Bentley has launched its first diesel car ever: the Bentayga Diesel SUV. A 4.0-litre V8 developing 429bhp and 664 lb ft of torque take the SUV to 62mph in 4.8 seconds, making it the world's fastest diesel SUV. It's also Bentley's cleanest model with a CO2 output of 210g/km.
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The engine is the result of a co-development between Bentley and sibling company Audi, who have put a slightly different version of the unit in their SQ7.
The new model will cost £30,000 less than the standard W12 Bentayga, with a price tag of £132,800, which Bentley believes will open the doors to younger customers, many of whom they say are conquest sales from Land Rover's Range Rover.
GRR was driven to the Crewe factory in one of the pre-production Bentayga Diesels last week; there is no notable noise, vibration or harshness transmitted from the V8 diesel; in fact, you'd only know it wasn't the petrol unit at low speeds by observing the rev dial. When pressing on, we were told that from outside there is some trademark gruffness, but it's probably a price worth paying for a maximum claimed fuel range of 1,000km (600 miles), or London to Verbier, as Bentley pointed out. This might be the first SUV that has an equal claim as a true grand tourer.
At the heart of the engine, nestled in the "V", are sequential turbochargers, with an electric compressor taking up the initial strain and covering any noticeable turbo lag.
Bentley is the first to admit that "Diesel" and "Bentley" are not two words you'd often put together, but the brand has thought long and hard about this move, waiting until it had the right engine in its paws, but "we now have the right engine and the right car. It has to fit within a Bentley context", we were told at the launch.
And that right context is a wave of torque at low throttle responses, that fits with a luxury model.
The Bentayga, like the Cayenne for Porsche, has been a runaway success. Bentley had planned 3,600 cars for the first year of production but has already built 3,300 and is predicting 5,000 sales by the end of the year.
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