Bentley goes big with an extended, Mulliner-trimmed version of its Bentayga SUV

The Bentley Bentayga EWB Mulliner is the luxury manufacturer’s new flagship, a high-riding limousine that marks a sea-change in how we perceive the very best of an automotive brand

Bentley Bentayga EWB Mulliner
(Image credit: Bentley Motors)

In the old days, Bentley’s flagship was a saloon car. Tradition dictated that the most prestigious vehicle in a fleet should be a large, preferably stretched, four-door saloon with elegance, gravitas and presence. Over the past 100 years, many Bentley saloons have nobly taken on this role, from the two monumental Bentley State Limousines built for the late Queen Elizabeth, to the Mulsanne, a vast saloon produced from 2010 to 2020. 

Bentley Bentayga EWB Mulliner parked at night

(Image credit: Bentley Motors)

The Mulsanne was very much the last of its kind, built on a bespoke platform to the same levels of near-maniacal perfection that drove other high profile VW Group projects of this golden era of intensive engineering – cars like the Bugatti Veyron and the Volkswagen Phaeton. Yet while Bentley still has a perfectly good saloon car in its line-up, the excellent Flying Spur, it’s chosen the Bentayga SUV to be its new pinnacle. 

Bentley Bentayga EWB Mulliner on coastal road

(Image credit: Bentley Motors)

The Bentayga should have been controversial. Introduced in 2015, it followed the deep furrows left by other luxury SUVs and eventually carried Bentley to new heights of profit and production. Unlike the hugely complex Mulliner (constructed in such a way that no battery could ever fit, even for a hybrid system), the Bentayga sits on a tried and tested, highly flexible VW Group engineering platform, allowing Bentley’s engineers to do practically whatever they like.

Bentley Bentayga EWB Mulliner at night

(Image credit: Bentley Motors)

Since it debuted, we’ve seen Bentaygas take an ill-fated foray into diesel power, go hybrid and even get stretched with the EWB (extended wheelbase) model. 

Mulliner starts with the EWB as standard, skipping the hybrid option and plumps for the 4.0-litre twin turbo V8. The additional length all goes into that voluminous rear passenger compartment, configured as two reclining ‘airline-style’ seats, with a practically limitless number of colour and trim options. 

Inside the Bentley Bentayga EWB Mulliner

Bentley Bentayga EWB Mulliner rear interior

(Image credit: Bentley Motors)

For most luxury car buyers, high specification and extensive personalisation tick all the right boxes. More and more features and options are piled upon the buying process, making it as intricate and empowering as possible. The Mulliner division is making much of new sustainable options, like leather tanned with wastewater from olive oil pressing, and carpets made from recycled nylon. Smart seats ensure the car’s occupants enjoy ‘optimum thermal wellbeing’, and the materials, controls and instrumentation convey digital realities through a filter of nostalgic wonder for engineering solidity and heft. 

Bentley Bentayga EWB Mulliner, rear seats with champagne glasses

(Image credit: Bentley Motors)

How long will the Bentayga EWB Mulliner fly the role of flagship? It’s disconcerting to report that the car market seems to have no upper limit on extravagance. Rolls-Royce’s recent quartet of Droptail speedsters and even Bentley’s own Bacalar and Batur models, demonstrate that even cars costing from £2 to £20m will still find buyers. Where next? Although the Bentayga EWB Mulliner will transport you in supreme comfort, the destination is down what is an increasingly untrodden path. 

Bentley Bentayga EWB Mulliner front seats interior

(Image credit: Bentley Motors)

Bentley Bentayga EWB Mulliner, from £245,000,

Jonathan Bell has written for Wallpaper* magazine since 1999, covering everything from architecture and transport design to books, tech and graphic design. He is now the magazine’s Transport and Technology Editor. Jonathan has written and edited 15 books, including Concept Car Design, 21st Century House, and The New Modern House. He is also the host of Wallpaper’s first podcast.