2021 Bentley Bentayga

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2021 Bentley Bentayga Test Drive Review: Making Everyday Extraordinary

The Bentley Bentayga first arrived in the USA back in 2016, ushering in a new ultra-luxury SUV era. There were Cayennes and Range Rovers prior to its arrival, but the Bentayga offered a prestige level previously unheard of in this segment. Bentley's efforts proved so successful that the Bentayga quickly became the brand's best-selling model, prompting an extensive update. The 2021 Bentley Bentayga is so new, only the doors and roof carry over from the previous model - and there's a First Edition model to celebrate.

Under the hood sits either a twin-turbocharged V8 or optional W12 engine, with a twin-turbo V6 plug-in hybrid model joining the lineup later on. Since its introduction, the Bentayga faces new competition in the Aston Martin DBX, Lamborghini Urus, and Rolls-Royce Cullinan, but at this price point, most shoppers won't be limited to just one vehicle for the family. With radical changes to the exterior and interior, Bentley believes this new Bentayga will continue appealing to ultra-luxury shoppers. CarBuzz spent a few days driving the new Bentayga V8 to find out whether it truly adds a special element to the SUV segment.

2021 Bentley Bentayga Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 Bentley Bentayga?

Since dropping the Mulsanne, Bentley has slowly started expanding its new design language. It features most prominently on the Continental GT and Flying Spur, while the Bentayga has been lagging with an older, much-criticized exterior.

For 2021, the Bentayga gets a new face, updated alloy wheel designs, and sleeker taillights. Looking at the design updates, especially the grille and taillights, you'll note the Bentayga is now more closely aligned with its stablemates. Tech-wise, it now features a more significant 10.9 infotainment screen, wireless charging, and a new entertainment system for the rear seats. The design of the interior has been updated as well.

The round air vents above the infotainment screen have been replaced with sleeker units meant to mimic the Flying B's wings. This opened up more space for the new, larger screen and space for a series of shortcut buttons underneath said screen. These buttons give you quick access to the infotainment's main features, including media, radio, phone, and navigation.

A limited-run First Edition is also available to celebrate the updated Bentayga, available only with the V8 engine. It comes with Bentley's Dynamic Ride, contrast stitching and embroidery on the seats, mood lighting, and a 20-speaker Naim audio system.

Pros and Cons

  • The new design is much more unique
  • Powerful, refined engines
  • Stunning interior with the latest technology
  • Quiet, isolated cabin
  • More engaging drive than Rolls-Royce Cullinan
  • Lots of customization options
  • Rear-seat comfort not what you'd expect
  • Optional extras are costly
  • Platform feels less special than other Bentley models
  • Throttle can feel unresponsive
  • Cargo area isn't massive

Best Deals on 2021 Bentley Bentayga

2021 Bentley Bentayga Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
Hybrid
3.0L Turbo V6 Hybrid
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$160,000
Hybrid First Edition
3.0L Twin-Turbo V6 Plug-in Hybrid
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$160,000
V8
4.0L Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$177,000
V8 First Edition
4.0L Twin-Turbo V8 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$219,430
W12 Speed
6.0L Twin-Turbo W12 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$245,000
See All 2021 Bentley Bentayga Trims and Specs

2021 Bentayga Exterior

2021 Bentley Bentayga Front View CarBuzz
2021 Bentley Bentayga Rear View CarBuzz
2021 Bentley Bentayga Front Angle View CarBuzz
See All 2021 Bentley Bentayga Exterior Photos

Dimensions

  • Length 201.8 in
  • Wheelbase 117.9 in
  • Height 68.0 in
  • Max Width 78.7 in
  • Front Width 66.5 in
  • Rear Width 67.2 in
  • Curb Weight 5,324.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Silverlake
  • Thunder
  • Windsor Blue
  • Cricket Ball
  • Anthracite
  • Anthracite Satin
  • Beluga
  • Black Crystal
  • Onyx
  • Royal Ebony
  • Spectre
  • Storm Grey
  • Titan Grey
  • Black Sapphire
  • Blue Crystal
See all 149 colors

2021 Bentayga Performance

2021 Bentley Bentayga Rearward Vision CarBuzz
2021 Bentley Bentayga Engine Bay CarBuzz
2021 Bentley Bentayga Wheel CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

  • Engines
    3.0L Turbo V6 Hybrid, 3.0L Twin-Turbo V6 Plug-in Hybrid, 4.0L Twin-Turbo V8 Gas, 6.0L Twin-Turbo W12 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    AWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

Peel back the Bentley Bentayga's chrome trimmings, bundles of leather, and sumptuous engines, and you'll find the same VW Group MLB Evo underpinnings used by the Audi Q8, Lamborghini Urus, Porsche Cayenne, and even the Volkswagen Touareg from foreign markets. No amount of brilliant engineering will ever make the Bentayga feel completely unrelated to these models, but to call it a "fancy Volkswagen" is to do this vehicle an unfair disservice. This driving experience feels every bit of its hefty starting price. Bentley's V8 engine delivers effortless performance, though it takes a heavy throttle to access. We noted the accelerator pedal requires a substantial amount of pressure before the drivetrain responds; Bentley's engineers likely programmed it this way to ensure maximum smoothness, so we consider it a feature rather than a complaint. Once prompted, the Bentayga makes the scenery pass by rapidly without disturbing the ambiance in the cabin.

Adding to the drivetrain's creaminess is a 48-volt mild-hybrid system, which improves the stop-start function and adds additional thrust. The Bentayga employs the mild-hybrid system to power the Bentley Dynamic Ride suspension, which counteracts the body to roll through the corners. This SUV truly defies physics with its handling, remaining flat and level even when hustled through a bend at obnoxious speeds. We wish Bentley would have programmed more feedback to the steering though, as the effortless nature of the rack took away some of the fun afforded by the magical suspension. A sportier driving experience can be found in the Bentayga's platform stablemates, the Lamborghini Urus and Porsche Cayenne, though those models lack the opulence and comfort found here. Higher up the price ladder, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is more plush and tranquil than the Bentayga, but at the cost of driving engagement.

2021 Bentayga Interior

2021 Bentley Bentayga Dashboard CarBuzz
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See All 2021 Bentley Bentayga Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 41.7 in
  • Front Head Room 38.0 in
  • Rear Leg Room 40.9 in
  • Rear Head Room 38.0 in

2021 Bentayga Trunk and Cargo Space

2021 Bentley Bentayga Trunk Space CarBuzz
2021 Bentley Bentayga Maximum Cargo Space CarBuzz
2021 Bentley Bentayga Rear Passenger Seats CarBuzz

2021 Bentayga Safety and Reliability

Warranty

  • Basic:
    3 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Corrosion:
    3 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    3 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    3 Years \ Unlimited Miles

US NHTSA Crash Test Result

NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2021 Bentley Bentayga a good SUV?

When shopping at the Bentley price level, cars become more of an emotional decision than a practical one. To that end, the Bentley Bentayga appeals to the imagination of SUV owners that yearn for something more enviable than a run-of-the-mill Cayenne or Range Rover. SUVs often lack that "special" feel afforded by supercars and Grand Tourers, but the Bentayga seeks to bring some of that flavor a bit higher up on the road. Due to the humble underpinnings, we think other Bentley models like the Continental GT and Flying Spur still deliver a more mind-blowing luxury experience, but the Bentayga gets pretty darn close while also offering two things that shoppers love, practicality and ride height.

There are no true "direct" competitors to consider when shopping for a Bentley Bentayga. The Maserati Levante and Porsche Cayenne both aim for a sportier driving experience and cost much less. The Lamborghini Urus is similarly-priced but focuses more on speed than luxury. Finally, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan trumps the Bentayga with a softer ride and plusher cabin but is less engaging to drive and costs nearly twice as much. The Bentley Bentayga carves its own niche in the ultra-luxury SUV space, leaning more towards comfort without leaving the driver yearning for the sports car that's likely parked back at their mansion.

Check out other Bentley Bentayga Styles

2021 Bentley Bentayga Comparisons

Rolls-Royce Cullinan CarBuzz
Lamborghini Urus CarBuzz
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Bentley Bentayga542 hp15/24 mpg$187,600
Rolls-Royce Cullinan 563 hp12/20 mpg$348,500
Lamborghini Urus 641 hp12/17 mpg$225,500

2021 Bentley Bentayga vs Rolls-Royce Cullinan

These two SUVs compete in their little niche segment, with the Lamborghini Urus catering to enthusiastic drivers and the Mercedes-Maybach taking care of lottery winners. The Rolls-Royce is a bigger car and therefore offers more legroom and more luxurious features. We particularly like the optional glass partition between the front and rear seats if you're not in the mood for interacting with the kids. It might not seem possible, but the Rolls is even more refined and quieter than the Bentley.

From behind the wheel, the Bentley dominates. The twin-turbo V12 in the Rolls struggles to compete against the V8, let alone the W12 Speed. A Bentayga is also more pleasing to drive, with the Rolls offering more of a sensory deprivation tank-like experience. At this level, neither car is terrible. They're both epic, and it depends entirely on what the buyer wants from the vehicle.

See Rolls-Royce Cullinan Review

2021 Bentley Bentayga vs Lamborghini Urus

It's hard to imagine these two cars going head-to-head. Sure, both are made by premium manufacturers and retail for the same sort of money, and both utilize the same underpinnings, but that's about it.

The Bentley is a family SUV, built to be as opulent as possible. Its impressive performance figures are merely a by-product of the high-end engines Bentley uses. The Bentayga handles very well for what it is. The Urus is a Lamborghini. Lambos are ostentatious, stupidly fast, loud, and hugely entertaining to drive. The Urus is no exception. It hits all the Lamborghini targets, but it just happens to be an SUV. Both cars are magnificent, but we can't see the owner of one being interested in the other.

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