I say old chap? Fancy a spot of Bentley?
The Bentley Bentayga V8 Diesel – the first diesel-powered Bentley ever – is now available in South Africa.
With Porsche having a hand in its development, the four-litre V8 diesel engine, borrowed from the Audi parts bin, features Triple Charging – two twin-scroll turbochargers, booted by a 48V electrical compressor system. Essentially the electrical system ensures that the two turbos are always ‘on boost’, virtually eliminating turbo lag.
The result is one impressive diesel engine: it boasts 320kW and 900Nm, the latter peaking at an amazing 1000r/min. Bentley says the Diesel will sprint from 0-100km/h in 4.8 seconds, and reach a top speed of 270km/h.
The power is sent to all four wheels via a ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox. The permanent four-wheel drive system has a Torsen centre differential and the open rear differential has an electronic locking system too.
The spacious cabin is, as you’d expect, a bespoke and luxurious hand-crafted environment. There’s leather aplenty, and the attention to detail, a Bentley hallmark, is quite extraordinary. The leather-covered steering wheel takes a master craftsman nine hours to complete. One seat requires 21 working hours to cover in hand-stitched leather.
If the ‘standard’ cabin is not quite up to standard though, you can always order a Mullliner version – and then the options are only limited by the size of your wallet. Talking about the size of your wallet: a standard Bentayga Diesel will set you back R2 950 000.
If you add the upgraded sound system, the massaging front seats, the Milliner finish… you’ll soon be looking at much more than R3-million. Bentley made history some time ago by offering an optional, bespoke Breitling clock, mounted in the dashboard… for around R4.5-million!
Just in case you are thinking poor Bentley will never sell a single car in South Africa… nearly 80 Bentaygas have found new owners in South Africa. That includes W12 and V8 petrol derivatives.
Driving the Diesel
900Nm of torque at 1000r/min. And the torque remains at 900Nm all the way to 3 250r/min. Those numbers tell a lot about the performance potential of the Bentayga Diesel. On the road it translates to absolutely blistering performance, from any speed, in any gear.
Want to overtake a slower vehicle? No problem. Simply squeeze the accelerator pedal some, and the Bentley will blast forward with great speed, utterly defying its hefty girth. Floor the throttle… then you have to hang on some, and hopefully there’s plenty of clear road up ahead.
Another astonishing quality is the sound of this diesel engine… it doesn’t sound like a diesel engine at all. Instead, it roars like petrol V8 when you get frisky with it, chasing it to around 5 000r/min. But not unduly so. This is a Bentley old chap, where things are more regal and more plush, but still very, very rapid.
Right, so this is one rapid SUV, but can it take it corners? Well, that’s like asking a professional boxer if he as ever been punched in the face… yes, the 2.5-ton Bentayga can take corners, and it can slow down rapidly too.
The braking system consist of massive 400mm ventilated discs in front, and 380mm ventilated discs at the back, and the system manages to contain the big Bentley’s girth with remarkable ease.
In the corners you’d maybe expect some body roll… but there’s virtually nothing. Chasing the Bentley through a mountain pass is a real pleasure, what with the paddle shifters on the steering wheel allowing manual changes, the V8 engine roaring and that 900N of torque slinging you out of the slow corners like a projectile being shot from a G6 cannon.
This Bentley is the performance in performance SUV, and it manages to defy the laws of physics on all fronts.
If we had an extra R3-million lying around … well, we’d probably have one of these. It’s the SUV gone all posh, grand and sporty, yet practical. And it has done it in a way we’ve never experienced before.