First Drive: Bentley’s Bentayga EWB brings comfort and refinement to the luxury SUV class

The EWB is a longer and even more upmarket version of Bentley’s popular Bentayga SUV. James Baggott has been finding out what it’s like.

Bentley Bentayga EWB
Bentley Bentayga EWB

What is it?

Bentley Bentayga EWB
Each Bentayga EWB can be made truly personal thanks to thousands of options

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This is a Bentley Bentayga – just a little longer. Focussing on rear seat passenger comfort, the luxury car manufacturer has added 180mm – about the size of an average cucumber – to the Extended Wheel Base (EWB) model. That extra length is contained in the rear door, adding some much-needed additional rear passenger space for the occupants.

What’s new?

It came about after one customer requested Bentley come up with a more comfortable seat in the back. They obliged by adding massaging pads that also constantly adjust to ensure great posture, and sense the occupant’s body temperature every 25 milliseconds to make heating adjustments up and down. The seats are an £8,400 option.

Four-wheel steering has also been added, reducing the turning circle of the long wheelbase model over the standard Bentayga by seven per cent. While dynamic ride, which reduces body roll, has now been made standard.

What’s under the bonnet?

Bentley Bentayga EWB
There are 2,500 new parts in the Bentayga EWB

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The EWB features the firm’s proven 4.0-litre 32-valve twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine. It’s quite a lump, delivering 542bhp and 770Nm of torque. The benchmark 0-60mph dash takes 4.5 seconds and it will go on to 180mph top speed. Likely to follow, is a hybrid option, already available in the shorter wheelbase model.

An electric option is bound to arrive at some point too. Bentley has promised to launch a new EV every year from 2026 as part of a five-year plan, but there’s no word if the Bentayga is on that list, but we’d be very surprised if it’s not.

What’s it like to drive?

For a big large SUV, the Bentayga is noticeably quiet even when being hustled along. Thick glass on the windows keeps the noise down considerably. The four-wheel steering makes it easier to manoeuvre, but despite this, you can’t hide the fact that it is still a lengthy luxury car. The now-standard dynamic ride function seriously limits body roll, though, and makes for a relaxed drive.

And while it’s rather unlikely to ever venture off-road, the Bentley has a drive dynamics mode or optional all-terrain mode to assist. These offer up to eight modes – four for on, and four for off-road – allowing drivers to toggle between settings for the road surface.

How does it look?

Bentley Bentayga EWB
The Bentayga EWB feels composed at speed

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Even hardened Bentley fans will have to work hard to spot the new model from the old. There are four distinct changes – a longer profile, a new front grille, new 22-inch 10-spoke wheels and a repositioned sunroof further back in the car, but you’ll need a long neck to see the latter.

The grille takes inspiration from the Flying Spur, with bright chrome vertical vanes in front of a black mesh. While the additional 180mm length has all been hidden in the rear door making the EWB cabin 40mm longer than any other luxury SUV, says Bentley.

What’s it like inside?

Bentley Bentayga EWB
The interior of the Bentayga EWB is made to a very high standard

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Inside the Bentley is luxurious and comfortable. All seats are heated, ventilated and offer five massage programmes as standard. Naturally.

The Bentayga’s rear air conditioning system has also been tweaked to only work when rear passengers are present, while ionisers make the air nicer to breathe. For those who fancy a tipple on the move, the optional Mulliner Console Bottle Cooler can chill a 750ml bottle of champers and there are two handcrafted Cumbria Crystal flutes to drink from too.

We found the Airline Seat great to use and comfortable, although passengers over six feet won’t be able to stretch out fully. The seat is controlled with a removable tablet that’s stored between the two front seats and the auto adjustment for posture is a clever addition.

The doors have soft close functions in the front, to avoid the need for slamming, while in the back a button can be pressed to close the now-longer doors.

What’s the spec like?

Bentley Bentayga EWB
Rear seat passengers get their own dedicated controls

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With 26 billion – yes, billion – configurations to choose from, Bentley buyers have a lot to pick from when specifying their Bentayga. While most of that choice comes from the fact the manufacturer will match any colour you choose, there’s lots to tick on the options sheet too.

A new Azure specification focuses on ‘well-being’, while the S range delivers more driving performance. The former brings back a famous name that has been absent from Bentleys for years.

Verdict

According to the Crewe-based firm’s research, some 80 per cent of Bentayga owners use their cars daily. But it’s the fact that many will sit in the back and be driven around that explains the focus on rear passenger comfort with the EWB model.

While the changes are minimal, the Bentayga EWB offers more comfort and refinement to buyers who are now shunning saloons, like the now defunct Mulsanne, in favour of the luxury SUV.

But it’s the fact that it’s so hard to spot the model has been extended at all – something that can all too often be awkward and clumsy when implemented poorly – that is probably the new car’s greatest triumph.

  • Model as tested: Bentayga EWB
  • Price: £211,400
  • Engine: V8
  • Power: 542bhp
  • Torque: 770Nm
  • Max speed: 180mph
  • 0-60mph: 4.5 seconds
  • MPG: 22mpg (est)
  • Emissions: 302g/km (est)

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