The common man’s heart in my chest will never be able to fathom why India is still asking for the fêted Kohinoor to be returned by Britain. First, we ‘gifted’ it to them. Second, we’ve no crown to embellish; no queen to celebrate if she turns 100. And all those asking for the diamond – guys, you’re not getting it back. It’s now in their royal crown. So, just let it go.
Instead, what the Britons offer to India this day is something much more royal – a pureblood ultra-luxury sports hi-tech wagon pulled by 12 horses that’s coming straight from Crewe, England, at a speed of over 300 kmph. And trust me, owning a Bentley Bentayga could probably bring you as much satisfaction as five Kohinoor diamonds!
Bentayga, Bentley’s first sports utility vehicle, was launched as concept EX P9F in 2012 and then unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2015. And just like our Indian bikemaker Royal Enfield named its latest creation the Himalayan, the Brits have invoked a black Spanish mountain peak – the Roque Bentayga – to bring this mean machine onto the road.
Although the luxury SUV comes at Rs 3.85 crore pan-India, what you get your hands on is priceless. Here are the five diamonds this big baby from Bentley is worth:
1: Fastest SUV on the planet
The Bentayga has a 6.0-litre W12 twin-turbocharged engine that generates 608PS power at 5,000-6,000rpm, and 900Nm torque @ 1,250-4,500rpm. Married to an 8-speed automatic gearbox, the SUV touches 60kmph in 4.0 seconds and 100kmph in 4.1.
If you’re on a speedway with no traffic, feel free to go medieval on the gas. After all, this baby can clock up to 301 kmph!
From a range of 15 naturally tanned leathers for the upholstery and four wooden veneers to clad dashes and doors with, the interiors are fit for royalty.
The 22-way adjustable seats are equipped with ventilation, electric seatbelt adjustment and automatic headrests. What else would you want? A massage? Well, it does that too.
Want to adjust the ambient light and air or change the music? Say hello to the screen and chant your mantra.
The 8” touchscreen infotainment system has 60 GB built-in memory and comes loaded with voice-control and signature Bentley audio, which the company claims is the most powerful in any car yet.
4: What a view
The Bentayga features a sliding sunroof that covers (and uncovers) 60% of the roof area. Bentley says it took a tip or two from the 1960s optical art pioneer Bridget Riley to provide delusional delight to the person inside the fortress on wheels. In those outside the car, it inspires unparalleled awe and envy.
5: You drive the traffic along
India has a surreal SUV culture in the making. Be it the Four Rings (Audi), the Three Pointers (Mercedes) the ‘Double Kidney’ (BMW) or the mean-looking Porsche and the mighty Rovers, we really like big wheels from Europe. That’s why, we almost stalk them! And when a car like the Bentley Bentayga comes out on the roads in any of those 17 piano-finished colours, a traffic jam is inevitable.
To answer the most ‘Indian’ question “Kitna degi?”, the Bentayga runs anywhere between 10.41km and 14km on a litre of fuel.
WATCH : The Bentley Bentayga
Frankly, only 0.000001% of us Indians can afford this car. This is why I salute Bentley’s guts to bring its first SUV to the sixth biggest automobile market in the world just within a year of its launch. Its British rival Jaguar is also set to launch their first SUV – the F-Pace – this year, but it may have a price tag almost one-third of this royalty. Another barter for the Kohinoor?
Bentley has already got over 100 bookings for the Bentayga and the automaker plans to deliver the first car in two weeks.
I hope we all get to drive, touch or at least see the Bentley Bentayga on Indian roads soon, because I still hope that “achhe din aayenge”. Till then, keep buying bikes and cars that cost a fraction’s fraction of this SUV’s price tag.
P.S.: What a day to launch the fastest and the most powerful SUV, O Bentley! Jai Bajrangbali.
(The author tweets as @GulshanMWankar)