Bentley has been without a true flagship model since Mulsan finished production in 2020. It promises to fill the void, and it keeps its promise by creating a longer version of the Bentayga called the Extended Wheelbase (EWB) that provides passengers with a limousine – like a cabin.
Bentley’s best-selling model, the Tenega Extension, was harder than it sounds; The British firm, which owns Volkswagen, notes that it has spent a total of nine figures on the new model. It has significantly redesigned the side panels, underbody, back door and roof. The cost of the investment should be paid, because after 2022 when it enters production Bentaga will be responsible for about 45% of EWB sales.
About 7 inches have been added to Bentayga’s wheelbase, and the rear seat passengers are the only beneficiaries of the extra sheet metal. In its standard configuration, the EWB offers a 4 + 1 seat configuration with external rear seats that are heated, ventilated, 16-way power-adjustable and give you one of the five massages. Buyers who want the ultimate in comfort can order the airline seat specification, which Bentley calls “the most advanced seat fit in a car so far” – a bold statement. This option comes with a separate rear seat with a backrest that can lean at a 40-degree angle and a postural adjustment function that resizes the seat to ease pressure points. Interestingly, the system is capable of making 177 adjustments every three hours and creating a three-dimensional twist.
The airline seat specification also brings a system called Seat Auto Climate that relies on sensors to maintain pre-set seat temperatures; There are six levels for passengers to choose from. Contact temperature and surface humidity are measured on both the cushion and the back, and seat heating and ventilation components are activated as needed to ensure the occupant is comfortable.
Alternatively, buyers can order one of two additional configurations called Four Seat Comfort and Five Seat, respectively. Although the regular-wheelbase Bentayga is available with three rows of seats, the EWB is only two-row because it caters to buyers who initially want space.
The list of options is surprisingly long; Bentley notes that 24 billion trim adjustments are possible. If you have the money, you can order an EWB with a cooler attached to the back of the center console (of course champagne flute is included), diamond illumination that relies on LEDs to scatter light through leather holes. Door panel upholstery, and power-off doors.
The long wheelbase aside, the EWB does not differ from the standard Bentayga when viewed from the outside. Take a closer look and you’ll notice that the grille has been redesigned and the 22-inch 10-spoke wheels are specific to this body style. Sit inside, look up, and you’ll see that the sunroof has moved back about five inches to bring the rear passengers closer.
Power for the EWB comes from a 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 rated at 542 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque. It rotates four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission and Bentley quotes a 0-60-mph time of 4.5 seconds. Four-wheel steering XL-sized Bentiaga is standard for easy driving at low speeds, and a 48-volt anti-roll system is also available. The four-wheel steering system is not a marketing strategy: the EWB’s turning radius is 7% less than the standard-wheelbase SUV.
Bentley’s long-wheelbase Bentayga will enter production before the end of 2022. Price information has not yet been released.