REVIEW - A growl of power: Bentley's new Bentayga hits the roads

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The British carmaker's luxury SUV Bentayga was a big hit first time round and the new version will appeal to all discerning motorists. (Supplied)
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The British carmaker's luxury SUV Bentayga was a big hit first time round and the new version will appeal to all discerning motorists. (Supplied)
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The British carmaker's luxury SUV Bentayga was a big hit first time round and the new version will appeal to all discerning motorists. (Supplied)
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The British carmaker's luxury SUV Bentayga was a big hit first time round and the new version will appeal to all discerning motorists. (Supplied)
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The British carmaker's luxury SUV Bentayga was a big hit first time round and the new version will appeal to all discerning motorists. (Supplied)
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The British carmaker's luxury SUV Bentayga was a big hit first time round and the new version will appeal to all discerning motorists. (Supplied)
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The British carmaker's luxury SUV Bentayga was a big hit first time round and the new version will appeal to all discerning motorists. (Supplied)
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Updated 16 August 2020

REVIEW - A growl of power: Bentley's new Bentayga hits the roads

  • The British carmaker's luxury SUV was a big hit first time round and the new version will appeal to all discerning motorists

DUBAI: It was big news ago five years ago when Bentley made their first foray into the luxury SUV space with the Bentayga.
The illustrious British carmaker, renowned for over a century for its elite handcrafted saloons and touring cars, reckoned that the fast-growing SUV market was ripe for a new entrant. That decision has been amply justified by demand for the Bentayga — 20,000 have been sold, making it one of the most popular vehicles in the upmarket SUV space.
So the launch of the New Bentayga is a major event in the luxury car calendar. The 2020 version will be delivered later this year, and Bentley — owned by German car giant VW since 1998 — is getting ready for the rush, especially in the Middle East.

(Arab News' reviewer Frank Kane gets behind the wheel of the Bentley Bentayga)

Luxury-crazy drivers in the region certainly seem to have taken the original model to their hearts. In Dubai, it can regularly be seen parked in prime spots on the forecourts of five-star hotels or zooming down the outside lane.
Firas Kandalaft, Bentley’s UAE-based head of marketing, explained that there was a rush in Saudi Arabia to get buying orders ahead of the recent VAT increase. At around SAR800,000 (a little over $213,000) for an entry-level Bentayga, the tax saving would be significant.
In particular, affluent women in the Kingdom appear to have taken to the Bentayga to enjoy their new driving freedoms, Kandelaft explained.

I had the pleasure of driving a pre-production model of the new version around the tracks and roads at Dubai Autodrome, and have to report an exhilarating experience. 
It is certainly a handsome car, with sleek lines and contours topped off with the legendary “winged B” badge that pays tribute to Bentley’s heritage as an aircraft engine manufacturer and also hints at the near-airborne experience that awaits you once behind the wheel.
The Bentayga exterior has been redesigned front and rear, adding an extra layer of aerodynamism to the body. It displays none of the ‘boxy’ characteristics of some other luxury SUVs. “Elliptical” is the buzzword, especially for the style of the cut-crystal lighting.
Get behind the wheel and you are immediately impressed by the sheer sophistication of the steering wheel and dashboard complex. A new digital combination display has all the driving information you need, while the center console provides touch-screen convenience — including a range of Apple connectivity services. All topped off by the classic Bentley analogue clock nestling above the AC vents.

Bentleys are all hand-built in the car’s historic works in Crewe, England, though there is a distinct feel of German “technik” in the electronics and navigational systems — but with more or a flavor of Porsche than VW.
On the road, the New Bentayga is a thrilling experience. A 4.1 liter V8 engine generates an impressive 542 brake horsepower, to get you from 0-100 kph in 4.5 seconds.
The top speed of 290 kph is unlikely to be legally hit anywhere, but it is good to know you have so much in reserve within the legal limits, and the acceleration necessary to get out of any tricky spot. Flooring the gas pedal produces a satisfyingly deep-throated growl of power.
There will be a W12 version available in the future, likely to become a luxury-car driver’s icon, but with a price tag of more than $500,000.
Excited women drivers, adventurous families, off-roaders and speed merchants will all get a kick out of the new Bentayga, as will aficionados of grande luxe. I have a feeling we will be seeing, and admiring, a lot more of them on the roads of the Middle East.


French-Tunisian star Sonia Ben Ammar joins the cast of ‘Scream 5’

Updated 20 September 2020

French-Tunisian star Sonia Ben Ammar joins the cast of ‘Scream 5’

DUBAI:Up-and-coming French-Tunisian singer, model and actor Sonia Ben Ammar has joined the cast of “Scream 5,”  it’s been revealed this week.

 According to Variety, production on Spyglass Media and Paramount Pictures’ upcoming relaunch of the  famous horror film franchise is set to begin later this month.

Filmmaking duo Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, who are behind “Ready or Not,” are directing the forthcoming film.

The first “Scream” film was released in 1996, well before Ben Ammar was even born.  A smash hit upon its debut, the movie helped to revive the horror genre, becoming the highest-grossing slasher movie of all-time. 

This will be Paris-born Ammar’s first high-profile Hollywood gig as an actress. She along with other young franchise newcomers will be joining returning cast members David Arquette, Courteney Cox and Neve Campbell, who are all reprising their iconic roles as Dewey Riley, Gale Weathers and Sidney Prescott.

Plot details for the new film, set to debut in theaters on Jan. 14, 2022, are still under wraps,  so it is not yet known what role the French-Arab star will be taking on.

“I’m SCREAMing of excitement!! (sic)” wrote the 21-year-old on Instagram, announcing the news to her 730,000 social media followers. “Incredibly grateful to be part of one of my favorite franchises. 2nd photo is my face when I got the call lol (sic),” she captioned a screenshot of Variety’s article announcing the news and a blurry snap of her clearly overjoyed. 

However, it’s not the multi-hyphenate model’s first foray into the film industry.

Ben Ammar, who is the daughter of Tunisian film director Tarek Ben Ammar and actress Beata, previously starred in Guillaume Canet’s French-language film “Jappeloup” as well as the stage musical “1789: Les Amants de la Bastille.”

She’s also appeared in several music videos, including “Drivin’ Thru the Night” by DJ Petit Biscuit, as well as clips for her own singles, such as “Joyride” from her debut EP.

In addition to music, Ben Ammar is also a rising model, and has worked for many major brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Miu Miu, Carolina Herrera and Chanel, among other prestigious fashion houses.