Bentley Bentayga does diesel in style
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Meet the first Bentley powered by a diesel engine
Being a Bentley though, it's quite some engine. The Bentley Bentayga diesel is also quite some motor vehicle.
The numbers? It features a triple-charged -- yes, triple-charged; two turbos and one compressor -- 4.0-litre diesel V8, delivering 320kW peak power and a colossal 900Nm of torque. This pushes the Bentayga Diesel SUV from zero to 100km/h in under five seconds. With a listed top speed of 270km/h, Bentley suggests this is the world's fastest diesel-powered SUV. Not bad for a two-and-a-half-tonne vehicle.
So, what's the compressor doing in this equation?
A twin-turbo set-up must be effective on its own, right? Yes, but it's all about instantaneous power. The electric powered compressor (EPC) is there to assist the turbocharger spool up from the moment the accelerator is pushed. Think of the compressor unit as the white-gloved valet to the turbo.
Instead of a turbine wheel, the compressor features a compact electric motor. This accelerates the engine's compressor wheel up to 70,000rpm in less than 250 milliseconds, complementing the initial turbo at low engine speeds. This means that the turbochargers are primed immediately, so there is no lag. Also, because the EPC supports the turbochargers with continuous boost pressure, all 900Nm of torque are available at 1000rpm; just above idle in other words.
A valve-lift system controls when the two turbos are deployed; at low engine speeds only one turbocharger is active, then as engine speed increases, the valve-lift system activates the second turbocharger for a seamless thrust of power.
That Bentayga can claim that "fastest diesel" crown is thanks to a bit of unrestrained engineering on the part of Bentley's owner, the Volkswagen Group. The engine was first developed for the thumpingly quick Audi SQ7, but that hefty beast is speed-restricted to 250km/h. Here it isn't.
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Still, while the result would be dictated by something as boring as electronics, a drag race between an SQ7 and a Bentayga Diesel would still be worth travelling many kilometres to witness.
But don't worry. All this uncouth chat about kilowatts and zero-to-one-hundred times and drag races (okay, that last one was just me) doesn't detract from the fact that the Bentayga still feels like a Bentley. It remains refined and comfortable and makes you use words such as "occasion" when talking about driving one.
The fact that it impresses so much, yet you don't drive it constantly thinking "Yes, but an SUV?" suggests two things. First, that luxury manufacturers building the sorts of vehicles people want these days is no longer considered a bold move. And secondly, that as an SUV, the Bentayga is extremely accomplished. It feels handcrafted and luxurious like a Bentley should. Even the indicator tick-tocks with a precise, crisp sound you won't find in your common or garden variety $60,000 SUV.
The Bentayga Diesel features a large boot, ample room for all occupants, a full suite of safety equipment and will no doubt tow almost anything you need it to without any effort whatsoever.
I personally didn't, but they tell me it'll also impress off-road, thanks to all-wheel drive and a multi-mode system which lets you choose between four ride heights, depending on what sort of insurance assessor-worrying mess you're potentially getting yourself into. The Bentayga diesel also boasts self-levelling air suspension.
You can have your Bentayga in either four, five or seven-seat format, which is practical (or simply super-luxurious if you opt for the four-seat option, giving you acres of space).
Another practical fact is that, despite all that power on tap, thanks to the relative frugality of diesel (7.9 litres/100km), its manufacturer suggests a 1000km trip can be completed without the need to refuel. Or getting a staff member to refuel, at any rate. With a combined CO2 output of 210g/km, the Bentayga Diesel is the kindest Bentley on the environment, too.
Enough of the practical stuff, though. You can order your Bentayga Diesel in one of 17 standard colours, or up to 90 from the carmaker's extended palette. Bespoke paint is also available on request, although I assume at that point you might have to get your desired livery past some sort of Bentley taste committee. There are also 15 different shades of leather upholstery on offer and no less than eight species of wood veneer to choose between.
Not that the Bentley's diesel is the sort that you need to drown out (indeed; the noise mitigation in this vehicle is as top-notch as you'd hope for), but you are also able to choose between three impressive audio systems; a standard six-channel, ten-speaker system, a 700W 12-speaker Signature Audio system, or the Naim for Bentley Premium Audio package, which features 1800 watts, 18 channels and 18 speakers including SuperTweeters.
At this stage, it'd be pointless recounting the laundry list of other specification highlights this SUV boasts (there are a lot). Let's just say, if Bentley hasn't specified it, sir or madam probably didn't need it in the first place.
Bentley Bentayga Diesel
Engine: 4.0-litre triple-charged turbo diesel V8 (320kW/900Nm)
Pro: Equipment level, top-notch cabin materials, turbo-diesel power, premium badge
Con: The Bentayga is practical. But the Conti GT is still the Conti GTBentayga does diesel in style