by Jay Traugott
It may sound hard to believe but it's been five years since the Bentley Bentayga arrived on the scene, in which time more than 20,000 examples have been built. Since its arrival, the competition has done its best to respond but the Bentayga has more than held its ground. But like every vehicle, a midlife update is necessary in order to keep it competitive, and Bentley is very determined to cement the Bentayga's status.
Introducing the 2021 Bentley Bentayga featuring a restyled exterior, a new generation infotainment system, and a refined interior with more customization options. Although things remain the same under the hood, Bentley further refined a few driving systems for improved on- and off-road performance. Is an all-electric Bentayga in store?
Not at this time, but Bentley remains confident the refreshed 2021 Bentayga lineup will be more than capable of attracting returning customers and thousands more.
Bentley designers were tasked with applying the brand's latest styling language to the Bentayga. As a result, every panel at the front and rear has been changed in order to have "a cleaner and more modern look." For starters, there's a new matrix grille that's larger and more upright than previously. The LED headlights have been pushed slightly further back and apart from each other. For the first time on any Bentley, the Bentayga receives elliptical headlights.
Take note of the new vent located on the side just above the front wheels. Speaking of which, the massive 22-inch wheels now have five designs to select from. Out back, the Bentayga looks quite a bit different than before thanks to new elliptical taillights that give off a jewelry-like appearance when lit. The tailgate has also been redesigned and there are now larger, oval-shaped split exhaust pipes.
Two new colors have been added to the palette, Viridian and Patina.
The Bentayga's handcrafted cabin sports a number of changes, big and small. There's a new steering wheel design and door trims. The center stack housing the infotainment screen has been redesigned as well. Above this, you'll notice that the center vents are now gone, replaced by a single vent with a chrome bezel that integrates the timeless and traditional Breitling clock. Designers also took advice from customers and added a large storage pocket along the center console. A wireless phone charger can be found in front of the shift lever. A new 10.9-inch touchscreen, next-generation heads-up display, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, while a 12-speaker audio system comes at no cost and a 20-speaker system is now optional.
Buyers have a choice of either a four- or five-seat layout. The latter has a center console between the seats with increased knee room. For those who need all the seats they can get, Bentley also offers a three-row, seven-passenger setup.
Bentley further refined the shape of the seats by way of new foam and cover designs. Buyers can, once again, select from a number of contrast stitching and hand stitching options. For the first time, micro-piping stitching is offered.
Under the hood, Bentley knew not to mess with a good thing. The 2021 Bentayga will initially come with the familiar 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 with a total of 542 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of torque. Power is distributed to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. Expect to go from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds and a top speed of 180 mph.
Later on, the refreshed Bentayga will once again have a hybrid option, only this time it'll be a plug-in. The 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 engine is also on the docket.
The automaker further refined its Dynamic Ride active roll control driving system for improved steering and response. There are up to eight unique driving modes, four on- and four off-road, in order to provide drivers the ideal setup for any situation.
Since the Bentayga's original 2016 market debut, competitors such as the Rolls-Royce Cullinan, Lamborghini Urus, and Mercedes-Maybach GLS have launched. All three follow a similar formula of high-performance and uber-luxury in their own unique ways. The Urus, however, is geared more towards performance-focused buyers while the latter two, including the Bentayga, typically cater to those seeking a better blend of luxury and power.
The updated Bentayga, however, has the advantage because Bentley has spoken extensively with customers. This knowledge has resulted in a better vehicle than before. The others will again have to play catch up.
Official pricing has not yet been announced, but we don't expect any significant increases over the current $168,300 MSRP. Sales are expected to get underway before the end of the year.