The 2017 Bentley Bentayga is the Four-Wheeld Definition of Magnificent

The cynic in me was prepared not to like Bentley’s first SUV, the Bentayga. “They just threw it together to satisfy a rabid Chinese market for big luxury vehicles,” I mused. “It’ll be huge and ungainly and no fun to drive. It’ll cost a fortune and perform well below the capabilities of far more affordable SUV options. Also, the name sounds like Beluga caviar. Maybe that was intentional.”

Then a Hallmark blue 2017 Bentley Bentayga showed up in my driveway. And after only an hour or so behind the wheel, I realized I was right about only two things: The Bentayga does cost a fortune (almost a quarter-million dollars), and the name does sound like caviar.

The thing is, the Bentayga looks and feels and drives like caviar, too.

To climb aboard the Bentayga is to enter the rarified realm of a posh London gentleman’s club. My test car was awash (seats, dash, all over the doors) in sumptuous black-and-tan contrasting leather that Bentley calls—you guessed it!—“Beluga.” The cabin was aromatic, delicious to drink in, huge—particularly the limousine-like rear seats. Wide swaths of finely polished burr walnut veneer stretched across the instrument panel and the doors, accented by glistening chrome trim. The air-vent controls are pulls reminiscent of the draw-bars you’ll find on a pipe organ. The carpets on the floor are thick and rich. Above lies a ginormous panoramic glass roof that accounts for roughly 60 percent of the roof structure. Bentley cut no corners in crafting this resplendent space. I mean, I almost expected to find a fireplace tucked in there somewhere.

Naturally, every amenity you could desire is standard. Included are an 8-inch touchscreen with gesture control, a 60-gig solid-state hard drive with 11GB reserved for your music collection, text-to-speech recognition in any one of 30 languages, a six-channel, ten-speaker premium audio system (an 1800-watt, 18-speaker Naim system is optional), and a full suite of safety technologies—from Head-Up display to park assist, traffic-sign recognition, and a top-view camera. My tester carried only a few options, including body-colored lower bodywork ($1,335), black-painted and diamond-turned 21-inch alloy wheels ($850), and electronically operated blinds on the rear windows. Total tab: $236,080.

I’d almost have been content leave the Bentayga in the driveway, relaxing in the thickly padded driver’s seat while enjoying the superb climate control and audio systems. If Bentley had let me, I’d have smoked a cigar in there, too. But the opulence of this machine accounts for only a fraction of its appeal. Because under the hood lies an all-new, twin-turbocharged-and-intercooled W-12 monster rippling with 600 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. And what it can do with nearly three tons of Bentayga is simply mind-blowing.

Mash down on the gas pedal, and this Bentley is … gone. Nothing can prepare you for the experience of a vehicle this big accelerating so quickly. The torque peaks comes on almost immediately, and the turbocharged rush takes over from there. Bentley claims 0 to 60 mph in just 4.0 seconds. I’d bet the Bentayga is faster than that. The British marque also claims a drag-limited top speed of 187 miles per hour. No other SUV currently on the planet can boast numbers like these. Einstein would’ve looked at the Bentayga, checked the performance stats, and said, “Notta chance, mein Freund.” But driving is believing.

What’s more, the Bentayga hustles well, too. The all-wheel-drive suspension grips the road impressively, and despite its bulk the rig nips deftly from corner to corner—even displaying some mild oversteer if you employ the pedals correctly. Credit an active roll-control system for the handling aplomb. Available are numerous modes—including off-road, snow, sand, and grass—to tailor the vehicle’s handling and powertrain characteristics to changing conditions, but in bone-dry urban Los Angeles I got zero opportunity to experience any of them. Also worth mentioning: the standard 8-speed automatic includes shift paddles for manual-mode gear changes. A nice touch.

Naturally, everybody wants to ride with you when you’re driving the world’s fastest and most expensive SUV. The Bentayga produced “oohs” and “aahs,” lots of “wows!” and even the occasional “OMG!” Parking attendants couldn’t stop gushing over the five-star cabin. Drivers in the next lane would yell, “Wait, what? Bentley makes an SUV?” And passengers kept urging me to “step on the gas again!”

Don’t expect me to justify the sticker price. Almost 250 large for a sport-ute is a proposition only a one-percenter could justify (so is an EPA city/highway rating of just 12/19 mpg). But that’s not my job; my job is evaluating vehicles and delivering my verdict. To purchase or not to purchase—that’s the buyer’s call. Yes, it’s crazy-expensive. But the Bentley Bentayga delivers in ways—and to a degree—that I never expected. We’re talking about an SUV as luxurious as a Sunseeker motor yacht and almost as fast as a Ferrari, for cryin’ out loud. It’s almost silly how over-the-top the Bentayga is in almost every way. And it’s also remarkable just how well it does almost everything the most demanding luxury-SUV buyer could ever want (that is so say, I doubt many Bentaygas will ever see the mud or rocks of an off-road trail).

This is a magnificent piece of automotive engineering, a piece of vehicular art. Fine artwork costs big, and some would argue it’s not worth the lofty tariff. But at least this example can go 187 miles per hour.

2017 Bentley Bentayga Specifications

PRICE $231,825/$236,080 (base/as-tested)
ENGINE 6.0L DOHC 48-valve twin-turbocharged W-12/600 hp @ 5,000 rpm, 664 lb-ft @ 1,350 rpm
TRANSMISSION 8-speed dual-clutch automatic
LAYOUT 4-door, 5-passenger, front-engine, AWD SUV
EPA MILEAGE 12/19 mpg (city/hwy)
L x W x H 202.4 x 78.7 x 68.6 in
WHEELBASE 117.9 in
WEIGHT 5,800 lb
0-60 MPH 4.0 sec (mfr)
TOP SPEED 187 mph (mfr)

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We Asked Real Estate Agents: What Are Buyer’s Biggest Design Turn-Offs?

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biggest buyer turn-offs

Agents get real about about buyers’ biggest turn-offs and what to do about them. Image: Niche Modern

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The process of selling a home can feel like navigating the unknown, especially for those who have never been through it before. There are so many questions to consider: How is your home perceived by others? What can you do to get the highest sale price? Which upgrades were worth the cost?

With these concerns in mind, we decided to call in the experts. We asked real estate agents to share some of their buyers’ biggest turn-offs. Read on to learn what these issues are — and how to fix them. With this advice, you can rest assured your home will show at its very best.

Neutral interiors

Try to keep interiors neutral when selling. Image: Niche Modern

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1. Unconventional or outdated design

“In an ideal world, buyers would be able to see past outdated home decor, or bold paint colors, however, many times that’s not the case. I have shown properties that seem to be a perfect fit for a buyer’s needs but they can’t see past the dark green paint in the living room.” — Chris Taylor, with Advantage Real Estate in Boston, MA.

One of the hardest realizations sellers have to come to terms with is that, once their home hits the market, its interior design is no longer about reflecting personal style. It’s about helping your home appeal to the largest possible pool of buyers. If getting an offer is your goal, your best bet is keep your interiors neutral and modern.

This isn’t as big of an undertaking as you’d think. A fresh coat of paint — in a neutral shade — can totally transform your interiors with relatively little effort on your part. That, coupled with the addition of a few modern accessories, will liven up your interiors.

Natural light.

Natural light is a big plus. Image: Irvin Serrano

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2. Not enough natural light

“Lately, I’ve found that the lack of natural light is particularly unappealing to buyers. Sellers should be careful with overhangs, overgrown trees and outdoor features like shaded loggias because they block a lot of sunlight to the interior rooms.” — Joy Bender, of Aumann Bender & Associates with Pacific Sotheby’s in San Diego, CA.

In this case, you need to work around the confines of the natural light your home receives. There are still a few tricks you can use to highlight the light available to you. As mentioned above, you want to take stock of your home’s exterior before accepting any showings. Take care of any necessary home maintenance tasks and, if possible, hire a landscaper to spruce up outdoor areas.

Additionally, make a point to open all your draperies before buyers come through the house. This will ensure your home feels light, bright and airy.

Stair storage

Make sure there’s plenty of storage. Image: Structures Building Inc.

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3. Lack of storage solutions

“Some buyers will open every closet door and every drawer. Most are looking for more space, and if your home’s storage spaces are full to bursting, it can be a big turn-off. Our professional stager encourages buyers to make sure there’s empty space in every storage option.” — John Totin, of The Totin Group with Keller Williams Legacy in San Antonio, Texas.

The first step to maximizing storage is to declutter. (If you need an incentive, taking care of this chore now may make your move easier down the road.) Once you’ve pared down to the essentials, it’s all about how they’re stored. If your current storage solutions are a little too full, invest in a few more — aesthetically pleasing — storage options. Then, when it’s time for a showing, use that storage to make sure all of your day-to-day clutter gets hidden away.


Remodels should be left to the pros. Image: Christian Dean Architecture LLC

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4. Hastily done upgrades

“I have worked with hundred of buyers, and I can tell you that bad remodels are a major turn off. Buyers would rather have it be original and redesign it themselves or have a pro do it. Cheap cabinets and flooring, plus low-end appliances and finishes are just something they are going to have to remove and that cost more than starting from scratch.” — Paul G. Lykins, with True Floridian Realty in Delray Beach, FL.

This one is a hard one. Yes, it’s true that when remodels are done right they can bring you a return on your investment — and then some. However, this tip proves that sometimes they can be more trouble than they’re worth. The only way to tell which camp your remodel will fall into is to be really honest with yourself about your abilities. Do you have the skills and/or resources needed to do a remodel the right way? If not, it may be better to leave the project untouched.

design tips

Keep these tips in mind when selling. Image: Dyer Photo

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Those about to sell their homes often come to the table with a lot of questions — and rightly so. The idea of trying to anticipate what buyers want can be daunting. In an effort to take away some of the guesswork, we had real estate agents get real about some of their buyers’ biggest turn-offs. Use our suggestions to fix any issues your home may have before your home hits the market and you’ll know you’re putting your best foot forward.

Do you think these tips hold true? Do you have any advice to add from selling your own home? Let us know in the comments below.

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