2015 Frankfurt - Bentley Bentayga, the world's fastest SUV, debuts

These days, profits and revenue in the automotive industry are driven by Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV) and crossovers. With fat margins and ever-increasing demand, this is one segment that just can't be ignored by any manufacturer. Bentley is the latest to give in to this trend. Under the spotlights of the recently concluded Frankfurt Motor Show, Bentayga, the British luxury brand's first SUV, made its debut. Its interesting to note that the weirdly-named Bentayga is also the most powerful and the fastest SUV on earth now.

When Bentley previewed its future SUV with the EXP 9F Concept at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, the reception was lukewarm at best. Critics and loyalists were aghast at what the Crewe-based manufacturer came up with, forcing Bentley to go for a redesign. The Bentayga is the result of that. Sure, it does look better than the EXP 9F to start with. 

The large matrix grille with its characteristic diamond meshes up front, flanked on either sides by twin circular LED lights, gives the Bentayga an unmistakable Bentley identity. Walk around and the Bentayga's massive proportions make their presence felt. This sure is one imposing SUV, helped in large parts by that sculpted hood with the center ridge, prominent power lines on either sides and the muscular, if slightly odd-looking, rear haunches. At the rear, Bentley's new horizontal segmented taillights gives the signature touch while the fat dual exhausts hint at the power hiding under all that aluminium and sheet metal. Roof rails and skid plates at the front and rear completes the SUV look.

Just one look at the images released by Bentley is sufficient to convince us that this has got to be one of the most luxurious cabins in the automotive industry. Said to be made of hand-crafted wood and leather with polished and knurled metallic bits sprinkled here and there, the Bentayga is a true-blue Bentley inside. Available in four and five seat configurations, the Bentayga's cabin can be personalized to individual tastes through Bentley's bespoke division with almost unlimited options for paint, leather and veneer. An 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system comes with in-built navigation, a 60 GB hard drive and a choice of upto 30 languages. Those seated at the rear benefit from removable 10.2-inch Android-based entertainment tablets with 4G and WiFi capability that are fixed to the headrests.

Other notable features include 22-way adjustable front seats with massage function, panoramic sunroof, hands-free tail gate, four-mode adjustable air suspension, world's first electronic active roll control dubbed 'Bentley Dynamic Ride'. As usual, a full suite of active and passive safety technologies would ensure the Bentayga offers complete protection to its occupants in all circumstances. 

At the heart of the Bentayga is a 6.0-liter, twin-turbo W12 TSI engine. Developing 600 horsepower at 6000 rpm and a peak torque of 600 Nm between 1250 to 4500 rpm, the Bentayga can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in just 4.1 seconds and reach a top speed of 301 km/h. That's sports car territory! If you want a high-riding vehicle with go 'almost' anywhere capability and yet keep pace with the Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Porsches, the Bentayga should be your choice. A high-performance diesel and plug-in hybrid options would join the lineup later as will a 7-seat version.

The Bentayga is to Bentley as Cayenne was to Porsche. Purists may cringe but the Bentayga is sure going to bring in sales and profits for the brand. That's ultimately what it wants!

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