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
2023 BMW X7
Should Keep The BMW Faithful Coming Back For More
While BMW got serious about their SUV game around the same time as most other luxury brands, it took them until just a few years ago to deliver a 3-row example. This year, that X7 is updated with new style and new tech. So, let’s see if that makes it the ultimate premium 3-row family machine.
When it comes to utility vehicles, bigger seems to be better for a lot of people. So, for BMW, there’s none bigger or better than the X7 3-row utility, which for 2023 gets a comprehensive update after just 4-years on the market. That includes a facelift to bring it more in line with the new 7-series carline, which is to say joins the more vertical, aggressive grille party. Also, the actual headlights have been moved lower in the front fascia, with squinty DRLs above for the first time on a BMW. In back, taillights take on a 3D posture, with a new chrome bar connecting them.
There are also multiple new M Sport packages to choose from to spice up the exterior, with larger air intakes up front, high-gloss black trim, upgraded exhaust, cascade grille lighting, and 22-inch wheels, as well as M Sport brakes…
…and the interior too, with aluminum trim and exclusive steering wheel. But, by far the biggest change inside for ‘23 is a new dashtop curved display that eliminates the typical BMW well-hooded gauge pod and blends 12-inch Live Cockpit Pro into the 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, which now features iDrive8. Both a Head-Up Display and a large panoramic sunroof are standard.
Whether set up for 2 or 3 passengers, 2nd row seat room remains plentiful, and though the X7 doesn’t look ungainly large like many of its competitors, access to the 3rd row is quite good. Cargo space is reached through a fairly unique, Range Rover-style, split tailgate, which is quite oddly satisfying to watch unfold. There’s room for 48.6 cubic-ft. of goods behind the 2nd row, with a max of 90.4 cu.-ft.
The base xDrive40i has always been the sensible choice, even more so now with a new inline-6 turbo getting a significant bump in horsepower from 335 to 375, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that results in a total of 398 lb-ft. of torque.
At our Mason Dixon test track, there was enough to blast this big beast to 60 in just 5.4-seconds. That’s only about half a second slower than the V8 did the deed back in 2019. Making that optional 523-horsepower V8 simply overkill at this point. Our best ¼-mile pass was 13.9-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. All X7s get a quick shifting sport-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission, which adds a new Sprint Function that finds the lowest usable gear instantly and maxes electric boost with a hold of the left shift paddle. What fun!
New looks and updated tech are cool, but BMW has also addressed dynamics as well, with a retuning of all chassis systems, including the optional Dynamic Handling Package which adds adaptive suspension with roll stabilization and uses GPS and camera data to prepare for what’s coming. We’re not sure if our slalom course was anticipated, but the X7 sure felt well-equipped to handle it. All-wheel drive is standard on all X7s, along with comprehensive drive modes.
In our braking runs, the pads bit down hard quickly, stopping us from 60 in just 115-feet with very little nosedive.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 6-cylinder are 21-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged just 21.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium.
There’s an average Energy Impact Score; 13.5-barrels of oil yearly, with CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.
Pricing starts at $78,845, and it’s a significant step up from there to $104,095 if you want the V8. Even more reason to stick with the 6-cylinder as far as we’re concerned.
It took the ultimate driving machine folks quite a bit of time to enter the 3-row family crossover segment, but when they did, they were able to create their largest utility ever and keep it consistent with their values. For 2023, the BMW X7 gets even more dynamic, embraces new tech, and looks better too. All things that should keep the BMW faithful coming back for more.
- Engine: I-6
- Horsepower: 375
- 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
- 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
- MW Fuel Economy: 21.0 MPG
- Transmission: 8-speed automatic
- Torque: 398 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 13.9-seconds at 100 mph
- EPA: 21 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined