We had a chance to catch up with Bentley CEO Wolfgang Durheimer at the 2015 Frankfurt show, and he was in a very good mood, for good reason. He had just unveiled the Bentley Bentayga, a vehicle that has been billed as the most powerful, luxurious, and fastest (its 187 mph top speed barely nips the highest spec Porsche Cayenne) SUV in the world.
“Luxury doesn’t have any limits,” Durheimer proclaimed, “We are defining the segment.”
He isn’t kidding. Case in point: the optional Mulliner Tourbillon by Breitling clock, a near-$170,000 option that Durheimer is particularly proud of. Machined in solid gold (rose or white, customer choice of course), the watch’s face can also be selected with a mother-of-pearl or black ebony face. As if that isn’t enough, it’s further adorned with eight diamond indexes and given that the watch needs to be wound, Bentley has developed a winding mechanism within the car to keep it timed right. Seeing as the Bentayga will start at around $229,000 (the initial, top spec Edition One model is $300,000 and is already sold out), it has to be one of the most expensive factory-offered options of all time, especially relative to the car’s price. “It’s a harmonious piece of art,” Durheimer said. True enough. Luxury indeed has no limits.
It’s not like the Bentayga doesn’t give you your money’s worth, however. Here are a couple of more tidbits about the Bentayga:
-15 special pieces of hand selected wood are used for each vehicle.
-As are 16 leather hides, that’s a lot of cattle.
-The Bentayga can be outfitted with a Mulliner Hamper Set (think picnic luggage), complete with a champagne cooler (naturally), and Linley china cutlery, crockery, and crystal glass designed for the vehicle.
-The Bentley Dynamic Ride system (an in-house design and the first of its kind in the VW Group) uses a 48 volt power system to help level the Bentayga during aggressive maneuvering, especially in cases where rollover danger could be an issue.Durheimer said it can react infinitely quicker than a hydraulic system to rapidly changing dynamic conditions.
-The W-12 engine, with 600 horsepower and 663 lb-ft of torque, is 80 percent new and built at Crewe. Durheimer couldn’t hide his satisfaction that it is the fastest SUV on the planet, at least for now.