XXL SUV: Bentley Bentayga EWB and BMW X7 wear thick
AUTO BILD did a first round with both of them – in the USA, where even cars in this league somehow still seem dainty.
The new Bentayga EWB is anything but dainty. The three letters stand for “Extended Wheel Base” and mean that the Briton has been stretched by 18 centimeters in length.
It doesn’t sound like much at first, but there is a lot – and it’s obvious at first glance: the XXL Bentley is waiting in the hotel driveway with its conventional brothers in Los Angeles to set off on a test drive with us, and it immediately reveals itself at the oversized rear doors to recognize.
In the Bentley it can be endured
The chairs can be electrically adjusted 22 times, offer a fold-out footrest, a slouch function and automatic air conditioning. It detects body temperature and surface moisture and automatically adjusts seat heating and ventilation.
Yes, it’s bearable here, and if we didn’t want to take the wheel ourselves, we’d treat ourselves to a glass of champagne. As it is, we confine ourselves to resting our heads on the soft pillows, crossing our legs (which even the author, who is 1.97 meters tall, is excellent at) and pondering why Bentley went to all this trouble; one would think that the classic chauffeur car is still the sedan.
And in front? The driver’s workplace is identical to that in the short, and the long is no less agile when driving than the standard model. With a weight of 2.5 tons and a length of 5.13 or 5.31 meters, the Bentayga shows the agility of a discus thrower anyway: powerful, but not overly dynamic, you could say.
Four liters displacement and 550 hp
The twelve-cylinder is reserved for American and Asian customers, the plug-in drive is not available in the long version; And yet you can really relax here at the charging station in the rear…
Here – and of course in Munich – they have been working hard on the facelift version of the X7 for the past few months, which brings significantly more than the usual facelift cosmetics: The X7 got a new front that is more like the electric SUV iX oriented and looking sharply ahead with narrow daytime running lights.
The interior has also been extensively renovated, a new synthetic leather introduced (which is only available in Germany on request) and the cockpit has been expanded to include the curved display, which combines the instrument cluster and infotainment screen in a curved glass panel.
Latest entertainment features and assistance systems in the X7
There are also the latest entertainment features and assistance systems: The X7 can now automatically reverse the last 200 meters instead of 50 meters; handy if you get stuck in a narrow alley.
In addition, various maneuvers can be saved, which the X7 does alone. Anyone who teaches him the way from the garage entrance to his own parking space will only need to select the saved maneuver when he is in front of the gate and the X7 will drive to the parking space as if by magic.
Also new, at least at BMW, is the trailer assistant, which makes maneuvering with a trailer much easier. Instead of having to steer yourself, the desired direction can be set using the iDrive rotary control, and the BMW automatically maneuvers the team backwards.
The actual innovation, and that’s almost something special these days, is under the hood: BMW has completely revised the six- and eight-cylinder engines, in fact almost redeveloped them; a clear commitment to drive diversity and the combustion engine.
The three-liter in-line six-cylinder in the X7 40i works with the Miller combustion process, got new valve control and a 48-volt mild hybrid system.
Start electrically with 12 hp
The 12 hp electric motor sits directly on the crankshaft and allows the X7 to start electrically, for example; when accelerating, the electric motor pushes the car with up to 200 Newton meters, and energy is recuperated when coasting and braking. Combustion power has increased by 40 to 380 hp, while standard consumption has fallen to 9.6 liters per 100 kilometers.
On our tour at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, the creamy six-cylinder is even smoother than before, hangs more directly on the gas, delivers its power as evenly as a Swiss watch; the only noticeable delay is now and then provided by the transmission, which takes a tiny moment to shift gears when there is a sudden demand for performance.
404 kW (550 hp) at 6000 rpm
770 Nm at 2000-4500 rpm
All-wheel drive / eight-speed automatic.
Six-cylinder in-line engine, turbo
280 kW (380 hp) at 5200 rpm
520 Nm at 1850-5000 rpm
All-wheel drive / eight-speed automatic.
But that’s whining at the highest level and quickly forgotten when the X7 cruises relaxed through the woods and, despite its mass, can be gently directed around corners.
At least as extensively, BMW has devoted itself to the 4.4-liter eight-cylinder, which now operates as the M60i instead of the M50i. Improvements such as optimized turbocharging, a reinforced crank mechanism, the cross-bank exhaust manifold and also the mild hybrid system ensure better response and power delivery; in terms of power, it remains at the 530 hp known from the predecessor, but now supported by the e-boost.
The V8 is in no way inferior to the in-line six in terms of running culture, goes to work even more emphatically and sounds even more robust. A sound that is rarely heard in Europe. For us, the six-cylinder diesel with 352 hp will continue to play the most important role, now also as a mild hybrid, but it wasn’t ready for the trip yet.
Two cars, two worlds: not only because there are around 4,000 kilometers between the east and west coasts of the USA. But because both appeal to completely different target groups.
If the X7 as a seven-seater is the family friend for the soccer mom, who drives the youngsters and their circle of friends to soccer training, the player’s wife gets into the Bentayga and lets herself be driven to the final.
Sure, there are also worlds between the two in terms of price, the X7 is “already” available from 97,700 euros, for the Bentayga around 200,000 euros are due. And yet both have something in common: They show that a few extra pounds on the ribs can be really sexy.