The Bentayga weighs 2,416kg, and yet it will hit 62mph from a standing start in 4.4 seconds. Which is a set of numbers that just don’t seem to go together. But when you sit in the beautifully appointed interior, select ‘sport’ on the rotary dial with a mindboggling number of options (thanks to an off-road pack), and mash the throttle into the carpet, then you believe. The engine is a 4.0-litre, twin-turbocharged V8, producing around 550PS (404kW) at around 6,000rpm – which is quite revvy for such a big car. But it’s the torque number that is important, which is 770Nm (568lb ft) and is available from just 1,960rpm. So basically as long as you get just above idle, you’ll get a thump to the back – and not just because you’ve left the massage seats on. All that torque is routed to all four wheels by a torsen diff, which largely sends it backwards, after an eight-speed ZF gearbox has decided what to do with it. Gearchanges are smooth in automatic and ponderous with the paddles, but who is going to use the paddles?
The Bentayga’s damping and suspension are works of art, but there’s just no way of keeping 2.4 tonnes of metal stable when you launch that much torque through it, or indeed when you grab the brakes. The Bentayga will lurch backwards, as you would expect, but gather itself together very quickly. You don’t feel like you’re off for a wild ride on a yet-to-be-broken stallion, just that the car has mass and it is undeniable.
That suspension by the way, is double wishbone at the front, multi-link all around and with 48V electric anti-roll bars. Which explains why, when you approach your first corner, turn with some trepidation, and brace your back across to the inside, you feel like a bit of a prat, as the car simply does not roll. I’m sure there’s a point at which it will (moose test anyone?) but in comparison to what you expect, the Bentayga just ignores corners as if they weren’t there. This, coupled with very light steering, means that hoovering up the B-roads is the stuff of child’s play, despite the hulking volume you’re dragging around.
Stick the car in comfort and cruise along and you’ll feel cocooned from the world, other than the odd unsettling bump (this isn’t a Flying Spur) and a small whistle to remind you just how big the wingmirrors really are.
There’s also a large amount of off-road settings, including hill descent, but if we said we’d tried any of them, we’d be lying.