If I told you ten years ago that Rolls Royce, Bentley or Lamborghini will make an SUV, you most likely laugh in my face and say “it’ll never happen!”, yet here we are, with three new
As you know I absolutely love my saloons, they have the right balance between power, practicality and when I am driving through Europe at great GT option, but of late, I have been considering an SUV for myself.
Many of you will already have had some experience with a Range Rover whether it is the Vogue or the Sport, which are fantastic 4x4’s but lack the exclusivity feel. Today almost anyone can buy a top of the range Vogue, so the timing of these new Super SUV’s could be right?
THE SMART CHOICE: BENTLEY BENTAYGA
For me, I have always seen Bentley as a brand that encourages its owners to get behind the wheel, to take control. It doesn’t matter which model you pick within their current range, getting behind the wheel feels natural, and let’s be honest, 95% of the time when I see one on the road, the owner is driving it. With the Bentayga it is the same, from the moment you walk up the SUV you naturally walk towards the driver’s door.
When Bentley announced that they were going to make an SUV, my first reaction was why? I have never felt that they needed to, but now, my view has changed. The Bentayga is large, it is 16ft long and almost 6ft wide, so it does dominate the road, even more so on country roads.
Let’s start with POWER!
Underneath the hood, you have a brand new 4.0-litre V8 with the addition of two twin-scroll turbochargers which are placed inside the ‘V’ of the engine. This means that the Bentayga has 542bhp giving it a top speed of 180mph. The way the power is delivered is so very Bentley like, smooth and gradual. Getting to 60mph takes only 4.4 seconds, which is enough to give most sports cars on the road a run for their money. When you fill the fuel tank to the top, you have a range of approximately 464 miles, with the addition of Start-Stop feature to help lower the car’s emissions. With many of the world’s cities introducing new laws based on a car’s emissions, the Bentayga should be safe for a good few years.
The exterior design of the Bentayga is inline with rest of the range, with four round LED headlights and the large matrix grill, this is unmistakably a Bentley. The overall design of the exterior is, in my opinion, ok. It doesn’t make me “WOW” when I first saw it on the road, I didn’t get goose-bumps. One thing I do like is the rear end of the car, it is clean and simple. Overall I am not blown away by the exterior, I think given time, it will grow on me, only time will tell. In terms of the choice of alloys for the car, you have 11 wheel designs to pick from, including an all-new 22” five-spoke wheel with black paint and polished finish.
Moving to the interior, IT IS FAN-BLOODY-TASTIC!
It is one of the nicest places to be, the seats are soft and uber comfortable, the stitching detail on the doors and something you very rarely see the Carbon Fibre finish. It is a car that you can easily take to Europe for a week with your family or friends and be comfortable no matter where you are going. Finding your way around the dashboard is effortless, the infotainment screen is clear and easy to navigate. Now, you have a choice of different trims from wood panels to wood and leather steering wheel, which is a first for Bentley. There is also a choice of different configurations for the interior seating, from four-, five- or seven depending on what you are looking to get out of your Bentayga. My advice would be to go for the Five seat configuration as it will age better, but also it the most practical layout. It is also worth mentioning that Bentley offers you 15 different interior colours and five different colour splits too.
The Bentayga comes with an 8” infotainment screen with 60gb hard drive and a choice of 30 languages. You also have access to other features such as Traffic Sign Recognition, Rear Crossing Traffic Warning, which detects any crossing traffic when reversing out of a parking space and Top View which gives you a birds-eye view of the car, ensuring you don’t hit anything that might damage the car. For your rear passengers, they have access to their own removable 10.2” Android tablet which is 4g, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled.
A little bonus for you music lovers, like myself, I would absolutely recommend that you get the Premium Audio package giving you 1,950 watts and 18 speakers and super -tweeters. When streaming music from your mobile, the sound is immersive, a must have.
On the ROAD
When you are on the road, it is so easy to drive and manoeuvre. The ride is silky smooth, and the cabin is unbelievably quiet. Put your foot down and if you really listen, you can hear a little grumble from the rear quad exhausts. Bentley has given the Bentayga off-road abilities with up to 8 modes, four on road and four off-road. To be honest you don’t really need to change the dynamics, as you can leave it up to the car to work out where you are and what you need. The Bentayga V8 comes with multi-mode air suspension with four different modes.
I know that the majority of you won’t need the off-road features, but if you have country estates, it is a worth having.
THE ULTIMATE SUV TUXEDO: ROLLS ROYCE CULLINAN
So Rolls Royce has made an SUV? If someone told me that RR would be doing this ten years ago, I would have told them they were mad!
Here we have the Rolls Royce Cullinan, named after the largest diamond ever discovered. Now before I go into the Cullinan, let’s look at the existing RR range.
Whenever I or anyone walks up to a Rolls Royce, I always walk to the rear doors. Whether it is the Phantom or the Ghost, I always do this, it is natural, I don’t even know that I am doing this when it is happening. A Rolls Royce is designed to be driven in, not to be driven. The only two models I can think off that I would want to get behind the wheel is the Wraith or the Dawn. Therefore I am a little confused with the Rolls Royce Cullinan… Could this be the first model in the range that fits between the two, a car that you can drive and or be driven in?
Let’s start with the exterior, and honestly, I think it is better looking than the Bentayga. The exterior looks refined and purposeful. Now don’t get me wrong it is far from perfect, but it is more perfect than the Bentley. It is not as muscular, and I am glad, the Cullinan has a lot of flat panels, it is very BOXY… but overall, a good looking SUV that will sell, I do not doubt that.
So, who is this Cullinan aimed at? Well, according to RR it is for the young adventurer who wants to be able to take his Rolls Royce off the beaten track. For the individual who wants to be comfortable no matter where they are in the world, from park ranges to desserts to remote beaches. The Cullinan can raise or lower the ride height, it comes with a whole host of technology to allow the car to tackle any terrain.
At the heart of the Cullinan, you have the 6.75-litre twin turbo V12 giving you around 563bhp, with all-wheel drive. I have not driven the Cullinan yet, but I imagine it will be very Phantom-like, smooth, quiet and a brilliant cross-continental cruiser.
This is were the Rolls Royce is the absolute master because they get it right every damn time! It is such a nice place to be, the leather is soft, the carpet is thick and thanks to the large windows it is light and spacious. When walking up to the car, I am drawn to the driver’s door? It is odd, but I genuinely want to get behind the wheel and drive this Cullinan. This is something I don’t get with the Phantom or Ghost. The front part of the cabin is a great place to be, everything is thoughtfully laid out, by pressing the ignition button, the infotainment screen is revealed behind the leather panel. There is also a host of cutting-edge technology making this RR the most technologically advanced car in the range. You have access to Night Vision, Vision Assist, Alertness Assistant, birds-eye view of the car with Panoramic View, Active Cruise Control, Collision Warning, Lane Departure and Lane Changing Warning as well as head-up display and Wifi Hotspot. The Cullinan will also lower itself by 40mm to make entry easier and when you are ready to set off, the ride height will automatically go back to its normal setting. The driver’s dials are also all digital too.
This really is an impressive SUV and I can not give you a full break down until I have driven the car, but from initial viewing of the car, I am warming to it.
THE RAGING BULL: LAMBORGHINI URUS
When I first saw the Urus, I not going to lie, but it put a smile on my face? The design works, it is a little out of the box for what Lamborghini normally produces, but with access to Audi’s toolbox and resources, I think that they have done a fantastic job. All the Lamborghini design cues are present with sharp front bumper through to the muscular rear end. The overall proportions of the car and spot on, it is not as big as the Bentagya or Cullinan, in fact, it is small, but this means that the car feels and looks far more sporty than the Bentley or Rolls Royce. The Urus is designed to be used on a daily basis, a Lamborghini that you can share with your friends and family.
The exterior design takes some inspiration from the earlier LM002. The over the shape of the car feels like a large coupé, with frameless doors and a lower front end to aid aerodynamics. The windows are large allowing enough light to enter the cabin, and you can’t escape the muscular lines and use of the hexagonal theme from the wheel arches to the front grill.
Lets talk power! Underneath the hood, you have a 4.0-litre twin turbo V8 that produces 650bhp. That means that you can go from 0-100km/h in 3.6 seconds. There is no doubt in my mind that this SUV is quick and with 4 wheel drive, you can use the power produced from the engine nearly all the time, from a gravelly road to winding passes in the Alps. The engine itself is mounted lower down to ensure the car sticks to the road and helps the cars centre gravity, which helps reduce body roll through the corners.
As I mentioned earlier that as with all Lamborghini’s the Urus comes with four-wheel drive so you can take this SUV almost anywhere. You have access to six different driving modes, Strada, Sport and Corsa with the addition of Neve (snow), Terra (off-road) and Sabbia (sand). There is also the rear-wheel Steering which can vary depending +/- 3.0 degrees on which mode you have the car in but ultimately means that the Urus is easy to manoeuvre around town.
When you are blasting down the motorway or down a B-road, the exhaust note gives you a tingling sensation in your spine, but when you are just cruising, the cabin is quiet and comfortable and this brings me onto the interior.
When you open the driver’s door you are welcomed by a super simple dash. You have two screens in the centre, one for the main infotainment and the second to control the car functions like the air conditioning. In the middle of the console, you cannot ignore the three big, what look like fighter jet throttle leavers. The first leaver lets you choose the car mode, the large middle selector for the gears (Drive, park, reverse etc) and the third to control the suspension, and various other abilities.
Compared to the Cullinan and the Bentayga it doesn’t feel as posh, but this is a very different animal. The Urus is for the driver, to give the family man or women who enjoy driving but want the practicality of a family SUV. Now don’t get me wrong the quality is absolutely flawless, the materials are soft, and layout if functional and the digital instrumental dials are stunning.
These three SUV’s are unique in their own right.
The Cullinan is perfect for taking you and your family for a weekend break to the Chalet in the woods, or a formal Polo event. Realistically this is not a car that you would take off-road and I am not talking about just driving in a field. The Cullinan is an amazing car and one that will sell really well, with individuals who want a Rolls Royce that they can drive themselves over the weekend. I have not driven it yet, so I can’t tell you how it feels to drive, so keep this as an option for now.
The Urus is an amazing SUV which is the sportier option out of the three. I definitely won’t take this car off-road and would use it as a GT SUV, taking it across countries and for driving around towns and cities. The Urus is special, and honestly, if you are looking for an SUV that will give you smile, a buzz, then you have to add this your collection.
And the Bentayga? In my opinion, if you want a luxury SUV that can do it all, then this is the option for you. It truly can do it all, it feels great to drive, it is practical, the interior is special and it really is a Super SUV that you can use every single day whether it is taking the family to cinema, doing the school run or even going on a grand tour, I would advise that you go down to your local Bentley showroom and take a test drive.
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