Want to carry more (or fewer) people? Bentley now offers that option.
News that Bentley is making a three-row version of the Bentayga gives welcome confirmation that rich people suffer from the same problems that afflict those of us further down the income scale: finding space for passengers. Now buyers of Bentley's SUV needing to transport more than five people will no longer have to make multiple trips or send some along separately. Don't be surprised to see one in the parking lot when your kid's Little League or soccer team meets up against the expensive private academy.
There have been Bentleys with more than five seats before. The spectacular Mulsanne Mulliner Grand Limousine has room for four in the back, with occupants facing one another over walnut fold-out tables, and there have been aftermarket stretched versions of the company's sedans with space for even more. But we believe the Bentayga is the first to offer the common SUV practicality of three rows, with the rear seats hiding under the trunk floor when not in use.
Like most of their type, the Bentayga's third row seems to be designed for part-time use and smaller occupants. The rearmost seats are as beautifully trimmed as those further forward, but these images from Bentley make clear that anyone relegated to them will have limited legroom and a restricted view past the second row and through the small side window at the back. While the third-row seats are power operated, the second row has to be folded manually. In contrast, the larger, cheaper Mercedes-Benz GLS offers electrical operation for all rear seats. On the plus side, the Bentayga's third row has two LATCH mounts for child seats, as do the three positions in the middle; that's good news for affluent buyers who have been blessed with quadruplets, quintuplets, or babies with a well-developed play-date network.
The third row will be available with both V-8 and W-12 versions of the Bentayga, but not the V-6–powered Bentayga hybrid, which has a battery pack under the trunk floor. Bentley says it will be a no-cost option, meaning we're struggling to think of a single reason for a Bentayga buyer not to tick the box.
For those needing to carry fewer in greater comfort, Bentley is also now offering the option of a new four-seat layout, with two individual rear chairs in place of the regular bench. The company says this option will give passengers in back similar comfort to those in the front, with 12-way electric adjustment, heating, ventilation and massage functions. A new center console between the rear seats includes additional storage and USB charging ports as well as a fixed partition to separate the cabin from the trunk. Options include rear-seat entertainment through individual screens, fold-down picnic tables, and what is described as a Mulliner Console Drinks Cooler. (We think that means a champagne fridge.) The four-seat layout will also be available with the V-6 hybrid, as well as V-8 and W-12 versions.
As with the seven-seat car, Bentley says the new four-seat option will come at the same price as the regular five-seater, with cars available to order now. Relatively small changes, but ones that will help to sharpen the Bentayga's case in this increasingly busy part of the market and ahead of the arrival of the Aston Martin DBX.