Super-SUVs are all the rage today. Especially among afluent customers. Hence the Bentley Bentayga, the firm’s first SUV ever and a car of superlatives. But is it also the new star among luxury SUVs? German magazine Autobild hosts the first comparison with 2017 Mercedes GLS and Range Rover.
All-rounder, universal genius – such titles are the norm in the super-SUVs segment. Even so, strictly speaking, there is no vehicle that truly meets all the requirements. Being fast like a sports car, comfortable and luxurious as a limousine, spacious like a station wagon and off-road capable as an SUV – a recipe which simply contradicts itself on very many points. So far. For now comes the Bentley Bentayga – a super SUV beyond compare, from image to price and power.
With 608 hp on tap, the 208,488 euro Bentley might be pricey, strikingly so to be honest, but is not alone in its segment. Here it meets two other stately fellows: the Mercedes GLS 500 4Matic (455 hp, from 97,104 euros – a GLS 63 AMG with 585 hp, priced from 135 065 euro was not available for testing) and the 550-hp Range Rover 5.0 V8 SC LWF SVAutobiography (from 196,000 euros).
Visually, the extroverted and overtly imposing Bentley easily claims the leadership. Its technical affinity with its close brothers Touareg, Q7 and Cayenne is carefully hidden and even hard to imagine when faced with the sheer size of the Bentayga. Tough competition comes not in the shape of a related VW Group model, but the British style icon Range Rover. In its high-end version SVAutobiography with a supercharged V8 engine and long wheelbase it demonstrates everything a luxury SUV is capable of. The Benz occurs in direct comparison as an almost modest, down to earth alternative, although its dimensions remain just as lush as those of its British rivals.
Let’s move on to the interior. The Autobild editor first boarded the Benz – and felt immediately at home. Seat comfort, space, operation, processing – everything is as swift as it should be! Although certain elements on the center console shared with the old C-Class makes the GLS’ interior slightly less sensual than those of its counterparts.
The king of luxury is clearly the Bentley. The curved cockpit is dominated by hand-stitched leather, hand-polished wood and air nozzles carved from real metal. Okay, the levers on the steering wheel are from the Q7 – but the Bentley Charm doesn’t even twitch at such a well concealed secret.
Time to turn our attention to the equally plush Range Rover: decadent space, lambskin carpeting, individual rear seats with champagne cooler compartment and ventilated, heated, massaging leather seats, electrically driving out picnic tables … Wow!
The rear passengers misses nothing, apart from the prospective self-drive which offers considerable off-road panache and plenty of pulling power. The supercharged V8 churns out 550 horsepower and accelerate the 2.7-ton SUV in 5.5 seconds to 100 km / h. A pleasure – as long as it goes straight. The smooth, but hardly feedback mediating steering and strong body roll nip any attempt to claim the top spot in therms of dynamics.
Don’t raise your hopes with the GLS 500, though, as in the big Mercedes fun galloping also remains far from reach. While the more direct steering and well-functioning active roll compensation system (optional) awaken the desire to push harder, the early and rigorously intervening ESP dials the driving pleasure a notch or two. Big thumbs up for the splendid, beefy V8 (pulling even at 1750 rpm) and the swift switching nine speed automatic transmission, both making us to ask for more.
More’s only avalaible in the Bentayga. Namely, more of everything. More cylinders, more power, more contact, more life. The W12 pushes the big Bentley so vehemently that the Range and GLS shrink after a few seconds to small dots in the rearview mirror. After 4.1 seconds the 100 km / h mark is achieved, while the 301 km / h top speed easily makes the Bentayga the fastest production SUV in the world.
The title becomes even more apparent as soon as the first turn comes in. Where the GLS will be slowed by the ESP and the Range Rover feels reminiscent of a land-yacht, the Bentayga carves a new niche for itself with sports car-like dynamics from one curve to the next. Even the weight of 2.4 tonnes seems to be pulverized. This is made possible by the electric roll stabilization system, for which the specially 48-volt electrical system was developed. Suspension comfort? All three are at the highest level – thanks to height-adjustable air suspension and special off-road driving modes.
From the summit, a new ruler of the kingdom of the Super-SUV emerges: the Bentley Bentayga – smooth, powerful and glamorous in appearance. None of its competitors combines dynamics and luxury as glamorous as he. The Range Rover is the stylish alternative for connoisseurs, the Mercedes is perfect for everyday wear.
Tech specs Bentley Bentayga • Engine: W12, Biturbo • Displacement: 5950 cc • Power: 447 kW (608 hp) at 5000 / min • max. Torque: 900 Nm at 1350 / min • Max Speed 301 km / h • 0-100 km / h: 4,1 s • Drive: Permanent four-wheel, eight-speed automatic transmission • Fuel tank capacity: 85 l • L / B / H: 5141/1998 / 1742 mm • trunk: 430 l • Net weight: 2422 kg • EU-mix: 13.1 l SP / 100 km CO2 • Exhaust: 296 g / km • price from 208,488 euros.
Tech specs Mercedes GLS 500 4Matic • Engine: V8 Biturbo, longitudinally front • Displacement: 4663 cc • Power: 335 kW (455 hp) at 5250 / min • max. Torque: 700 Nm at 1800 / min • Max Speed 250 km / h • 0-100 km / h: 5.3 s • drive: Permanent four-wheel, nine-speed automatic transmission • Fuel tank capacity: 100 l • L / B / H 5130/1934 / 1850 mm • trunk: 680-2300 l • curb weight 2581 kg • EU-mix: 10.9 l S / 100 km • exhaust: CO2: 255 g / km • price from 97,104 euros.
Tech specs Range Rover V8 SC LWB SVAutobiography • Engine: V8, compressor, longitudinally front • Displacement: 5000 cc • Power: 405 kW (550 hp) at 6000 / min • max. Torque: 680 Nm at 3500 / min • Max speed 250 km / h • 0-100 km / h: 5.5 s • drive: Permanent four-wheel, eight-speed automatic transmission • Fuel tank capacity: 105 l • L / B / H: 5199/1998 / 1840 mm • trunk: 784 l • Net weight: 2713 kg • EU mix 12.8 l SP / 100 km CO2 • Exhaust: 299 g / km • price from 196,000 euros.