2017 Bentley Bentayga Diesel First Drive

Bentayga is all about firsts,” says Peter Guest, the man referred to in Crewe as ‘Mr Bentayga’. “It was Bentley’s first SUV and now it’s Bentley’s first diesel. In time, it will become our first plug-in hybrid.”

Guest is a man with an enviable track-record: his CV includes the Aston Martin DB7 and Renaultsport Clio V6. Yet his enthusiasm for the Bentayga – a vehicle that, particularly with a diesel engine, seems the antithesis of a sports car – is infectious. Can a black-pump Bentley really be exciting?

2017 Bentley Bentayga Diesel First Drive
2017 Bentley Bentayga Diesel First Drive
2017 Bentley Bentayga Diesel First Drive
2017 Bentley Bentayga Diesel First Drive

Well, having 435 horsepower and a stonking 664lb ft of torque probably helps. The Bentayga’s 4.0-litre V8, shared with the Audi SQ7, boasts an electrically driven supercharger and two turbochargers. That means 0-62mph in just 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 168mph – not bad for something the size of Cheshire.

More importantly, the diesel Bentayga delivers an official 35.8mpg, versus just 21.6mpg for the 6.0-litre petrol W12. Are Bentley buyers fussed about fuel economy? Perhaps not, but the ability to drive a couple of hundred extra miles on each tankful is a real bonus. As Guest wryly remarks: “Filling up with fuel is not a luxury experience.”

The Bentayga already accounts for nearly half of Bentley production, but a diesel is new territory for Bentley and Guest freely admits they have “little idea” how many buyers will choose the new engine. However, a starting price of £135,800, versus £162,700 for the W12, is sure to help. 

We travelled to Bentley’s home town of Cr...