The Bentley Bentayga was the first true hyper-luxury SUV, an off-roader that made even the Range Rover look humdrum, but other automakers haven’t stood idly by since it made its debut at the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show. Now every luxury brand has a high-riding four-door offering, and while Bentley already facelifted the Bentayga for 2021, it’s time for another update.
No more W12!
Bentley doesn’t call this a facelift, and in fact there are almost no visual upgrades. But the 2024 SUV’s across-the-board updates are more substantial than what we normally get for mid-year changes, and include more equipment and the addition of a brand new grade. Oh yeah, and no more W12, because Bentley dropped the Speed when it axed the big motor this year. The only available powertrains for 2024 are the 443 hp (449 PS) V6 PHEV and 542 hp (550 PS) bi-turbo V8.
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The big news for 2023 was the arrival of the longer, Bentayga EWB (Extended Wheelbase), and for 2024 some of the stretched car’s most notable tricks make their way onto the shorter model. One of those is rear-axle steering, which is now fitted as standard to the Bentayga S and Azure, and is optional on other models, helping to reduce the turning radius in urban environments and making the SUV feel more agile on low-speed twisty roads.
Also optional on the shortie are the airline seats that one out of every two EWB customers stumps for. These can apply 177 individual pressure changes across six fully independent pressure zones over a three-hour period to reduce fatigue, and are aided by an automatic climate package built into each chair.
And while we’re on the subject of climate we should give the heating and ventilation system a special mention. It now uses map data to identify when the Bentayga is about to enter a tunnel and switches to recirculation mode 10 seconds before you drop into the hole, reverting to fresh air mode 20 seconds after you exit. I wonder if it can do the same with farms?
Other tech-related additions, some of which have been available on far more affordable cars for years already, include smartphone-operated remote parking for the first time and 3D Surround View cameras to help you keep the new 21-inch wheels free from curb rash. There’s also a new ‘Bang & Olufsen for Bentley’ hifi option, eight new exterior colors, more sustainable materials and the chance to coat your Bentayga EWB’s sills, mirror caps and bumper trim with carbon by selecting the Styling Specification pack.
But perhaps most importantly, Bentley has added a new ‘A’ model to help bridge the gap between the standard Bentayga and the luxury Azure. It gets unique ‘A’ badges, 21-inch machine-finish alloys, an Azure-style fluted grille, ventilated massage seats in one of 15 available leather colors, and your choice of three open pore wood veneer finishes on the dash.
Prices for the updated 2024 SUV haven’t been announced, but if you’re not planning on spending upwards of $200k, forget it.