You know you’re among a different class of buyer when the vehicles on your shopping list cost more than most homes in the United States.
The new Bentley Bentayga is the luxury brand’s first venture into the SUV market. It’s brutish and sleek, powerful and graceful. With a starting price of about $229,000, it’s also wildly expensive and can quickly eclipse the $300,000 mark with the right options ticked.
Buyers will get the world’s fastest production SUV thanks to a twin-turbo 6.0-liter W12 that makes a mighty 600-hp and 664 lb-ft of torque. Top speed is estimated at about 185 miles per hour.
We know this vehicle is far from what most people can afford, so why do we bring it up?
Because it makes other cars look darn appealing.
The Bentayga is the antithesis of what most car buyers want. It’s expensive, heavy, and presumably gets terrible fuel economy (at least until the diesel and hybrid versions come out). It is, however, exclusive, rare, and ultra luxurious, with an immaculate interior unmatched by any other carmaker. This is what Car and Driver said about the SUV’s most interesting option:
But the coolest (and most appalling) thing in the Bentayga interior is the optional Breitling clock set atop the dashboard. It’s available in either white or rose gold, with a face of black or white mother-of-pearl, and studded with eight diamonds. Cost? 150,000 euros, or about $160,000. Only a handful of craftspeople make the clocks, which take three months apiece. That exclusivity guarantees that Bentley will sell the four it can offer every year.
While no one else can offer a $160,000 clock, other cars can offer impressive technology for a lot less coin.
Take the electric Tesla Model X, for example. That SUV debuted with a $132,000 price tag and enough technology to rival that of the Falcon 9, the rocket made by Elon Musk’s other pet project, SpaceX.
The top Model X trim has 762 total horsepower and can zip from 0-60 in a scant 3.8 seconds. Then there’s the built-in ultrasonic sensors that keep the falcon wing doors from dinging nearby cars, a triple-layer-carbon air filter can virtually eliminate all bacteria from the cabin, and a panoramic windshield that features what the company claims to be the largest single piece of glass ever installed on a car.
Not even Bentley can make those claims, and yet the Model X comes in at about half the price of the Bentayga.
If we’re talking electrics, though, the Nissan Leaf is the car that offers impressive technology at a price nearly anyone can afford. That’s especially true on the used market. Buyers won’t get the extended range offered on the Model X, but they will get a payment that is just a fraction of what it would cost to buy a house.
Or in some cases, a Bentley.
If money weren’t an issue, what car would you take home: The Bentley Bentayga, the Tesla Model X, or the humble Nissan Leaf?