The large premium SUV segment is one of the fastest growing in Europe, with sales up a booming 31% in the first half of 2016, a figure only beaten by the mainstream large MPV segment. And like that segment, this is a direct result of the renewal of a few key players: two thirds of the segment growth can be attributed to just two models: the Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7. These two redesigned SUVs are still unable to knock the ruling leader BMW X5 off its throne, despite losing a big chunk of the segment share with sales flat at just +2%. The two newcomers take the bottom steps of the podium but will surely attempt another coup in the second half of the year. The Range Rover Sport also has stable sales but is relegated to fourth place ahead of the Mercedes-Benz GLE, the facelifted and renamed M-Class. Behind these five theres a wide gap to the second tier of the segment, led by the aging Volkswagen Touareg ahead of its platform sibling Porsche Cayenne, both losing double digit volume in the first half of the year.
The Bentayga is the fastest, most powerful, most luxurious and most exclusive SUV in the world according to Bentley, a statement which could very well be true. The production version of the EXP 9 F Concept is based on the platform of the new Audi Q7, but designed, engineered and handcrafted in Crewe. It sits on the 2,992 mm wheelbase of the Q7, while the overall car length is 5,141 mm, its width is 1,998 mm and height 1,742 mm. It can be selected with four- or five-seat configurations. The four-seat version features two individual rear seats that adjust in 18 different ways and include massage and ventilation functions as well as footrests. The storage space features a leather-trimmed folding seat that matches the style of the cabin seats, according to Bentley “Ideal for those wishing to stop for a moment and enjoy a spectacular outdoor environment or pursuit”. A 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged W12 engine with a power output of 608 hp and 900 Nm torque powers the SUV, with which it could achieve a top speed of 301 km/h and accelerate from 0-100 km/h in 4.1 seconds. The engine is mated to an eight-speed transmission, while the CO2-emissions are 292 g/km. In the future Bentley will launch diesel and hybrid variants.