Has the addition of seat covers, a gun case and lockable storage turned this luxury car into the perfect shoot wagon? And, if so, will it cope with Hampshire clay?
The addition of seat covers, a gun case and lockable storage to the Bentley Bentayga aims to turn the luxury car into a shoot wagon. So the Bentley Bentayga Mulliner “Field Sports” certainly has the gear, but does it have any idea? Charlie Flindt finds out.
For our take on Bentley’s original SUV, read Bentley Bentayga. A surprising SUV.
BENTLEY BENTAYGA MULLINER “FIELD SPORTS”
The idea of Bentley doing a huge 4×4 doesn’t seem as bizarre as it did a few years ago, when we first tested the Bentayga. They’re all at it these days – Maserati, Alfa, Jaguar et al. So it’s not surprising that Bentley has been striving to keep its behemoth fresh with fancy, luxurious, special editions, aided by the bespoke team at Mulliner. And one of these special editions – the “Field Sports” –found its way onto our little rough shoot for the last day of the season.
From the outside, it looked like a “normal” Bentayga: chunky but understated. It’s only when you open it up that the “Field Sports” special edition features become obvious. There are extra seat covers, a gun case and a lockable storage compartment for all your bits and pieces. The tragedy is that whoever came up with these shooting “essentials” got them all utterly wrong.
The best seat fabric for outdoor conditions is quality leather: easy to clean, long lasting and tough. Fussy seat covers are never as good in real-world mud.
Then there’s the gun case. “Crikey,” I thought as I lifted it out. “That’s heavy!” How heavy? Well, the farm scales said “error”, so I hauled it up to the bathroom scales. They said 31lb (makes a change from “One at a time, please”). Pop in a pair of high bird over-and-unders and you’re carrying the thick end of 50lb. Sturdy and secure? Yes. Will your back hold out? Not so sure. The case sits longways inside the Bentley, slotted through the back seat, which immediately reduces passenger capacity by one, and rests on top of the extras box in the boot. And after all that, there’s no room for the flatcoats.
This box has two compartments: one accessed by a simple lid (after you’ve got the gun case out, of course), and contains fancy glasses, a Purdey Damascus sheath knife (not seen since prep school) and assorted other goodies. You need a key to access the ammo section, in a sliding drawer. Unfortunately, the lock is buried in a compartment that even my teeny tiny hands (perfect for farm gynaecology situations) struggled to get into. I managed to break one key in the struggle to unlock. Luckily, I retrieved the broken-off bit. And this was on a mildish day – no gloves.
Come shoot day, I bottled using the Bentayga. Yet another deluge rendered the farm almost impassable. My never-ever-stuck-before UTV got completely stuck. So I was quite pleased not to have used the Bentley, not just because the Hampshire clay would have been too much. The Bentayga “Field Sports” had all the gear – but no idea.
A couple of dry days later, when the ground had dried out a bit, I gave the Bentayga a good run out round the farm and it shone on its Pirelli Scorpions – a proper sensible extra. But I couldn’t help thinking that the “basic” Bentayga is perfectly adequate for a shoot. You could impress four passengers, not just three, and lift your gun out without speed dialling the physio. And, best of all, you’d never have to endure sulking flatcoats.
BENTLEY BENTAYGA MULLLINER “FIELD SPORTS”
♦ Engine: 3,956cc triple-charged V8 diesel
♦ Power: 429bhp
♦ Max speed: 168mph
♦ Performance, 0 to 62: 4.8 seconds
♦ Combined fuel economy: 35.3mpg
♦ Insurance group: 50
♦ Price: £203,145