2017 Bentley Bentayga
We’re not sure which is harder to take; the fact that Bentley is actually selling an SUV, or the fact that it will have tremendous impact on the brand. That has clearly been the case with other luxury makes, where what first appears to be a niche, quickly turns into their best-selling model. So, let’s check out Bentley’s new star, the Bentayga.
The 2017 Bentley Bentayga is certainly one of the most exclusive SUVs money can buy for now; and arrived with perfect timing, with the economy pointing up and luxury consumers once again over- consuming.
But, Bentley did have some help in this momentous effort. The Bentayga’s basic architecture is parent Volkswagen’s MLB platform, which also carries Porsche’s Panamera and Audi’s Q7. However, the Bentayga is more massive than both, at almost 17-feet long.
With that, traditional Bentley lines abound, and seem to translate much better in person, than with any of the prototypes seen on auto show floors.
Both the structure and body panels are mostly aluminum, with steel used only where necessary for crash protection.
On road, that translates to a big SUV that feels thankfully like a much smaller one, as the Bentayga does an amazing job of keeping its composure no matter the speeds or curve radius. All the serenity of prior Bentleys remains fully intact, with perhaps only some minor wind noise a reminder that you’re now in a much squarer box.
A 48-volt electrical system was needed for the Bentley Dynamic Ride electronically controlled, continuously damped, self-leveling air suspension with active anti-roll bars. Set the drive mode to “Bentley” to experience how Bentley engineers would have set up the ride back in the days when only speedy posh was required. Simply dial in Comfort or Sport for its full range of capabilities. Or, come up with your own custom setting. As with all Bentleys, the options are limitless.
Standard is an all-new 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 that not only has the increased output of 600-horsepower and 664 lb-ft. of torque, but it weighs significantly less than the previous 6.0-liter. And after spending some wide open throttle time behind the wheel, it’s even smoother and quieter than before.
All-wheel-drive is another standard, as is the expected ZF 8-speed automatic; towing capacity is 7,700-lbs.
And to round out the impressive facts and figures, we hit 60 in 4.0-seconds flat and cleared the ¼-mile in 12.3 at 116 miles-per-hour.
It pulls like an EV off the line, with a gentlemanly showing of great power and abundant traction; making for the smoothest 12-second trip we’ve ever taken down the strip.
Whether you’re dodging commoners or simply darting through cones as we were, you’ll find steering is a little slow, and this truck’s weight really becomes evident here; but the suspension tightens up nicely, and there’s a solid amount of grip.
Inside, as you might expect, Bentayga’s gorgeous cabin defines extreme comfort, luxury, style, and craftsmanship, notably the extremely precise and exquisite wood work that abounds.
There are of course many other traditional trinkets to impress, like organ stops for the circular vents, and posh, quilted seats that you comfortably sit on top of, not sink down in.
Rear seat room is very comfy and spacious as well, along with a reasonable 17.1 cubic feet of custom luggage space behind it.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 12-City, 19-Highway, and 15-Combined. Our average came in better than expected at 18.1 miles-per-gallon of Premium. Put there’s still a very poor Energy Impact Score of 22.0-barrels of yearly oil use with C02 emissions of 9.9-tons.
Of course, you can expect a hefty price tag as well for this heavy hauler; and if you guessed $235,525, you it hit exactly. Is it worth $150,000 over a Q7 or a Cayenne? Well, if you’ve got the spare cash, why not?
Bentley initially resisted the SUV urge. Now that they’re all in, the 2017 Bentley Bentayga may just be the most prestigious rolling status symbol in recent memory. And due to early orders, Bentley has already upgraded their projected sales figures. Best news of all, it’s very well done, and has ushered in a whole new era for Bentley and for luxury SUVs.
- Engine: 6.0 liter
- Horsepower: 600
- Torque: 664 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 4.0 seconds
- 1/4 mile: 12.3 seconds @ 116 mph
- EPA: 12 mpg city / 19 mpg highway
- Energy Impact: 22.0 barrels of oil/yr
- CO2 Emissions: 9.9 tons/yr
2024 Mazda CX-90
A Force To Be Reckoned With
If you’ve been following Mazda lately, you’ll know they’ve been fielding some serious new designs; you could even say, they’re latest efforts are 10-times better than before. After all, the CX-3 became the CX-30, then CX-5 became the CX-50, and now it’s the CX-9’s turn. So, let’s find out if this all-new CX-90, their largest SUV yet, is a real multiplier or if it’s all just a numbers game.
Don’t think of this 2024 Mazda CX-90 so much as an updated version of the CX-9, as it’s more of a complete rethink of their 3-row crossover, the first built on an all-new, large vehicle platform for the brand. And this platform carries a host of surprises. Not only does it make the CX-90 bigger by every dimension, but it’s a rear-drive architecture, and features all-new powertrains, including the brand’s first plug-in hybrid, and even an inline-6 engine.
Why an inline-6 to replace the CX-9’s turbo-4? Well, in general terms, I6s are better balanced, run smoother, and can deliver more torque at lower RPM. Just ask the BMW faithful, or any of the truckers you see going down the road hauling more than 20-tons of cargo with their inline-6s.
There are 2-versions of the longitudinally mounted 6, both assisted by turbocharging and a 48-volt mild hybrid system. Output for the base Turbo is 280-horsepower and 332 lb-ft. of torque; this Turbo S cranks it up to 340-horsepower and 369 lb-ft. The PHEV, on the other hand, is based on a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter I4, working with a 100-kW electric motor to deliver 323-horsepower and 369 lb-ft. of torque. A 17.8-kWh battery delivers 26-miles of EV driving.
It’s not the prettiest SUV, but it does have very smooth body work; plus, the longer hood and 7½-inches of wheelbase stretch over the CX-9, give it more stately proportions. All CX-90s come with i-Activ all-wheel drive and the brand’s first 8-speed automatic transmission; the longer wheelbase allows tow ratings to step up from 3,500-lbs. to 5,000.
At the test track, our Turbo S launched effortlessly with good grip on the way to a 6.4-second 0-60. The smooth vibes continued throughout the ¼-mile, with refined power delivery, seamless shifts, and a noticeably more solid and stable feel at speed than the CX-9. Our best time was 14.7-seconds at 98 miles-per-hour.
Through the cones, it still behaves like a Mazda, with very good steering feel and a solid presence in corners at low to moderate speeds. Some understeer and body roll will show up when pushed hard, but Mazda’s Kinematic Posture Control uses subtle selective braking to help the vehicle rotate, and safety systems will step in well-before it gets out of sorts.
There’s a nice firm feel to the brake pedal, delivering good stopping results of 118-feet from 60 miles-per-hour. You can feel a lot of weight transfer, but nosedive was well contained.
Another unique element the CX-90 brings is seating arrangements for 6,7, or 8. It’s the 8-seater that’s standard with 3-across bench seating for 2nd and 3rd rows. 7-seaters get either captain’s chairs in the 2nd row, or more contoured seats for the 3rd; 6-seaters sport 2nd row captains and the contoured 3rd row. Cargo capacity varies with seating, but is at best 15.9 cubic-ft. behind the 3rd row, 40.1 behind the 2nd, and 75.2 with all seats folded.
As far as what it’s like to actually live with, the CX-90’s cabin is a clear step up, including on some trims suede-like materials, intricate stitching, and real wood, all consistent with what we’ve seen from the brand lately. A 10-inch dashtop touchscreen is standard for infotainment, with upper trims getting a larger 12.3-incher. We applaud Mazda’s inclusion of plenty of old-school manual controls for radio and climate, which keeps menu diving limited to secondary functions. PHEVs get a few unique controls and readouts to monitor drive modes and battery level.
Overall, the CX-90 is highly functional, entertainingly sporty to drive, and will be more competitive in the ever growing 3-row family crossover segment; and its posh interior may even attract luxury buyers on a budget.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the Turbo S are 23-City, 28-Highway, and 25-Combined. We averaged a good 26.5 miles-per-gallon of Regular.
Pricing begins with the base Turbo at Select trim for $40,970, PHEVs are available in Preferred trim and above starting at $48,820, and the Turbo S starts at $53,125.
Force multiplier is a military term for when strategic elements come together to produce results greater than would have been possible without them. Well, no high-level math skills are necessary here to see that the 2024 Mazda CX-90 is clearly more than just a much better CX-9; it’s now a force to be reckoned with in the 3-row family crossover segment.
- Engine: 3.3-liter I-6
- Horsepower: 340
- 0-60 mph: 6.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 118 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 26.5 MPG (Regular)
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 369 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 14.7-seconds at 98 mph
- EPA: 23 City / 28 Highway / 25 Combined
- Starting Price: $40,970