First Drive: 2021 Bentley Bentayga First Edition

2021 Bentley Bentayga 1st Edition

Words by Michael Satterfield | Photos by Luke Kepner

Luxury SUVs are a dime a dozen these days, but Bentley has found a way to make sure they still stand out in the crowd with the 2021 Bentley Bentayga. For 2021 the Bentayga gets a facelift, pulling design language from the new Continental GT and Flying Spur, incorporating them well into the large SUV. The 22-inch wheels and fender vents stand out, but the biggest difference visually is the new rear tailgate and oval taillamps. 

Inside the new Bentayga gets a 10.9 infotainment screen, wireless Apple CarPlay (sorry no wireless Android Auto), and wireless phone charging pad which make keeping connected a little easier. Like the last Bentayga, the interior is incredibly well-appointed and you are hit with a smell of rich leather each time you open the door. Sliding behind the wheel the details are what stand out, but honestly, my favorite part of driving the Bentayga is the massaging seats. For a short drive or a long road trip, they make the drive so much better. My tester was also equipped with the 20 Speaker 1,780 watt, Naim for Bentley sound system which made everything from my favorite podcast to my road trip playlist sound even better. 

For rear-seat passengers, the design team found an additional 4 inches of legroom, making it even more luxurious than the previous model and a new larger touch screen gives passenger control over their seating and climate controls. USB-C connectors are now spread throughout the cabin so everyone can stay fully charged. To keep passengers healthy a new onboard air ionizer charges pollution particles attracting them to interior surfaces so they don't remain floating in the cabin air. 

Under the hood, a 542-hp twin-turbo V8 offers plenty of power, but for those still wanting more the Bentayga Speed with its 626-hp W-12 is available. According to the Bentley website, the 443-hp 3.0 V6 hybrid that was the model's lowest entry-level point last year is not offered for 2021 just yet. With Bentley Dynamic Ride, the suspension has eight different settings, four on-road, four off-road, most Bentley drivers will never venture outside of Bentley or Comfort modes, but it's nice to have the options for the occasional ski holiday or inclement weather. 

2021 Bentley Bentayga

For the 2021 model year, the field of ultra-expensive premium SUVs is pretty crowded, the Aston Martin DBX, Lamborghini Urus, Rolls-Royce Cullinan, even the Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid Coupe Turbo S is in the same price range when well optioned. While I have yet to drive the DBX or Urus, the Bentley has a nice balance of luxury, utility, and is still fun for a driver. Sure it isn't a sports car, but slip behind the wheel of a Bentayga and you will be impressed with how well it handles for a vehicle of its size. The birdseye view camera and sensors make parking the Bentayga in the city a breeze, but where it really shines is on country roads.

2021 Bentley Bentayga hauling vintage race car

The cargo area is massive, 62.6 cubic feet behind the second row, and with the seats folded down, you can put the entire front clip of an MG Midget race car inside without any trouble. You wouldn't expect something so opulent and fun to drive to be so practical. You can order your Bentley in thousands of configurations from interior colors and veneers to optional equipment like the carbon-ceramic brakes, biometric secure console storage, or the required Mulliner rear-seat bottle cooler with bespoke Cumbria Crystal flutes. The sky is the limit when it comes to ordering your very own Bentley, but this 2021 V8 First Edition comes in at $225,855 and features special badging and other special touches that make it stand out above a standard Bentayga.

2021 Bentley Bentayga 1st Edition

2021 Bentley Bentayga Michael Satterfield

2021 Bentley Bentayga

2021 Bentley Bentayga 1st Edition

2021 Bentley Bentayga 1st Edition

2021 Bentley Bentayga 1st Edition

2021 Bentley Bentayga 1st Edition

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