The Bentley Bentayga is the first SUV from a luxury automotive brand to properly take on the mighty Range Rover. So far it has received a mixed reaction in the press, so we decided to experience the Bentayga as Bentley intended, on a luxurious European road trip to see if it is worth the investment. When I say we I mean, myself, a co-driver and two cameramen who were shooting a film.
Bentley Bentayga Specs
‘Our’ Bentayga was specked with £29,475 of options pushing the total price to £189,675. Finished in Dark Sapphire with Imperial Blue hide and a Chestnut veneer it really did look good in the sunlight. The looks aren’t for everyone though, but it is distinctly a Bentley and in my opinion its best angle is a rear 3/4 view.
Fitting on the EuroTunnel
So, that’s the introduction, now for the drive. We started off driving from London down to the EuroTunnel, the car is big, but just fits into the sub 2m category on the train, driving on is tight but the high sidewalls mean you need not worry about curbing the alloys.
Overnight in Reims
Within an hour we are in France and heading down to Reims for our first overnight stop over. The next morning, we were up at 6am to catch the sunrise at the historic site of the old pit straight, it was well worth the early start and we knew today was a long drive down to Monaco so wanted to get going.
Filling Up on Fuel and Food in France
It’s 983 kilometres to be precise, on route we would need to collect our fourth passenger from Lyon airport so opted to stop for lunch in a charming town called Bourg en Bresse. By lunchtime we were already on our second tank of fuel averaging around 400km to a tank (£100 of 98 octane).
Having set off at 9am after our early photoshoot, stopped for lunch and detoured to collect a passenger, we arrived into Monaco at 7.30pm, not bad going. More remarkable is that myself and my co-driver still felt pretty fresh. The front seats blow out cool air and the assortment of massage settings mean you are very comfortable. Stepping out into the hot Riviera heat was quite a shock to the system!
Utilizing the Top View Camera in Monte Carlo
The next morning, we drove the Bentayga into Monte-Carlo for more filming and were pleasantly surprised to receive admiring glances from the locals. The Bentayga is still a fairly rare sight on the roads even in Monaco! The car parks in France and Monaco are famous for being tight, while it is a very large car the top view cameras in the City Specification option make it a far less stressful event and scrapes are avoided.
After a delicious lunch at Cafe de Paris with some friends we were taken to a secret spot high above Monaco with stunning views across to Cannes and Italy. Parking the car on the loose stones it looks just right and you can see that this is a car designed to go off-road, sadly on this trip we won’t venture further than stones or grass, maybe next time!
Parking in Portofino
The next day we headed into Italy to visit Portofino and discovered one of the tightest car parks we have ever seen, again we just squeezed in, this time with some help from the locals. If you haven’t ever visited, do add it to your list. Portofino is absolutely stunning, but for the full experience hire a chartered boat and head out on to the water for the best views.
From Milan to the Mountains
From here it was a short drive to Milan and the Navigli district. We stayed at the Art Hotel Navilgi just next to the canal and a great selection of bars and restaurants. In the morning we just managed to catch the sunrise down the canal, shot a few film clips and then headed off towards the mountains.
Testing Sport Mode on Lake Como Roads
On route we stopped for lunch at Lake Como, again another location that requires a visit. The drive down from the Autoroute to the lake was stunning with classic hairpin turns offering far reaching views. With quiet roads it was an opportunity to see how fast the car is.
The answer? Very, very fast. 0-60mph is dispatched in a supercar like 4 seconds and it will go onto 187mph. In Sport mode the car remains level through the corners and you can start to have some fun with the car, but you will always be very aware that this is a big and heavy car.
Taking on the Stelvio Pass
With lunch finished we set off to the famous Stelvio pass near Bormio. Some people say this is the best road in the world, others disagree. We expected the road to be busy given it is August and peak season, luckily we arrived late afternoon and the road was fairly quiet. While it is stunning, it doesn’t lend itself to great driving, instead one should cruise up enjoying the moment and the views.
After numerous stops we arrived at the peak almost 3km high. By now the sun was setting and the view was absolutely stunning as we pushed up through the clouds. From here we drove back down to Bormio for our overnight stop over and discovered a fantastic restaurant called Al Filo, go there and have the ravioli!
Trek Through the Alps
From Bormio we headed through the Swiss Alps to Davos, famed for hosting the World Economic Forum. We stayed at a brand new hotel called the Ameron, with good quality secure parking and a high quality finish throughout the hotel it was the perfect stop over ahead of our final 1,000km drive back to London.
Over seven days we spent £1,100 on fuel and covered 4,500km. Nobody complained about comfort at any point. We had one moment where the brakes started to smoke descending the Stelvio pass, but that is to be expected in a car like this, fully loaded with four men and luggage! The only negatives were the in-car sat-navigation which got very confused in Milan and was just a bit too slow when making important turns and also the interior switches which at times felt a bit too similar to Audis. The Bentayga shares the same platform as the Q7 so it’s to be expected, but at almost £200k it should feel more special.
Worth the Investment?
For the purpose of covering serious distances by automobile the Bentayga makes a lot of sense, but for those that crave an involving driver experience you may need to look for something a little smaller and sportier like the Macan, but you will have a lot less space for your friends to travel in comfort.
About the Author: Tim Hutton has been involved in the automotive industry for 17 years, creating ideas and content for premium brands. When not writing about cars, you will find him driving them all around the world. Having learned to drive at seven in a racing car, petrol is very much in his veins.