Speed / August 2017

Bentley Bentayga: The Performance-Focused SUV

The Bentley Bentayga covers new terrain in more ways than one, with powerful performance wrapped up in a deceptively lavish package.

First impressions can be misleading, and that was my first mistake. “It looks like a glorified station wagon,” I thought. “How can it claim such superlatives?” In the less than one year since it has been on the market, words like ‘ultimate’ and ‘premier’ and ‘exclusive’ were thrown around in reference to the Bentayga. Sure, at $300,000 (£235,000) exclusivity is a foregone conclusion, but the ultimate SUV? Then I drove one in the mountains of Colorado.

My conversion story started in the 1800s ghost town-turned Relais & Chateau-approved resort, Dunton Hot Springs. Nestled at the feet of the 14,000-feet (4,270-metre) peaks of the San Juan Mountains – a chain that forms part of the Rocky Mountains, the private village has been bought and restored by a confidential German billionaire with excellent taste. And as if added by design, the artfully updated but tastefully rustic property boasts its own thermal hot springs, a trout stream, and a thundering waterfall. If that weren’t enough, the original bar in the saloon has Butch Cassidy’s name carved into it from when he and his cohorts robbed the bank in Telluride and hid out in Dunton drinking to their good fortune. The chic Western locale, which felt like a movie set for its perfection yet was historic and genuine, was, I later realised, analogous to Bentley’s vehicle.

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Jared Zaugg

Jared Zaugg is insatiably curious and a raconteur by trade. As a marketing and branding consultant focusing on the intersection of lifestyle, motoring and culture, he has a weakness for the classics that resulted in the book Gentlemen, Start Your Engines! (Gestalten 2015).