Bentley Bentayga first drive review

Most drivers never use their vehicle to its full potential

How many Ferrari owners regularly drive at over 300km/h, for example? And how many LandCruisers ever make it off the beaten track? But simply knowing your car is capable of doing what it says on the tin is a key element of its appeal.

With the Bentley Bentayga – the British brand's (and the world's first) uber-luxury SUV – it is highly unlikely you'll ever see one dusting up the desert, bashing through the bush or roaring around a racetrack, but it can do all of those things. And quite competently, mind you.

Instead, it is most likely you'll see the Bentayga cruising the boulevards of Australia's wealthiest suburbs, cramming the carparks of elite golf courses and rolling up to red carpet events. That's because, first and foremost, it is a Bentley in the truest sense; a refined and relaxed limousine with a cabin that is a hand-crafted cacoon of opulent luxury, draped in quilted leather, furnished with the finest wood veneers and fitted with the latest in conveniences and connectivity.

But, having sampled the Bentayga's broad skill set across a range of exercises – including a challenging off-road course, dicing with Baja-style buggies in the sand dunes and a couple of hot laps around a fast and flowing circuit - during the global preview drive in and around Palm Springs last week, it is so much more than just a high-riding status symbol.