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Bentayga Review: Our time in the Bentley Bentayga

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We were curious to know how the V8 SUV compared to its grand touring sibling in regards to driving style and performance.

If there was ever a car built for weekend road trips, it’s the Bentley Bentayga.

Our adventure with the Bentayga began the day an email landed in our inbox asking if we’d be interested in becoming better acquainted with the 2019 SUV offering from Bentley.

In short, the answer was yes.

Fast forward a few weeks later and we found ourselves at the showroom catching up with James, the head of Bentley Gold Coast.

Bentley Bentayga on the Gold Coast Australia
The 2019 V8 Bentley Bentayga seen in Silver Tempest. Photo: Billionaire Toys

Having already been given the Continental GT to drive, we were curious to know how this V8 SUV compared to its grand touring sibling in regards to driving style and performance. We were also curious to know where the Bentayga was currently sitting in the Bentley universe and who was most attracted to this particular model.

Being a SUV, it should probably come as no surprise then that the Bentayga has in fact become their highest selling model to date, selling over 10,000 cars per year and accounting for nearly 50% of all sales.

While it is possible to get your Bentayga spec’d with aftermarket armor protection and shock door handles for the ultra-elite with high security needs, it turns out the Bentayga is just as much in demand as a “family car” for those wanting in on the luxury feels of a Bentley, but with the added utility of “going off-road” (which in reality is more like riding curbs to fit into the last carpark at a hardware store on a Saturday morning or loading the trunk up with a small mound of equipment to ferry the kids around to their respective weekend sports).

V8 Bentley Bentayga front view
V8 Bentley Bentayga front view. Photo: Billionaire Toys

Originally we’d been informed we’d be picking up a black Bentayga, but there had been a couple of alterations and instead a freshly detailed Bentayga V8 in “Silver Tempest” with 22” five spoke alloy wheels awaited us on the driveway. After getting a run-through of the some of the main features (and also being handed two sparkling mineral waters to fit comfortably in the front passenger drinks holder), we left the dealership and were on our way.

You may think the first thing one looks for when taking these cars out, is how they drive, how they “feel”, what the braking is like and other such technical nuances, but I must admit, the first thing on my mind as we pulled out of the driveway was where to find the “on” button for the massage chair function.

Having previously experienced the luxury of the massage chairs in the Continental GT, I was determined to once again to experience the shiatsu-like massage from the comfort of my heated black beluga leather seat.

Fun Fact: Did you know that Beluga leather is hand-picked from herds that graze high above sea level in Northern Europe and are naturally free from insect bites so that it doesn’t leave blemishes in the leather?

V8 Bentley Bentayga
V8 Bentley Bentayga also comes in a W12 variant. Photo: Billionaire Toys

After scrolling through several screens and pressing multiple buttons on the large display panel set into the carbon fiber dashboard, I was having no luck finding the massage chair settings where they were previously located on the Continental GT.

It was at this point I resigned myself to the possible fact that maybe the wave/pulse/lumbar and shoulder massage wasn’t going to happen and that the leather interior was going to have to be enjoyed simply for its craftsmanship (#firstworldproblems).

While I’d been otherwise occupied, Brenon had been getting used to the feel of the Bentayga in city traffic (driving in Comfort mode) and had reached the highway with ease, where we were northbound to Archerfield airport and going to be taking a few photos.

Bentley Bentayga with twin exhausts and great luggage space
Bentley Bentayga with twin exhausts and great luggage space. Photo: Billionaire Toys

Brenon: My first impressions of the Bentayga were very positive. I was surprised as I initially thought the car would have less charisma than the Continental GT but after seeing it I would say it definitely has an extra magnetic appeal in person.

In comparison to the “boxy” Rolls Royce Cullinan, the Bentayga’s front is more curved and sportier looking with the sloping roof lines adding to the sports look….but I’m still not entirely sold on the lower third of the front end. I do really like the crystal cut lights of Bentley though and also think the rear of the car looks like it should, especially with the twin exhausts.

The Bentayga that we had originally been told we’d be getting was a black one but there had been some changes and the one we received was in “Silver Tempest”.

Bentley Bentayga Interior detail stitching and knurling
Just some of the examples of stitching and diamond knurling in the Bentayga’s interior. Photo: Billionaire Toys

The interior of the Bentayga that we were given was a tasteful beluga black with polished carbon fibre inlays which is great for keeping clean but plays it safe somewhat in regards to choices and it would have been nice to see something a little more adventurous. I understand though that dealer specs have to be chosen for a broad appeal and if you want to get a bit more adventurous then you’ll most likely go through the Mulliner program.

One of the features I also like with Bentley is the “gull-wing” design of the interior which extends from the centre console out to the edges of the doors and gives it a very fluid “continuous” feel throughout the interior. Other little details like the hand stitching, high gloss carbon fibre and the diamond knurling on the clock and vents are also second to none.

Bentley Bentayga with Beluga leather and polished carbon fibre interior
Bentley Bentayga with Beluga leather and polished carbon fibre interior. Photo: Billionaire Toys

In regards to the driving experience, when driving through city traffic it still feels appropriately sized and has great visibility. The acceleration is hands down fantastic and the Bentayga feels rock solid on the road. The exhaust sound hardly makes it into the cabin but when it does its because you’re under some decent acceleration and the note of the Bentayga V8 is actually wonderful.

Arriving at the airport, we pulled the Bentayga into the driveway of Elite Helicopters and were greeted by helicopter pilot Brett, who proceeded to do a walk-around of the car with an appraisal summed up as “So THIS is the Bentayga huh?”

After the sales pitch we invariably end up doing (pointing out all of the features, specifications and extra’s we’ve been told about and elaborating on the pros and cons), it was time to get the Bentayga into position for a few photos with the Airbus H125 helicopter that we’d be shooting with.

Bentley Bentayga SUV car with Airbus H125 Helicopter
Bentley Bentayga V8 Petrol version with 22 inch rims. Photo: Billionaire Toys

The Bentayga we’d been driving had the City and Touring Bentley Specifications which includes Park Assist and the top view camera feature, making the task of deftly maneuvering a two tonne SUV around a $2,000,000 helicopter a little less daunting (but also as equally useful in avoiding scraped rims on sidewalks and applying emergency braking if someone steps into the path of the car).

By the time we had finished at the airfield, the sun had set, darkness and fallen and we were ready to head home. Evening brought out a whole new side to the interior though and we couldn’t help but take a few more shots and explore the interior features, discovering the soft-touch lights (only need to lightly place a finger on the overhead lights above the dashboard and they turn on) and the head-up display system above the drivers dash that displayed the speed of the car.

Bentley Bentayga with Airbus H125 Helicopter Flyinjg
Bentley Bentayga with Airbus H125 Helicopter. Photo: Billionaire Toys

Day Two

The next day grand plans were in place for a road trip, starting with a 4:30am wake-up time to make sunrise down by the beach.

Loading the Bentayga up with all our gear (ample room for it all in the suitably spacious trunk), we jumped in and headed south along the coastal road of the Gold Coast.

It was at this point when the sun had not yet risen and a chill was still in the air, that I mentally thanked Bentley for the little luxuries like the heated seat and the massage seats (which I accidentally discovered yesterday while playing around with the seat adjustment buttons on the side panel of the chair).

As pre-dawn light began to push the night away, it became apparent that the horizon was filled with low lying cloud and we were not going to get the golden rays of sunshine we were hoping to see. Nevertheless, we figured we’d still take the Bentayga right down to the sand and find ourselves a nice spot to watch the waves.

Bentley Bentayga at a Gold Coast Beach Sunrise
Bentley Bentayga at a Gold Coast Beach. Photo: Billionaire Toys

Making our way along the coast line, we found a sandy ramp used by the surf lifesavers to get their 4WD’s onto the beach but seeing as it was so early and the lifesavers weren’t at work yet, we made use of it to get the Bentayga closer to the sand.

After the sun rose, it was time to get back on the road and the Bentayga made easy work of reversing back out of the sand and onto the road again.

Continuing our road trip, we left the beaches of the Southern Gold Coast behind in our rear-view mirror and headed inland to the lush rural landscape of Currumbin Valley. Making our way into the countryside, the roads were much quieter with barely traffic on the road, giving Brenon the chance to really open up the engine and see how it performed.

Brenon: The Bentayga twin turbo V8 has absolutely no problem with power or hills and it would be no different for the twin turbo W12 version. Driving this car is super easy, you pretty much can move the steering wheel with one finger on it, mirrors that automatically tilt down to assist your visibility when reversing and of course the top view camera feature is invaluable. There really wouldn’t be many people who couldn’t drive this car comfortably.

V8 Bentley Bentayga tested on hills
Climbing hills in the Bentayga is a lot easier than walking them. Photo: Billionaire Toys

We still had a few hours to go till we had to (unwillingly) hand the Bentayga back and decided we’d a find few open roads, maybe a hill or two to climb and definitely somewhere to get a good breakfast as we were starving at this point.

Winding our way through the valley roads, a glance upwards through the huge panoramic glass panel that engulfs 60% of the roof real-estate, revealed glimpses of sun through the canopy of trees above us.

Turning a corner, we noticed a flock of geese casually meandering along the roadside by a riverside picnic spot. The question “Shall we go back and check them out??”was barely off our lips in a double jinx by the time we’d brought the Bentayga to a stop.

After hanging out with our new found geese friends, we headed to the Eco Village for breakfast at Produce & Co (which for the record do a delicious scrambled eggs and ham & cheese croissant).

Looking at our watches we’d calculated there was still a little more time till we had to turn back so we ventured further into the Eco Village to get the last of the exterior and interior shots we needed (but not before running into a few friendly kangaroos lazing around in the mid-morning sun)!

Bentley Bentayga clock with diamond knurling
Bentley Bentayga clock with diamond knurling. Photo: Billionaire Toys

Now it was finally time to take the Bentayga back. Looking down at the fuel gauge we realized we’d only used half of a tank of fuel and were impressed at what we perceived the fuel economy to be.

It’s only after we stopped by the local fuel station to fill up on the way back that we learnt just how large the fuel tank must of been and that half a tank STILL costs $75.

But after everything, Not even disappointed at all.

As far as luxury SUV’s go, buyers are more spoilt for choice than they ever have been in this particular segment and for the most part are not looking to make choices based on the speed.

This means choices are made more on personal preference of appearance along with the styling, bespoke details and customization programs offered by the automotive houses and with the Mulliner program there are no shortages to what you can do with the Bentley Bentayga to make it really feel like your own.

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20th Anniversary of Pagani Zonda at New York’s Grand Central Terminal

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The Italian Hypercar Atelier, Pagani, does a takeover of the iconic New York location for one week, beginning on November 1, 2019

It’s been 20 years since Horacio Pagani revealed his first hypercar to the world. The ground-breaking Zonda set interest racing as quickly as it set lap records. Today it still has the ability to stop traffic and is setting new records as a collectible asset.

Pagani Zonda in Grand-Central Terminal New York
Pagani Zonda in Grand Central Terminal New York. Credit: Pagani

Although the Pagani Zonda was never sold to the USA, it did become a benchmark for the hypercars that followed. Designed according to the foundations of Pagani’s design philosophy, the Zonda is where art and science meet – it was inspired by everything from Leonardo Da Vinci to Endurance Racing Sports Prototypes.

“As part of Pagani’s worldwide Zonda 20th Anniversary celebrations, the Zonda Collection was always coming to America. When faced with the task of finding a suitable location for such a prestigious display, we performed an extensive search of the country’s most iconic venues to find one that represented the same spirit of engineering, ingenuity and passion that went into the first 20 years of the Zonda,” said Michael Staskin, CEO, Pagani Automobili America. “What we found was Grand Central Terminal, a globally recognized hub of transportation, iconic history, timeless design and passion in one of the world’s greatest cities, New York.”

Pagani Huayra Roadster BC in Grand Central Terminal New York
Pagani Huayra Roadster BC in Grand Central Terminal New York. Credit: Pagani

With more than 750,000 people passing through Grand Central Terminal each day, its Vanderbilt Hall is the ideal location for the Pagani Zonda 20th Anniversary Collection to be displayed. And while cars have been placed there before, this celebration marks only the second time in its history that the Terminal will house multiple vehicles of such significance.

Pagani Zonda Collection in Grand Central Terminal New York
Pagani Zonda Collection in Grand Central Terminal New York. Credit: Pagani

From November 1-8, the Zonda Collection can be viewed by members of the public visiting or passing through Vanderbilt Hall within Grand Central Terminal. There will also be a number of innovative public and private micro events throughout the week organized for invited VIP guests, the media as well as official Pagani dealers and their clients.

Visitors and guests will be able to view the collection of five iconic Zondas, which include the following:

Zonda-C12
Zonda C12. Credit: Pagani

Zonda 001 

The very first Pagani production car. This model recently underwent a complete restoration of the very first chassis, used for the homologation and crash tests of the Zonda. It now bears the same configuration of the first Zonda presented in 1999 at the Geneva Motor Show. The meticulous artisanal work was carried out on the mechanics of the car, the electronic systems and, in fact, on just about every component of the car to recover the authentic look and functionality. It also features the now classic Pagani carbon fiber monocoque and 450hp Mercedes-Benz AMG engine.                  

Zonda-F
Zonda F. Credit: Pagani

Zonda F     

Dedicated to Horacio Pagani’s mentor and friend, Juan Manuel Fangio, the car was built to create a lighter, safer hypercar, shedding 110 lbs while adopting new carbo-ceramic brakes and a titanium and inconel exhaust with ceramic coating. As the lightest hypercar in its class, the Zonda F set a lap record at the famous Nürburgring racetrack in 2007 with its 650hp AMG V12 engine.

Zonda-R
Zonda R. Credit: Pagani

Zonda R

Developed as the ultimate track car, only ten examples were built after the car was unveiled in 2009. Using cutting edge F1 and aerospace technology, this 2360 lbs car set another Nürburgring record in 2010 and still holds the Top Gear Dunsfold track record for the fastest road-car derived track vehicle, thanks in part to its 750hp dry-sump AMG V12 engine.

Zonda-Roadster-Cinque
Zonda Roadster Cinque. Credit: Pagani

Zonda Cinque

Only five examples of perhaps the most extreme Pagani Zonda road car were ever built, combining elements of the Zonda F and R to originally satisfy a special request from a Hong Kong customer. It was the first Zonda to use a new Pagani invention, carbon-titanium, a special fiber purposely created for the Zonda Cinque, and eventually used in future Pagani models. The body was equipped with a longer front spoiler and newly designed rear wing to improve downforce, a central air intake feeding cold air to the engine increased the power allowing the car to speed over 215 mph.

Zonda HP Barchetta
Zonda HP Barchetta. Credit: Pagani

Zonda HP Barchetta

Designed by and for Horacio Pagani himself as the first of a series of three cars, this more refined model was the work of the special Uno-di-Uno division, which builds tailor-made cars. Inspired by the great “barchetta” style racecars of the 50’s, like those in which the five time Formula 1 champion Juan Manuel Fangio competed, this car has no roof and offers a very different and immersive driving experience. It has also adopted iconic elements from other models, such as the Zonda Cinque’s central air intake and high-strength chassis.

Horacio Pagani during The Zonda anniversary in Grand Central Terminal New York
Horacio Pagani surrounded by his creations in Vanderbilt Hall, Grand Central Terminal N.Y. Credit: Pagani

With individual cars valued as high as $18 million, the Zonda Collection offers North American enthusiasts a rare opportunity to see these unique vehicles in the flesh before they move on to the next leg of their international tour.

To make this special event possible, Grand Central Terminal took the unusual step of shutting down from 2-5AM on November 1, 2019. During this time, the five Zondas were moved into Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Terminal.

The following evening, Pagani held an opening night reception for its clients to enjoy the exhibition. On November 3rd, the venue will hosted a media and influencer event, allowing private tours to take place. Company Founder & Chief Designer, Horacio Pagani was also present for these activities. Additional special events were planned throughout the week while the Zonda Collection will continue to be available, free of charge, to the general public from 8am-6pm.

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First ever V12 Ferrari with a retractable hardtop.

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2020 Ferrari 812 GTS Rear top view

The new 2020 Ferrari 812 GTS is the spider version of the Ferrari 812 Superfast, from which it takes both its specifications and performance.

Firsts

Not only is the new 2020 Ferrari 812 GTS Spider the first ever V12 Ferrari with a retractable hardtop, Ferrai claims it is also the first ‘production series’ front mount V12 convertible since the classic Ferrari 365 GTS4 Daytona’s of 1969. This all assumes you do not count the 448 examples of the 550 Barchetta Pininfarina produced in 2000, the 559 examples of the Superamerica in 2005 or the 80 examples of the SA Aperta in 2010 as production series.

2020 Ferrari 812 GTS Front 3-4
Ferrari’s first V12 with a retractable hardtop. Credit: Ferrari

Ferrari’s V12 spider history

The Ferrari V12 spider history features some iconic models which began in 1948 with the 166 MM, a competition GT that won the two most prestigious endurance races in the world in 1949: the Mille Miglia and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The last in that long lineage was the 1969 365 GTS4, also known as the Daytona Spider because of Ferrari’s legendary victory in the 1967 24 Hours of Daytona when two works 330 P4s and the NART-entered 412 P took the chequered flag side by side to occupy the top three places.

2020 Ferrari 812 GTS Interior Dashboard Steering Wheel
2020 Ferrari 812 GTS Interior showing the dashboard and steering wheel. Credit: Ferrari

Retractable hardtop features

The retractable hard top opens in 14 seconds at speeds of up to 45 km/h and does not impede upon the interior dimensions, maintaining the same cabin space as the 812 Superfast. The rear electric screen acts as a wind breaker making the car comfortable with the top down. With the roof closed, the rear electric screen can be left open so occupants can still enjoy the naturally aspirated V12’s sound.

There was huge focus on minimising both turbulence inside the cabin and aerodynamic noise to ensure occupants could converse undisturbed even at high speeds. As with the LaFerrari Aperta, two small L-shaped flaps on the upper corners of the windscreen generate a coherent concentrated vortex that creates outwash in the velocity field immediately above the rear screen, thereby avoiding excess pressure behind the occupants’ heads.

2020 Ferrari 812 GTS Front top view
The 812 GTS features a retractable rear screen behind the seats. Credit: Ferrari

Exterior and aerodynamics

Aerodynamically, the 812 GTS posed two main challenges for the Ferrari designers. How to guarantee the same performance as the 812 coupé version with the top up and, at the same time, ensure maximum passenger comfort with the roof down.

In terms of aerodynamic performance, the retractable hard top and its stowage compartment, required that the rear of the car be modified. Thanks to meticulous re-sculpting of the tonneau cover surfaces and, most importantly, the integration of a triplane wing into rear diffuser to create efficient suction (and thus downforce) from the underbody, the aerodynamic engineers were able to compensate for the downforce lost by the removal of the 812 Superfast’s rear wheelarch bypass duct, (the air intake of which was behind the quarterlight on the 812 Superfast).

Drag, on the other hand, was cut by using the air vents on top of the rear flank to efficiently channel excess pressure build up out of the wheel well.

2020 Ferrari 812 GTS Rear 3-4
The 812 GTS’s retractable hard top required that the rear of the car be modified. Credit: Ferrari

Engine and performance

The 812 GTS is the spider version of the 812 Superfast, from which it takes both its specifications and performance, most notably the V12 engine which, thanks to its ability to unleash a massive 800 cv at 8500 rpm, is the most powerful engine in its class! 718 Nm of torque guarantees impressive acceleration virtually on a par with that of the 812 Superfast while the 8900 rpm rev limit means that sporty driving is undiminished.

As on the 812 Superfast, these performance levels were achieved in part by optimising the engine design and in part by innovations, such as the use of a 350 bar direct injection system, and the control system for the variable geometry inlet tracts, developed on naturally-aspirated F1 engines. These systems allowed the increase in displacement from 6.2 to 6.5 litres to be exploited to maximise power output whilst retaining excellent pick up even at low revs.

Overall, performance levels are very close to those of the 812 Superfast, with 0-100 km/h acceleration still under 3 seconds and 0-200 km/h in just 8,3 seconds. The Ferrari 812 GTS’s maximum speed is the same as the berlinetta’s at 340 km/h.

2020 Ferrari 812 GTS Left Side
0-100kph in under 3 seconds, Ferrari 812 GTS. Credit: Ferrari

Exhaust changes for the convertable

Due to the open air nature of the 812 GTS drivers are more able to hear the V12’s characteristics and so the geometry of the exhaust system was evolved to increase and balance the sound from the engine and tailpipes. Exhaust-wise prevalence was given to combustion order harmonics by modifying the geometry of the centre extension pipes. All the pipes in the 6-in-1 exhaust manifold to the monolithic catalytic converter are of equal-length and this optimises the sound by giving predominance to the first order combustion harmonics.

Ferrari 812 GTS Price

Sale date and price are yet to be announced however the price is expected to start northwards of US$335,275.

2020 Ferrari 812 GTS Interior Seats
2020 Ferrari 812 GTS Interior Seats. Credit: Ferrari
2020 Ferrari 812 GTS Rear top view
The 2020 Ferrari 812 GTS. Credit: Ferrari

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Porsche increases ownership stake in Rimac Automobili

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Porsche AG strengthens it’s relationship with Rimac Automobili.

Rimac C TWO top view
The Rimac C TWO all electric supercar. Photo: Rimac Automobili

Porsche has increased its stake in technology and sports car company Rimac Automobili from it’s June 2018 investment of 10 percent to 15.5 percent. This is a clear signal that Porsche is now strengthening a well established partnership. Rimac develops and produces electromobility components and also produces electrically powered super sports cars in-house. Porsche initiated the development partnership with Rimac against the backdrop of its electric mobility campaign.

Rimac Founder, Mate Rimac (31), started developing his vision of a fast, electrically powered sports car in a garage in 2009. Rimac unveiled his most recent electric car, the C Two, at the Geneva International Motor Show in March 2018. The two seater vehicle generates almost 2,000 PS and reaches a top speed of 412 kilometres per hour. It boasts a range of 650 kilometres (NEDC) and can recharge 80 percent of its full battery capacity within half an hour thanks to a 250 kW fast charging system.

Rimac is a rapidly growing company based in Zagreb, Croatia, and employs a workforce of around 550 people. Rimac focuses on battery technology within the high-voltage segment, high performance electric powertrains and developing digital interfaces between humans and machines (HMI). The company also develops and produces electric bikes. This strand of the business was established in 2013 in the form of the sister company Greyp Bikes.

Rimac C TWO
The Rimac C TWO all electric supercar. Photo: Rimac Automobili

What Porsche says:

“Porsche has been supporting Rimac and its positive development for a year now,” explains Lutz Meschke, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board at Porsche AG and Member of the Executive Board responsible for Finance and IT. “We quickly realised that Porsche and Rimac can learn a lot from each other. We believe in what Mate Rimac and his company have to offer, which is why we have now increased our stake and intend to intensify our collaboration in the field of battery technology.”

What Rimac says:

“Gaining Porsche as a stakeholder was one of the most important milestones in our history. The fact that Porsche is now increasing its stake is the best form of confirmation for our collaboration and represents the foundation for an even closer relationship,” Managing Director Mate Rimac explains. “We are only at the start of our partnership – yet we have already met our high expectations. We have many collaborative ideas that we aim to bring to life in the future. The fundamental focus is creating a win-win situation for both partners and offering our end customers added value by developing exciting, electrified models.”

Potrait of Mate Rimac
Rimac Founder, Mate Rimac. Photo: Rimac Automobili

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