite navigation and digital instrument display, the car offered Bentley's Airline Seats and a panoramic glass roof, as well as backlit leather in the doors.

Verdict

In many ways, the Bentayga EWB is the most appealing model in the Bentayga range. By increasing the passenger space without damaging the car's handling, Bentley has fulfilled its brief to increase the car's appeal. However, for those who rarely sit in the back of their Bentaygas, there's little point in spending a very considerable sum to gain space you aren't going to use.



James Fossdyke - 13 Dec 2022



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2023 Bentley Bentayga Extended Wheelbase (EWB). Image by Bentley.2023 Bentley Bentayga Extended Wheelbase (EWB). Image by Bentley.2023 Bentley Bentayga Extended Wheelbase (EWB). Image by Bentley.2023 Bentley Bentayga Extended Wheelbase (EWB). Image by Bentley.2023 Bentley Bentayga Extended Wheelbase (EWB). Image by Bentley.

2023 Bentley Bentayga Extended Wheelbase (EWB). Image by Bentley.2023 Bentley Bentayga Extended Wheelbase (EWB). Image by Bentley.2023 Bentley Bentayga Extended Wheelbase (EWB). Image by Bentley.2023 Bentley Bentayga Extended Wheelbase (EWB). Image by Bentley.







 

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