Simply Abu Dhabi XX

2 3 5 S I M P LY A B U DH A B I One point where styling wins over practicality, however, is the approach and departure angles, which meant we couldn’t attack the dunes like a Dakar raid car. Being based on the VolkswagenMLB platform it shares with the newQ7, the Bentayga has relatively long overhangs that house two intercoolers for the twin-scroll turbos, so it was best not use them as sand ploughs. Sitting behind the leather-covered wheel, peering out over a Continental-like dash, the Bentley driver’s view is normally of a tree-lined boulevard, not an endless vista of desert accompanied by plumes of sand kicked up from the wheels with a 12-cylinder engine bouncing off its 7500rpm rev limiter. “For Bentley this is a completely new segment. A lot of my people have never driven in sand before,” Mr Frech said. “Driving in sand dunes is the most challenging test for an engine because it involves high revs and low speed so not much air through the radiators.” The W12 develops 600bhp on the button and a massive 900Nm of torque, which translates to on-road figures of 4.1 seconds to 100kmh and a 301kmh top end while offering a range of more than 600kms. The W12 is 90 per cent new, with a new oil system that prevents surge and suction pumps to collect oil from the turbochargers for the extreme angles. It features variable displacement so that half the cylinders shut down to save fuel when coasting and the whole unit is 30kg lighter. “We’ve adopted a top-down strategy for the engine range so we’ll launch with the W12 first, then the diesel and a plug-in hybrid later,” Mr Patterson said.