Experiencing the factory provided a new dimension to the drive. Holding that handcrafted steering wheel one could appreciate the craftsmanship that went into it. Looking at the wood trims in the dash, the Bentley wing design to it and the precise three rows of milling in each metal dial allowed an elevated sense of appreciation of what it takes to craft a Bentley.
This of course made negotiating the narrow roads of the Cotswolds villages a little more of an apprehensive experience. Driving within inches of the hedgerows and the mirrors of cars tightly parked along narrow village streets, I was conscious of the size of the Bentayga and the perfection of its paintwork.
First stop was the beautiful gateway to the Cotswolds, Broadway, a town that at the height of summer is full of coachloads of tourists. It was quieter when we were there, although still busy enough to frustrate our photographer, the aptly named Nick England. We managed to get the shot we wanted, but suffice to say everywhere we looked there were postcard backdrops for the regal Bentley.
Beyond the villages and on larger roads with fields on either side, the Bentayga stretched its legs, although the constant changes in speed limits meant it never reached a canter let alone a gallop. Instead it wafted through the countryside in a gentlemanly manner, occasionally releasing a bark from the exhaust as it dropped a gear before settling back into an elegant cruise.
The drive was all very, well, Bentley really. But unlike the Premier League footballers that Lofkin says often order their cars without visiting the factory, our visit to CW1 enhanced my appreciation of the Bentayga.
It is not simply the sum of its parts, it is the sum of Bentley’s history and the sum of years, decades even, of dedication from those who lovingly create each component.
The Bentayga, like other models in the range, is something grand, something to be appreciated. It is a Bentley.