Powertrain: All-new 6.0-liter, twin-turbocharged W-12 engine and ZF eight-speed automatic transmission
Technology: Standard features include blind-spot warning, exit warning and high-beam assist. Options include head-up display, night vision, park assist, traffic sign recognition and pedestrian warning. Infotainment system has a main 8-inch touch screen. Design features include sleek headlight washers. An Apple Watch app, created to give rear-seat passengers the same amount of control as those in the front, connects over Bluetooth and gives users access to the Bentayga's heating, ventilating and air conditioning settings and massage functions.
Safety: Driver and passenger airbags, front and rear side curtains, front and rear seat thorax bags; crash detection and mitigation systems
U.S. sales target: IHS Automotive forecasts 1,000 to 1,200 a year from 2017 to 2020.
Competitors: Range Rover SVAutobiography, Porsche Cayenne Turbo S
Strengths: Fast and powerful driving dynamics; solid off-road chops, even if it looks silly climbing a sand dune; Bentley's signature handcrafted pedigree and the Volkswagen Group's deep technology and parts bin; smooth stop-start system; seemingly endless customization options with 17 standard paint colors, 90 additional paint colors available and bespoke upon request; 15 standard leather hides and seven standard veneers are available; there are even 14 seat belt colors.
Weaknesses: Outward rear visibility; no third-row seat at launch. The cargo area is small, with only 17.1 cubic feet of space behind standard rear seat. Range Rover offers nearly twice as much. With the optional four-seat layout, cargo capacity drops to 15.2 cubic feet. Does the styling stand out enough in the eyes of the well-heeled who think big and bold when the name Bentley pops up?
Bottom line: Bentley has timed the release of the first ultraluxury-brand SUV perfectly. Americans are in love again with big SUVs, even if they never take them off road. The Wall Street crowd is riding high and the 0.1 percent-household crowd is still spending to add to its trove of wheels. Like the Porsche Cayenne did when it went on sale in 2003, the Bentayga is likely to become the newest trophy SUV coveted by the Hamptons crowd. Will it remain the fastest-SUV in the world, with a top speed of 187 mph, when Maserati, Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce mount SUVs?