Bentley Bentayga S – the road trip car of your dreams

Travelling in a Bentley Bentayga is like getting around in a vessel of seven-star heaven, which is no bad thing given the COVID-induced travel restrictions we face these days. This go-anywhere luxury SUV takes the family road trip to a whole new level.

The Bentayga S is the fourth model in the Bentayga line-up, adding sporting agility and musculature over the “entry level” 4.0-litre turbocharged V8 and plug-in Hybrid models it supersedes. It also injects impressive performance and handling capabilities seen previously only in the powerful top-of-the-line 626hp W12 Bentayga Speed.

Bentley invested $1.5 billion so it could be the first luxury brand to offer an SUV to the market ahead of the Lamborghini Urus, Rolls-Royce Cullinan and Aston Martin DBX.

The vehicle’s been a stunning success for the company since it hit the road in 2016, with more than 25,000 customers taking delivery of a Bentayga. Within three years, the vehicle accounted for 45 per cent of the company’s global sales with a large portion of buyers reportedly new to the brand.

In Australia, Bentley says up to 70 per cent of Bentayga buyers had never previously owned a Bentley. And they’re getting increasingly creative with how they’re personalising their rides, especially in terms of colours. Two incoming Bentaygas will apparently turn up in Burnt Orange and Passion Pink, according to a Bentley spokesman.

When we drove the V8 Bentayga Diesel in 2017, our only criticism was the body roll when cornering in the substantial high-riding four-wheel-drive vehicle.

Bentley has dispensed with that problem in the Bentayga S by including as standard the company’s electric active roll control technology, Bentley Dynamic Ride.

Back in 2017, this was a $10,699 option. But you had to have it improved cabin stability, ride comfort and handling to counteract the “Leaning Tower of Bentley”-effect.

Also standard on the Bentayga S is the Bentley Blackline Specification which makes all the exterior brightware black so the vehicle looks more dramatic.

This extends to the rear split oval, sport exhaust tailpipes which deliver a new sportier-sounding note.

An enhanced SPORT mode over a standard Bentayga improves steering and greater turn-in response, Bentley says.

In terms of road presence, the Bentayga S looks more youthful and muscular than its siblings, and rides on new 22” wheels with scythe-like spokes.

Inside, there are lashings of Alcantara  and a new fluted seat design available in four, five and seven seat configurations.

As in the Bentayga Speed, the driver’s information panel is fully digital and customisable, with dial graphics emulating high-end chronographs.

If the Bentley Bentayga S sounds like your road-trip ride of choice, you’re looking at a starting price of $450,200 before taxes, with deliveries expected in the first quarter of 2022.

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In the meantime, customers who like certainty might like the new Bentley Service Plans introduced in Australia in May.

The three- and five-year service plans come at a fixed cost across the entire Bentley model range, and will cost Bentayga S owners $3950 or $7695 respectively.

Factory-trained technicians use genuine Bentley parts for the servicing on regular 12-monthly intervals or a mileage of 16,000km – whichever comes first.

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