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Bentley Bentayga EWB Azure Review: It's The Most Luxurious Bentley Today For Rear Seat Passengers

Its rear seats don't just recline up to 40 degrees, they'll adjust every part of your body's temperature and posture too.
James Wong
James Wong
02 Aug 2023
The seats... have innovations that are firsts in the automotive industry.
What we like:
Build quality
Engineering that went into extending the wheelbase - more than just a stretch
What we dislike:
Ride could be even more comfortable

Almost fully reclining rear seats became a sought-after commodity in the rarified super luxury segment especially in the last few years, as it increasingly became available in more models. After all, who wouldn’t want to preside over the road in a king-like throne seat after parting with money reaching close to 7 figures for a luxury SUV?

Bentley was in a bit of a pickle if it didn’t take action, for the Bentayga wasn’t offered in Extended Wheel Base (EWB) guise when it was first launched in 2015, and certainly didn’t have rear seats that reclined this way. It became a more pressing issue when the Mulsanne was discontinued. There had to be a car to replace the Mulsanne as the ultimate Bentley - both for the driver as well as for passengers, specifically those at the rear. We cannot ignore the fact that the Bentayga comprises a good 44% of Bentley’s sales in the first half of this year - a clear majority.

I’d hazard a guess that’s at least partially the reason the Bentayga EWB exists, which didn’t come to market until a full 7 years after we’ve seen the first production Bentayga. Offering Airline Seats at the rear, the Bentley EWB is now a credible offering of this feature in the super luxury arena that not even the Rolls-Royce Cullinan possesses (although, we must admit, the Cullinan remains as the last word in absolute refinement and comfort).

Having an ability to recline up to 40 degrees, the Bentayga EWB’s rear seats are more than just a stretch-and-forget job. There are two modes - Business and Relax. It is the latter position that you’d want to be in all of the time, as it also folds the front passenger seat and a petite leather-trimmed footrest then folds down from its back. Unless, of course, you’re doing work on your lappy, but do you really have to? If you must, there are tables that fold from the top of the front seats ready for you to key in your next trade on the Nasdaq.

The seats themselves have innovations that are firsts in the automotive industry. There is automatic climate sensing, which basically ensures your whole body’s temperature is maintained through seat ventilation or heating, depending on your desired temperature. Just take it that if your bum feels particularly hot in comparison to your back, the Bentayga will make sure they’re evenly cooled by chilling your bum more.

There is also automatic postural adjustment, whereby the most optimum posture is adopted by making micro adjustments to the occupant’s seating position and pressure points. All this is part of Bentley’s push for satisfying its customers’ desire for wellness - the good folks at Crewe just want to make you feel good in every way possible.

If you couldn’t tell by now, Bentley didn’t just call it a day when they lengthened the wheelbase by 180 mm. There is additional sound deadening in the rear and boot compartment, and extra work was needed to reposition the panoramic sunroof by 125 mm so that it extended all the way to rear passengers. Rear doors are now also both electrically assisted to close (with just a light tap from outside) or via buttons on the inside, as they’re now especially large and heavy due to the extended length.

A particularly tasteful feature of the EWB is its subtle ambient lighting. Diamond cut ambient lighting emanates from behind the leather panel of every door, which has been perforated with holes of less than 1 mm diameter and digitally positioned with precision. This is my absolute favourite feature of the car which is both subtle and classy.

The Bentayga EWB is available only with the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8, which is just about the best engine to suit the car. There is 550 PS and 770 Nm that will propel the leviathan from 0-100 km/h in 4.6 seconds, which is decently quick. There is a surprising amount of exhaust sound that is let into the cabin, but that I suppose is in keeping with Bentley’s sporting heritage.

The car also comes as standard with all-wheel steering, which is a relief given its added dimensions, shortening the turning radius of the EWB by 7% compared with the standard wheelbase Bentayga. But as a whole, don’t expect a sporty drive. The car is heavy and you can definitely feel it dynamically, although you have to keep in mind that it is 5.3 metres long and weighs 2.5 tons. It’s far less intimidating than it sounds, which is an achievement in itself.

Interestingly, the ride is still geared to be a mix between sport and comfort, so you don’t really get the pillowy ride that you get in the Range Rover LWB and Cullinan. In fact, the car relies more on its heavy weight to quash imperfections rather than having a softly sprung suspension, aiming to juggle both sport and comfort at the same time. While that allows an impressive amount of body control, I’d rather trade some of that off for a more cosseting ride, especially when it comes to the EWB which may be more chauffeur-driven focused.

The Bentayga EWB is altogether a more interesting proposition than the standard Bentayga thanks to its seriously deep engineering that went into those seemingly minute extra millimetres. I think with more comfort-biased suspension, it would sweeten the package just that bit more. As it is, it is already one of the world’s most luxurious ways to travel by land.

Photos by New Gen Marketing


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