TECH

Bentley Bentayga Diesel Review

Meet the most powerful sound system in an SUV

03/06/2017 10:15 | Updated 12 June 2017

A Bentley is not the first object you would immediately think of as a haven for the latest technology.

To be clear that is not an insult. The Crewe-based company has always taken pride in creating beautifully crafted luxury vehicles that while advanced in their own way, prefer to give you the feeling that you’re experiencing something timeless.

Yet hidden within the Bentayga Diesel, a vast 2.5 tonne luxury penthouse on wheels, you will find not just the world’s most powerful sound system in an SUV but more technology than you’ll know what to do with.

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First, some facts and figures to run through. The Bentayga is Bentley’s first SUV, and the model we tried was Bentley’s very first diesel engine.

Of course it’s not just any diesel engine. It’s a huge 4.0 litre V8 that has been tuned and tweaked to the point at which you would barely know there was anything under that hood at all.

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It’s an almost silent affair broken only by a gently mountainous rumble that precedes an overtaking manoeuvre. The torque of this vehicle, combined with its absurd 0-60mph time of just 4.6 seconds means that when you put your foot down it’s not the Bentayga that’s moving but the world is simply being moved under the Bentayga.

You won’t buy a Bentayga because of how fast it’ll take you from A to B, instead you’ll buy it for how it makes you feel while you’re getting there.

The Sound System

The Bentayga has, according to Crewe, the world’s most powerful sound system fitted into an SUV. Looking at the specs list, the numbers really do speak for themselves.

Custom designed and built by British luxury audio company Naim, the Naim for Bentley Bentayga system is driven by a massive 1,950 watt amplifier.

This powers 20 speakers, including nine mid-range tweeters and an Earth-shaking 300 watt subwoofer as well as an active bass system. 

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A pair of Super-tweeters are then on hand to extend the high frequencies of the sound and give it one of the widest ranging sounds in any car.

The result? The Bentayga stops becoming a car and transforms into a concert hall, a living breathing acoustic space.

The Bentayga’s sound isolating abilities mean that the outside world is already a distant memory however, turn the sound system on and it becomes clear that this car is in a league of its own.

Pick a song like Justice’s ‘Fire’ or Moderat’s ‘Bad Kingdom’ and the Bentayga takes you to the moment when each of those groups were sat in the recording studio and listened to that recording for the first time.

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The Bentayga’s power doesn’t come from volume but rather the astonishing breadth of range and power with which it delivers each note. Listen to ‘The Lark Ascending’ close your eyes and it wouldn’t be an understatement to say you could quite easily imagine yourself in the Royal Albert Hall hearing it for the first time.

This all sounds very gushing but it’s important to note the significance of why. We’ve heard sound systems and even (very rarely) some headphones that can deliver this quality of sound, but to hear something like this in a car is almost unheard of.

Credit must be given to the active bass system for much of this, by perfectly balancing power and volume a timpani drum is able to rumble your foot just as it would if it were metres away up on stage. Yet at no point does it muddy the sound by over delivering on volume.

This example sums up the whole sound system as a whole, it is effortlessly balanced, beautifully tuned and above all, bafflingly powerful.

The Entertainment

If a £6,000 audio system wasn’t enough for you then don’t panic, we’re just getting started.

In addition to the Naim system Bentley will also happily kit out your Bentayga’s rear passenger seats with two Bentley-branded Android tablets.

Each one has a 10.2-inch touchscreen and is attached the rear headrest via a custom dock.

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Both tablets run Bentley’s own software on top of Android giving you access to all the car’s entertainment functions. That means you can watch live TV, DVDs, Blu-Rays and any media content that has been downloaded onto the car’s in-built hard-drive.

Naturally there’s access to the car’s audio systems too including DAB radio and any media device that’s currently connected to the car.

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You’ll also be able to access the car’s navigation system to check how far you’ve got left on your journey while a ‘Mirror’ app uses the tablet’s front-facing camera to make sure you’re looking your best.

For a bit of privacy each tablet also comes with its own pair of Bentley-branded wireless headphones. They’re pre-connected to the tablets and a little sticker even shows you which side of the car they’re designed for.

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Once turned on they’ll immediately connect to the tablet and let you listen or watch in private.

The tablets themselves can also be removed and used portably but given the fact they weigh more than most MacBooks it’s not something we’d particularly recommend.

All-in-all its a remarkable system and while the design of the software feels a little dated the fact that you can even do half these things in a car pretty much lets them off the hook.

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For the driver there’s sadly no Android tablet, what there is however is Apple CarPlay functionality via USB cable letting you access Apple’s own car operating system right on the Bentayga’s central console.

Apple’s CarPlay already feels pretty ahead of most car operating system layouts and in this instance it’s even more so. The Bentayga’s operating system was designed to be a digital incarnation of the brand, not a revolutionary new way of interacting with your vehicle.

The Journey

Last but not least are the features that cement the Bentayga’s status as a Business Class flight on wheels.

Each seat naturally has a massage function and personal climate control thanks to heating modules and air vents built into the seats.

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All of this can then be controlled from the back seats using a rear centre console remote control.

Simply press the eject button and the remote control gently extends from its dock allowing you to pick it up and use it.

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A small colour screen then gives you access to essential car information, climate control settings and finally lets you fine tune the massage function.

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While the driver doesn’t have a remote control they do have both a digital dashboard and a head-up display along with a whole host of smart car functions.

The digital dashboard squeezes between the two beautifully made speedometers and can provide you with everything from full map navigation to showing you a night vision view of the road ahead. 

Finally there’s the heads-up display, a large full colour display that shows the car’s speed, essential navigation prompts and more.

The Bentayga is, as you would expect, incredibly expensive. In fact with all the extras that we’ve just listed this exact model will set you back £205,380.

For those with the money to spend on a car like this though they will have secured themselves a vehicle with a very rare ability. While many luxury car manufacturers will try and impress on you how their vehicles let you escape from the outside world, very few accomplish this more effortlessly than the Bentayga.

Oh and that sound system, you’ll never want to leave.

The Bentley Bentayga Diesel is available now from £135,800.

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