To my mind, Bentley’s Bentayga SUV — the “most luxurious, hand-built, all-terrain vehicle on Earth” — is an ultimate expression of grandeur. It is opulence gone mobile, and, especially if you’re into showing off, there’s nothing better: not everyone will see your private jet or come over to stroll through your exotic animal petting zoo. To demonstrate the Bentayga lifestyle, Bentley took me from a Lake Tahoe Ritz Carlton ski resort to a surfing excursion at Northern California’s Stinson Beach in the space of a couple days. It was… a good idea. Especially since it drove home that while any car could do the trip, only the Bentayga should. Mostly because your fancy house can’t.
For the following reasons, I recommend you sell your house and buy a Bentayga:
1. It’s made better than your house could ever hope to be.
IKEA furniture does not count as “handbuilt.” It’s unlikely that individual persons stitched together every bit of upholstery in your bedroom by hand with needles and thread, and improbable that a craftsman dedicated hours to grain-matching all the wood veneers in your den.
2. It’s a lot faster than your house.
As we first approached the line of idling Bentaygas, a fellow journalist asked, “You drive one of these before?”
“Not yet,” I said.
“Oh. It’s, uhh, fast.” I was dubious until I climbed in, shifted into drive, hit the go pedal and was scared for my life. Something this big and plush shouldn’t be so quick, but it moves like a sports car off the line, which is a very fun and very good thing.
3. Simple math: you’ll have to, because a Bentayga probably costs as much as your house.
According to the Census Bureau, median price of new homes sold in the U.S. in February 2017, including land, was $296,200. The Bentayga I drove all weekend stickered for just over $278,000 (and you’ll need gas money).
4. The “event seat” option.
It’s a bench that folds down out of the rear tailgate for picnic and other sitting needs. Your house doesn’t have one.
5. Your senses will be rewarded.
Take a brief look around your pad. Is there a perfectly tuned Naim stereo system, or turn signals sounds gentle enough to lull a cranky infant to sleep? Fragrant, quilted leather captain’s chairs that cosset and support your haunches against the pangs of physics? Nope. In fact, your home’s ratio of crappy-plastic-to-leather/wood/chrome is piss poor — in stark contrast to the exclusive Bentayga cabin.
Engine: 6.0-liter W12
Transmission: eight-speed automatic; permanent all-wheel-drive
Torque: 664 lb-ft
0-60 mph: 4.0 seconds
Top Speed: 187 mph
MSRP (as tested): $278,380
6. The knurling.
Each glittering diamond-plate etch on every dial is precisely cut and very satisfying to touch. Mmmm…knurling.
7. The automatic windshield wipers are perfect.
No other auto-sensing squeegees I’ve encountered do as good a job anticipating water as these hydrophobic butlers. Your house doesn’t even have windshield wipers.
8. Bentley’s technology is (finally) super.
Bentley tech varies widely across models (like the Flying Spur V8 S, for instance), from clunky to unintuitive. Those quibbles are almost entirely solved in the Bentayga, from GPS to infotainment to gauge cluster to steering wheel to Bluetooth connection.
What’s that? Oh, you control your thermostat with your phone? Cool…?
9. The optional $167,000 Breitling clock
10. It handles really, really well.
I slalomed the Bentayga through Sausalito forest roads like a cracked out Gran Prix champ wearing only a bathrobe (don’t ask) — and it begged for more.
11. You hate living in a house.
Admit it. Space, quiet, the pride of property ownership: overrated.
12. Your dog will love it.
Imagine being a dog and getting to go on a permanent car trip. Dogs love car trips.
13. Your in-laws and college buddies won’t ask to stay with you anymore.
Won’t even be able to.
14. Instead of saying “Get outta Dodge” you can ironically — and smugly — say “Get outta Dodge…in a Bentley that is definitely not a Dodge in any way! Ha ha ha.”
Bentayga owners love wordplay and as such are very popular at cocktail parties.
15. No more Homeowners’ Association fees.
HAPPY NOW, CARL, YOU POWER-TRIPPING BUSYBODY?
And five caveats to consider:
Your driver’s license and vehicle registration will be confusingly recursive.
State Trooper: “Sir, your address is listed as…this SUV.” Awkward.
You can’t stand up inside a Bentayga.
You’ll have to park to stretch.
You will have to pee in Starbucks.
Bentley carpets are too nice.
The Post Office will hate you.
Can’t deliver bills to a moving target.
I’m gonna want to be your best friend.