Production of the 2017 Bentley Bentayga doesn’t begin until next week, but Bentley wasted no time revealing a special First Edition of the ultra-luxury SUV in Los Angeles. Demand for the standard Bentayga has been so high that this distinctive First Edition sold out almost instantaneously.
Compared to the standard 2017 Bentley Bentayga, the First Edition bears a handful of bolder styling details and limited-edition badging. Hand-polished, 22-inch wheels are the first thing you’ll see, thanks in part to a flashy two-tone paint finish. Echoing the dark-accent theme is a full carbon-fiber package, accenting the front spoiler, trademark fender vents, rocker sills, rear diffuser, and roof-mounted spoiler. While these add-ons will later become available on the standard 2017 Bentley Bentayga, only First Edition models will get unique Union Jack badging for the front doors and interior wood veneer, illuminated treadplates, ambient lighting and hand-stitched First Edition leather interior.
There will be 608 total units built of the Bentley Bentayga First Edition, referring to the 608 bhp (600 hp) produced by the brand’s all-new twin-turbo W-12. The U.S., which is Bentley’s biggest market for the Bentayga, will receive 75 units. Bentley plans to build 1,500 Bentaygas per year for the U.S., and about 4,000 globally. By adding this single model, Bentley will increase its volume by about 40 percent.
Each Bentley Bentayga First Edition that’s sold will also come with the buyer’s choice of three Breitling watches. One of these, the Emergency 2, features a built-in pin which can be removed to instantly signal rescue services to get you out of a tight spot at “virtually any location in the world.” If you feel like you can easily part with $170,000, then Bentley will direct you to its Mulliner Tourbillon clock, which the car winds automatically.
More updates ahead
While the Bentley Bentayga launches as a W-12-powered two-row SUV, more variants are still planned. A plug-in hybrid version as well as a V-8 diesel are still happening, and Bentley also confirms that a gas-powered V-8 will join the mix a bit further down the line. So what about a no-holds-barred Bentayga Speed? “Maybe,” says board member for sales and marketing Kevin Rose. “There’s certainly room for a high-performance version.”
For now though, Bentley is making sure the Bentayga offers practicality and utility as much as performance and luxury. The Bentayga is available with either two rear bucket seats (which are identical to the front seats) or with a second-row bench that seats three. Within a year, a seven-seat, three-row version will be added to the lineup. But don’t expect much in the way of headroom with the third row unfolded–although the Bentayga does have a proportionally long rear end, the super-fast rear window means this will be very much a kids-only space.
Sit High Up, Trickle Down
Rose, along with other Bentley brass, stressed how important the Bentayga is for the brand. In addition to bringing in new, younger customers, the Bentayga could well bequeath some of its advanced technology to other vehicles in the lineup. Sooner or later, you’ll likely see the Bentayga’s advanced electronic anti-roll bar technology throughout the British stable, along with direct and port fuel-injection for other engines beside the W-12.
The story is the same for design, as lead exterior Sangyup Lee explains the effect that the Bentayga will have on Bentley’s to come. “To get younger customers, luxury needs to be a little different, and the Bentayga is a big step in the direction toward a larger lifestyle focus than we’ve had in the past,” he says. “But this is only the starting point. We have to keep taking the Millenial market seriously, and stretch our comfort zone with different ideas like the EXP 10 Speed 6 sports car concept.”
While the boxy EXP 9 F SUV concept was visited with mixed feedback, the response did a lot to reinforce Bentley’s values for what their cars should look like and what values they should evoke. “You have to be mature to be able to design a Bentley. We aren’t a brand that’s about trendiness,” says Lee. “A car shouldn’t look old quickly, so it needs to stay classic. The EXP 9 was deliberately provocative, but it told us that we didn’t need to be boxy and look like everyone else.”
First deliveries for the 2017 Bentley Bentayga will take place in Europe by March or April, and by June or July in the U.S. And as Lee says, you’ll know it when you see it.