Bentley Bentayga EWB for a modest but opulent chauffeured experience
- Bentley gave its Bentayga a seven-inch stretch to turn the ute into a big, tall limo.
- The extended wheelbase model offers the option of luxury jet-inspired rear seats.
- The Bentayga EWB is only equipped with a V8 engine and sales will start later this year.
Think stretched limos and you probably imagine the hugely and often hideously stretched sedans popular with those wishing to demonstrate pretended wealth. And also to transport bachelor parties and bachelor parties. These are not accusations you can lay against the new Bentley Bentayga EWB and its modest extension.
The EWB is seven inches longer than the regular Bentayga, with that expansion fully within the wheelbase. Its delivery required major surgery, including new rear doors and side stampings, as well as revised roof and floor panels. But the greatest tribute we can pay to Bentley’s design team is that the stretch is built in well enough to be barely noticeable. It certainly doesn’t look like it should sport a boomerang antenna and faded white walls.
The logic behind the Bentayga’s lengthening was just as simple: a recognition that a growing number of wealthy buyers who get chauffeured around do so, like the rest of the car market, in SUVs. According to Bentayga product manager Chris Cole, the EWB is aimed at the same part of the market that the XL Mulsanne sedan previously occupied before its forced retirement in 2020.
That’s also why, although the EWB will sit at the top of the Bentayga range, it won’t come with the most powerful W12 engine available with the regular wheelbase. Bentley’s argument is that the 542-hp 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 is fast enough in this part of the market, and it’s hard to imagine too many owners will want anything other than its claimed combination of a 0- 4.5 seconds. 60 mph time and a top speed of 180 mph, either front or rear. Although unconfirmed, Bentley insiders are also hinting that an EWB using the plug-in hybrid powertrain, with a 3.0-liter V6, is also likely.
Beyond the need to find longer parking spaces, Bentley doesn’t want Bentayga EWB buyers to suffer the downsides of the increased length. It will get an actively steered rear axle as standard, which offers a turning radius of 38.3 feet which is actually smaller than that of the regular wheelbase car. It will also come standard with Bentley’s 48-volt Active Roll Mitigation System.
The enlarged dimensions allowed Bentley to make more significant changes to the interior. The Bentayga EWB will be available with the same split rear seats as the regular car, or a three-width bench seat, but Bentley will also offer it with the option of what it calls its new Airline Seat. (This is inspired by the type you’ll find in a private jet, not economy class.) It has 22 different planes of motion and also incorporates heat and humidity monitoring, with active thermal management to ensure that occupants are kept at a comfortable temperature. It also has a Relax mode, which will recline the seatback up to 40 degrees while simultaneously moving the front passenger seat forward and deploying a motorized footrest.
Bentley was the first luxury automaker to launch an SUV, with the segment now filling up with multiple rivals. The EWB should be seen as an acknowledgment that the appeal of the Bentayga is changing as this part of the market becomes busier, with the company estimating that up to 45% of global buyers are likely to opt for the option. longer and more spacious. Prices will be announced closer to sales from the end of this year.
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