There is no doubting the merits of the 2017 Bentley Bentayga.
It's got a twin-turbocharged W12 engine with 600 HP and 664 pound-feet of torque. It can do zero to 60 four seconds flat. It has a top speed of 187 MPH.
On paper, it's the most bitchin' thing that's ever happened to sport utility.
Downside? From squinting distance, it's completely indistinguishable from the Porsche Cayenne, BMW X5, Maserati Levante, Audi SQ5 and a host of other luxury mid- and full-size 4x4s.
While the (relatively) recent introduction of SUVs and crossovers from the auto world’s most hallowed names was a long time coming, the movement has been somewhat lackluster thanks to the relative sameness of most models.
The Bentley Bentayga comes with some nice features, sure, but it also sports the same fluid, swept-back lines that have seemingly become a standard within the class. Take a Subaru Outback, put it on stilts, slap on some fancy rims and a better grille, et voila: you've got the approximate look.
Once upon a time, the Bentleys and Porsches of the world took creative risks. It’s what made the giants of automotive design giants in the first place. And it’s not like there’s no precedent for a unique body in the sport-utility realm — the reason Land Rovers and Jeep Wranglers are so iconic is because their curves have hardly changed over the decades.
Make no mistake: we'd drive the sh*t out of the Bentayga and enjoy doing it.
We're just not sure we'd recognize it from more than 50 paces.