Riding in the back of most full-size SUVs can make you feel like a kid heading into soccer practice, and getting behind the wheel can convey some serious feelings for bus drivers. But Bentayga EWB It’s no ordinary carrier for your family and no matter where you sit, this Bentley is a very luxurious way to travel.
EWB stands for Extended Wheelbase, which means, as you’d expect, the brand has taken its most popular model and stretched it just over seven inches. This extra length creates more room in the rear for a more comfortable passenger experience. Bentley calls it a “spiritual” alternative to the Mulsanne (its limousine-like sedan that’s gone but not forgotten) but the EWB is much more advanced.
We spent a day driving and horseback riding around Vancouver and the Coast Mountains. We’ve put the Bentayga EWB through its paces on highways, city streets and even over dirt trails to Whistler’s highest ski hill. After a few hundred miles, we’re sure drivers can find plenty of fun behind the wheel, but the real ideal is in the back.
This is the back seat
Hop in the butt and the first thing you notice is the extra seven inches. It may not seem like much when you consider that the standard Bentayga is already over 200 inches long, but the extra length adds a massive amount of room. You almost need a binoculars to see the front seat.
Then there is the Airline Seat. EWD comes standard with a three-passenger seat in the rear. But for those willing to throw away their driver’s keys, the $11,195 option is a must. The furniture upgrade allows occupants to adjust the seat 22 different ways and recline to 40 degrees. The footrest can be positioned from the back of the front passenger seat to relieve dogs from barking. It’s not a top-tier international business-class experience, but it does increase the extravagance a notch or two. In addition, a completely horizontal position would require a completely different type of seat belt …
Let’s hope someone in Crow is working on it now.
Active massage functions like fingers, hands and elbows are magic tucked under the skin. It’s definitely among the best we’ve seen in cars. The seat also uses a system that can assess the occupant’s temperature and humidity (read: sweat) on the seat surface, then add heat, ventilation, or both to achieve “optimal thermal wellbeing”. Massage technology automatically adjusts the body’s posture using 177 pressure adjustments on long flights to allow passengers to arrive more refreshed.
Sitting in the airline seat as the EWB navigates the trail, through mountains and pale emerald lakes, is a soft, supple experience. Comfortable air suspension and 48-volt roll-over prevention work together to reduce bumps and bends in the road. So, even when it gets crooked, you can still find a good nap in the back.
Of course this is a Bentley, so the EWB is equipped with the finest seat surfaces with optional details in the handcrafted wood paneling and inlays. Standard colors abound but if you can’t find a single color in a Bentley color palette, the paints can be matched to just about any sample. In total, the brand offers a staggering 24 billion collections. So there is absolutely no excuse for your EWB to appear just like the neighbor.
behind the wheel
Despite the designers’ attention to the rear cabin, Bentley still says the EWB is a driver-focused vehicle. The EWB features a single powertrain – a 542-hp twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Despite the added volume, the brand says the EWB only loses a tenth of a second to 60 mph to the standard Bentayga, clocking in at 4.5 seconds.
Hit the throttle and the EWB will get up and go, but you won’t hear much howling. The engineers at Crewe lowered the volume of the V-8 to calm the cabin for the rear passengers. From a driver’s point of view, the engine looks a bit average, but we get it.
Without a doubt, the EWB is about 17 and a half feet long, which is a galleon to go on the road. But, thankfully, it has a plethora of features and technologies that make it look a lot smaller. Think of them as Spanx cars. Rear-wheel steering allows drivers to pull a full turn on a two-lane highway without any of the wheels leaving the asphalt. For those who enjoy twists and turns, Sport mode will tighten up the setup for a little fun. EWB claims a top speed of 180 mph, but that would significantly reduce comfort. Maybe let the driver try to get to him on his day off.
The increase in volume is the first thing you notice from the inside. However, it is one of the last things when you stare outside. The extra length is obscured by larger rear doors. If you look at the top-down EWB next to the Standard Edition, you may notice that the sunroof has been changed far to the rear to match the new rear seat positions. But for connoisseurs of the Bentayga, there is little to flourish. There’s a new front grille and polished 22-inch 10-spoke wheels that you can’t get on the Standard-Length Edition. Curiously, Bentley has no plans to offer the Bentayga with a three-tier configuration. No football moms or dads in Beverly Hills?
Regardless, whether you’re bringing the kids from training or a driver taking you to a game, the EWB is a great blend of style and performance no matter which seat you choose.
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