EXOTICCARLIST: Bentley Bentayga vs Rolls-Royce Cullinan
Where has this sudden rash of luxury SUVs come from? It seems like only yesterday that Porsche took their first timorous steps into the market with the Cayenne, and now everyone seems to be having a crack at it. Gone are the days that SUVs were for farmers and hunters, now they’re more for CEOs and minor royals. Two of the most prestigious have emerged from a pair of peerless English marques, Bentley and Rolls Royce. In terms of luxury, these two are fairly closely matched, but what are they like to drive, and to own?
Style And Equipment
Clamber inside the Cullinan, and you’re instantly aware that you’re in a luxury vehicle of the highest quality. Rear seats can be specified as either a three-person bench or two individual seats, with a screen to separate them from the electrically-opening tailgate. Opt for the two individual seats and between them, you can install a range of accessories, including a fridge. There is on-board Wifi and touch screens that fold out from the front seat backs.
The craftsmanship in the Bentayga is equally wonderful. There are double-glazed windows, a leather-trimmed dash, and very comfortable seats to keep you suitably cosseted from your commute. A color head-up display gives you information on the road. There is a 60GB hard drive for your media, integrated navigation, onboard Wifi, voice control, and further luxuries. The Bentley, in contrast to the Rolls, seems like a car to drive, rather than one to be driven in.
Style-wise, they’re much of a muchness with the rest of their range. If you’ve seen a Bentley Continental and a Rolls Royce Phantom, jack them up and bulk them out a little, and you’ve got their SUVs. I wish they had been braver in their designs, rather than sticking to their somewhat aging trademark looks.
Ride And Drive
Riding in the Rolls Royce is almost coma-like in its serenity. Nothing will ever bother you if you’re riding in this. Its stance is implacable, and its air suspension keeps pace with even the biggest bumps. Driving it is also pretty fun. Grasp the small but thick steering wheel, and you’re in for, you guessed it, a refined cruise. It’s not going to win any awards for excitement, but it’s a stable and relaxed experience.
The Bentley’s ride is also pretty damn relaxed. Adaptive air suspension and anti-roll tech keep the cabin feeling good. Driving it is fun too, with a good, weighty feel to the suspension. Unlike the Rolls Royce, the Bentley is also capable of actually being fun. Its sport mode isn’t going to challenge a Continental GT, let alone a Lambo or a Ferrari, but it is pretty great for an SUV. The handling response is fantastic, and it’s engine provides enough speed and torque for when you want to break loose.
The Rolls Royce is powered by a 6.7 liter V12, which you’d imagine to be a throaty little number, but it honestly isn’t. It’s not lacking when it comes to speed, however. The top speed has been limited at 155 mph, while 0-60 takes just five seconds. Not bad for a vehicle weighing 2.7 tonnes.
The Bentayga opts for 12 cylinders too, but arranges them in a W, rather than a V. The speed is even more impressive than the Rolls Royce. Maxed out, the car can hit 187 mph, and 0-60 takes 4.1 seconds.
Which Is Better?
I know which one of these cars I’d choose, were I loaded. It’s the Bentley, in a heartbeat. The equipment and fit quality is essentially as good as the Rolls, it’s faster, more fun to drive, and still a serene ride. I don’t think we’re going to see world leaders swapping out their Rolls Royces for Bentleys, but were it not for the former’s more renowned name? I think they’d be lying if they said they preferred the Cullinan.