What’s a bigger automotive flex than buying a luxury car to drive around? Plunking down upwards of $300K and never sitting behind the wheel. Enter the 2023 Bentley Bentayga Extended Wheelbase—the kind of vehicle that’ll make your chauffeur the envy of every other driver on billionaires’ row.
At a preview in London in late February, we had the chance to inspect the new Bentayga up-close. Our first impression: The EWB is going to be an instant must for those hyper-affluent types who either hate driving or just want even more space.
The Lap of Luxury
As a “spiritual” replacement to Bentley’s Mulsanne (the brand’s now discontinued, limo-like sedan), the good folks in Crewe have taken their most popular model and stretched it a little over seven inches to give the rear seats more room. The aim here is to create the poshest rear cabin experience found on four wheels.
Customers can choose between two and three rear seats or the optional “airline” configuration that affords passengers an experience akin to flying in a private jet—with which we are sure much of the brand’s clientele is familiar.
These seats feature 22-way adjustment, and recline to 40 degrees in relax mode. A foot rest emerges from the passenger seat for added comfort. The configuration also offer a “business” mode for those who want to get some work done on the go.
Bentley has also incorporated a suite of wellness features which includes technology that detects the temperature of the passenger and the seat’s surface humidity, and then figures out whether it should add heat, ventilation or both to achieve “optimum thermal well-being.” If that weren’t enough (and one with the means can never have enough luxury), the massaging seats also deploy a postural adjustment system that automatically alters the seating position using 177 pressure modifications to minimize the impact of lengthy trips on the body.
On the Outside
To the unfamiliar eye, the extra length is barely perceptible as the EWB’s exterior is quite similar to a standard Bentayga, but there are some key differences. The EWB gets a new front grille and polished 22” 10-spoke wheels to help distinguish it from its little sibling.
Luxury is in the Details
From handcrafted wood paneling and inlays, the finest seating surfaces and colors, plus paints that can be matched to nearly any sample one could provide, Bentley offers an almost unfathomable 24 billion trim combinations alone. So buyers should have no problem customizing a highly personalized Bentayga EWB.
The rear seating area features “waterfall illumination” to subtly light the cabin as well as LED lights that shine through perforations in the door panels in a hallmark diamond pattern. It’s the sort of next-level attention to detail that leaves you marveling at both the imagination and the craftsmanship.
When the EWB goes on sale (around Q4 of 2022), Bentley will offer two even further elevated specs. The classically styled Azure gets unique 22-inch, ten-spoke wheels, bright lower bumper grilles, as well as Azure embroidery and badging. Rounding out the spec, Bentley has included quilted seats specific to the spec, mood lighting, a heated steering wheel, and an enhanced driver’s assistance package.
The First Edition, which will be available for the first year of production, kicks up the opulence one more notch. This package comes with metal overlays in the veneer, First Edition specific embroidery, inlays and badging, as well as a Naim for the Bentley Premium Audio system (one of the finest we’ve ever experienced)—plus LED welcome lamps.
Power and Performance
For a vehicle designed around a lavish passenger experience, the Bentayga EWB can still move. The 542-hp twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission will get the behemoth from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 180mph—though going that fast probably diminishes the comfort level. Standard electric all-wheel steering should minimize the impact of the increase in size at both high speeds and when maneuvering in a driveway or parking lot.
The Extravagance is the Point
Bentley estimates the EWB will represent 45% of all Bentaygas sold when it hits markets late this year. That’s an incredible amount of demand for a vehicle that has yet to launch, but we have no doubt Bentley understands its customers. They simply want the best.
Pricing has yet to be announced but the Mulsanne it’s replacing had a sticker over $300,000. It’s probably a safe guess the Bentayga EWB will land somewhere in this rather exclusive ballpark. Bottom line: This isn’t a vehicle for regular folks; it’s for the one percent of the one percent.