BIG, bold and braving new territory for Bentley, the Bentayga is the fastest, most powerful and most luxurious SUV money can buy.

With an eye-watering price tag, it is packed with exquisite detailing that lifts it above the rest of the SUV crowd, plus technology that helps it drive incredibly well.

At more than five metres long, two metres wide and weighing in at 2.5 tonnes, it is carried along effortlessly by a new 6.0-litre W12 engine.

There’s also a diesel version - the first diesel model in Bentley’s history. New clean technology gives the Bentayga Diesel the lowest CO2 emissions of any Bentley, as well as a range of more than 621 miles.

But here we are focusing on the petrol unit, which utilises two banks of six cylinders diagonally interlaced provide 600bhp courtesy of two twin-scroll turbochargers.

It's a Bentley in every way. If you like the idea of a luxury SUV, there's nothing more appealing in the world.

Designed, engineered and handcrafted in Crewe, the Bentayga’s styling is pure Bentley. Sculptural with an elegant, timeless execution, it perfectly balances athleticism with confidence. From the four round LED headlamps and large matrix grille, to the distinctive power line and muscular haunches, the Bentley DNA is apparent throughout.

A big boot and useful cabin storage combine to make good on the Bentayga's promise of space. The boot lip is high but you can customise it with a practical fold-down ledge for sitting on. Beyond that is a capacious boot, three rear seats with loads of legroom and the back half of four-zone climate control.

The 12 cylinders deliver near-instant, crushing, relentless torque that's seamlessly delivered to the road via four independently electrically-controlled wheels of up to 22 inches across.

It's also breathtakingly quick, sprinting from 0 to 60mph in only four seconds. You can't completely escape 2.5 tonnes but the Bentayga stays implausibly flat through corners thanks to a 48-volt electrical system that tweaks the ever-plush suspension while you drive.

And that seductive Bentley whoosh is on hand whenever you need to get somewhere in a hurry.

An all-new chassis system also allows the Bentayga to take luxury to new places, with dedicated off-road modes for snow, sand, grass and trails.

Carrying indecent speed through corners without body roll is the big Bentley's party piece, but the rest of the package is sublime. The multi-way adjustable seats are both exquisite and comfortable, the driving position is perfect and even the sat-navigation interface is a doddle to use.

The audio system is probably the best I have ever heard in a car

It's also so quiet that you might think you have lost the use of your hearing. In traffic you'd think it was electric, and even at 70mph and 1,500rpm in the eighth of the buttery-smooth gearbox's ratios it's nothing less than a magic carpet ride.

The starting price of £162,700 is way above that of a Range Rover - which in its most luxurious trim level and with its most powerful engine is its obvious rival.

Whether you shell out the extra thousands will depend on how much you want that exclusivity, that badge and the mind-boggling attention to detail on offer here. Mind you, even those with huge wallets might balk at the £2,995 price tag on the optional extra Breitling clock with mother of pearl face. But price issues aside, there's nothing that can touch its combination of qualities.

SUVs are so popular the world over, that it's surprising that it took Bentley so long to build a hyper-luxury one, its sector-defining fourth model line.

Those with the means will buy the Bentayga simply because it's the best.