Seat Time: 2017 Bentley Bentayga – Ne Plus Ultra Amongst Luxury SUV’s

November 25th, 2016 at 10:00am

Bentley Bentayga, Iceland, July 2016Photo James Lipman / jameslipman.com

Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.


Reviewer:
John McElroy
Vehicle: 2017 Bentley Bentayga
Price: $275,180

Final Impression:

I knew that Bentley achieved everything it wanted with the Bentayga when I drove up to the main entrance at the Greenbrier, one of the poshest resort hotels in the world. People stopped and stared. Suddenly the Benz’s, BMW’s and Range Rover’s parked out front looked somewhat pedestrian, even mundane. I overhead one woman breathlessly ask, “Who’s in the Bentley?”

You want instant rock star status? Get a Bentayga. But you better bring a rock star income along with you, too. The one I drove had over $43,000 in options, which in itself is enough to buy a decent luxury car. But for those who have this kind of disposable income, the Bentayga gives get something very special for your money.

Bentley Bentayga, Iceland, July 2016Photo James Lipman / jameslipman.com

Bentayga by Mulliner 01Let’s start with the interior, which I think is the most impressive aspect of this car. It’s arresting, truly one of those open-the-door-and-take-your-breath-away designs. Bentley is masterful at choosing the perfect types of leathers and colors. And accents and contrasts. And textures and smells. It just makes you want to inhale deeply with every breath and run your hands over every surface.

Even more, it has a wonderful combination of modernity sprinkled with old-school touches. For example, it bristles with the latest in electronic interfaces but retains the damped organ-stop vent controls that Bentley used for most of the last century. From the quilted leather accents to the large burled walnut veneers that run through the tops of the doors and across the face of the dashboard, it gets awfully close to being garish but stops just in time to look impressively opulent instead.

As you look at the Bentayga’s silhouette you realize that it exhibits proportions not seen on any other SUV. It has a high belt line with chunky fenders. It has a chopped front overhang, but a stretched rear overhang. And the back lite is set at a faster angle than the windshield. In other words, there’s nothing else in the market that is shaped like it.

Bentley Bentayga, Iceland, July 2016 Photo James Lipman / jameslipman.com

Untitled-1This was not done purely for aesthetic reasons. The shape of the car provides rear seat passengers with plenty of room at the same time it provides decent luggage space.

To drive home the “sport” aspect of this sport utility vehicle, it has a pronounced curve at the leading edge of the rear fenders, reminiscent of the haunches of a jungle cat ready to leap at its prey. And just in case the haunches don’t drive that point home, all you have to do is tap into its 600 horsepower W-12 engine. I’ve never felt 5,000 pounds of steel, glass and aluminum rocket forward so quickly.

The Bentayga is currently in a class of its own, but will soon share the road with a couple of cousins. The next generation Porsche Cayenne and the upcoming Lamborghini Urus will share the same VW AG MLB platform. Though each has its own unique personality they could vie for the same class of customers. That might muddy the waters from a sales standpoint.

For now though, the Bentayga has the market to itself. And it has made an impression that extends well beyond the 1%-ers it’s aimed at. When driving down the highway I noticed a number of people whip out their cell phones to shoot a video of the Bentayga as it whistled past them. That was a new experience for me. I’ve never seen people shooting a video of a car that I was driving. And I test drive a lot of different cars.

It’s amazing how people the world over are turning away from traditional sedans to buy an SUV instead. It’s even more amazing to see this happen at the upper crust of the luxury segment. And that tells me the Bentayga will probably end up being the best selling Bentley ever.

 

 

 

AD #1994 – New Jeep Grand Wagoneer Cancelled, VW Axes U.S. Diesels, BorgWarner Electrifies Business Strategy

November 23rd, 2016 at 11:51am

Runtime: 8:23

To watch this episode on YouTube click here.

- Jeep Grand Wagoneer Cancelled
- VW Axes U.S. Diesels
- Mercedes May Drop U.S. Diesels
- New Hybrid Pick-up Truck
- BorgWarner Electrifies Business Strategy
- You Said It!

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AD #1993 – Average Car Age on the Rise, Qoros Testing Out Cam-Less Engine, Self-Driving Cars Headed to Boston

November 22nd, 2016 at 11:35am

Runtime: 6:34

To watch this episode on YouTube click here.

- Average Age of Cars on the Rise
- Qoros Testing Camshaft-Less Engine
- nuTonomy Signs Autonomous Deal with Boston
- BMW & Baidu End Autonomous Partnership
- Multimatic’s Amazing Shock Absorber Technology

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AD #1992 – New Bronco Being Engineered Down Under, Mazda Finally Launches Diesel, 2016 Headed for U.S. Sales Record

November 21st, 2016 at 11:43am

Runtime: 8:16

To watch this episode on YouTube click here.

- 2016 Headed for U.S. Sales Record
- Bronco, Ranger Have Aussie Accents
- Johnson’s 7th Heaven
- Chinese Jet Car
- Mazda Finally Launches Diesel
- Ford EcoSport North American Updates

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AD #1991 – VW Could Cut 30,000 Jobs, GM to Sell Pick-Up Trucks in China, Buick Reveals Own Version of the Volt

November 18th, 2016 at 11:51am

Runtime: 8:08

To watch this episode on YouTube click here.

- VW Reaches Deal to Cut Jobs to Save Money
- Buick Velite Concept
- Chevy Silverado & Colorado Headed to China
- New Jeep Compass Details
- Toyota Shows Production C-HR
- Toyota Testing Fuel-Cell Semi
- Subaru VIZIV-7 Concept Hints at Future
- Designing Interiors for the Future

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ATW #2037 - Sitting Pretty: Lear Corp.

November 17th, 2016 at 4:00pm



Matt Simoncini, CEO & Director, Lear; Brent Snavely, Detroit Free Press; Jamie Butters, Bloomberg. Topic: Lear.

As one of the largest suppliers of automotive seating, Lear Corporation actually makes seats for every manufacturer in the world. On this edition of Autoline THIS WEEK its CEO and Director, Matt Simoncini, discusses the company’s global reach and how he sees things changing in the auto industry in the next few years.

AAH #356 – EcoSport Goes Online In LA

November 17th, 2016 at 2:30pm

Audio-only version:

NEWS TOPICS:
01:23Eric Loeffler gives a rundown on Ford’s all-new CUV, the EcoSport
16:46Chantel Lenard talks sales and marketing for the EcoSport
27:21Journalists opinions on EcoSport entering a competitive market
40:27Automobility LA: Who’s taking the spotlight?

SPECIAL GUESTS:
Eric Loeffler, EcoSport Chief Program Engineer, Ford
Chantel Lenard, Executive Director, U.S. Marketing, Ford

PANEL: John McElroy, Autoline.tv; Gary Vasilash, AD&P; Karl Brauer, Kelley Blue Book; Bob Gritzinger, WardsAuto

Thanks to our sponsors who make Autoline After Hours possible: Bridgestone and Lear Corporation.

Subscribe to the free podcast version of Autoline After Hours:

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AD #1990 – Toyota Strengthens EV Development, Drive For Free…But There’s A Catch, Jaguar Reproduces 1957 XKSS

November 17th, 2016 at 11:55am

Runtime: 8:31

To watch this episode on YouTube click here.

- Toyota Creates Venture Company to Develop EVs
- EPA Labels More Accurate
- Jaguar Reproduces 1957 XKSS
- Acura Reveals Future Interior Design
- Drive For Free…But There’s A Catch
- Hyundai Shows Off Autonomous Ioniq
- VW e-Golf Updates
- Mitsubishi Hints at Future Design Direction
- Mazda Unveils New Prototype Racecar

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Mazda CX-5: Zoom-Zoom With a Vengeance – LA Auto Show 2016

November 16th, 2016 at 8:27pm

Mazda defies all the conventions in the automotive industry. At a time when so many predict that only the giant automakers will survive, Mazda is the little company that punches way above its weight. Robert Davis, the Senior VP of Operations for Mazda North America, points out the highlights of the new CX-5. Even though the prior version came out four years ago, the new one has an all-new body, all-new interior, and a big surprise that’s under the hood.

Stelvio Rides To Alfa Romeo’s Rescue – LA Auto Show 2016

November 16th, 2016 at 7:53pm

Alfa Romeo has very ambitious plans, but they can only be carried out with new cars in the showrooms. 2017 marks the year when all the action really starts, first with the Giulia and now with the Stelvio. Richard Cox, the Head of Product Planning for Alfa Romeo worldwide, explains why the Stelvio is the right vehicle at the right time to start Alfa’s revival.




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