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Azure way to well-being


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Bentley turned to science to make this Bentayga Extended Wheelbase variant even more comfortable

WE ALREADY KNOW that we spend an inordinate amount of time on the road, ensconced in our vehicles and suffering through gridlock, potholes, noise, and a wealth of stressors that drain us of our energy — sometimes even before a workday begins.

The uber-luxe marque is aware of this, stressed Bentley Manila, and added that the “relaxing and reenergizing environment of the Azure cabin reduces fatigue through multisensory and scientific design, and further helps to enhance the safety of the car.” The company points to studies showing that “tiredness” is a factor in up to 20% of all road crashes.

That’s exactly why a vehicle needs to be comfortable and promote the well-being of its occupants — beyond the bells and whistles of entertainment and tech accoutrements, and the undeniable value of a safety suite.

The Bentley Bentayga SUV, already in a rarified realm of its own and worthy of its storied badge, now comes out with an Azure variant of the EWB (extended wheelbase) prioritizing well-being “that enhances the comfort of its driver and passengers.” Bentley Manila made a further claim that “the Bentayga EWB Azure keeps its driver alert, but comfortable and rested in the cabin.”

The model has been “developed with the help of well-being experts and neuroscientists, (and is equipped with the) Touring Specification option of advanced driver assistance technologies for safer, more relaxing journeys. The stress-free interior ambience is enhanced by reduced levels of noise, vibration, and harshness.”

“It’s an entire derivative strategy that was launched by the brand — in areas that match different customer profiles,” said Bentley Motors Asia Pacific Head of Sales and Network Development Sam Bontoft, in an interview with this writer. There are two general directions: the other is the S, with features that bear the so-called Black Line specification. “That makes it look aggressive,” he maintained, and added that the focus is on driving enjoyment.

What’s the target customer profile of the Azure then?

“It’s a difficult question,” insists the Singapore-based executive, in town for the recent Philippine launch of the Bentayga EWB Azure. “We obviously look at the customers that we have on hand and, of course, we want to appeal to other customers as well — that’s why you get this diversified portfolio of derivatives. With the Azure range, we’re targeting people who are looking for well-being. They want to drive a car that suits their lifestyle. In the EWB, they’re looking for comfort. They want to benchmark features, whether it’s the cabin temperature, seat dynamics or what have you. We don’t target a specific age group or gender. It’s just a vibe that the customer has.”

Is the Bentayga EWB Azure meant for the driver or the chauffeured?

Mr. Bontoft remarked, “It’s interesting. Naturally, you’d think that it’s for the chauffeur-driven because it’s a bit longer with a bit more space at the back. And with the airline seats — you’d want to be in the back, right?

“But look at different markets, for example in the Philippines. I’d assume that the person who buys this car is probably going to be chauffeur-driven, right? But if you go to Australia, we still sell these cars to people who drive — and it’s their family at the back. It’s a mixed bag.”

The Bentayga EWB Azure gets 22-inch, 10-spoke directional wheels, a bright lower bumper grille, unique quilted seats, mood lighting, a heated steering wheel, and even more driver’s assistance aids. As with all Bentley Azure models, the Bentayga EWB receives the Front Seat Specification that includes 22-way adjustable seats for passengers, and heating and ventilation that are keenly tuned to give occupants “optimum temperature for comfort and alertness.”

Insisted Mr. Bontoft, “They’re the most advanced seats in a car thus far.” Further elevating the experience and comfort for passengers, sensors measure the body’s temperature and make micro adjustments in aide of blood flow.”

The Azure range itself introduces a concept to the automotive world,” reported Mr. Bontoft. “It prioritizes the comfort of everybody on board; Azure stands for more than just the specification of the car.”

As for the Bentley Bentayga Azure EWB, he stressed, “What we have is the best rear cabin experience that you can get in a Bentley since the Mulsanne. It’s actually quite impressive. More than 2,500 new parts went into the development of this car, with more than 2,000 hours of testing to achieve the final product.”

Among the new elements are vertical vanes in the front grille, new illumination, power-closing doors that can shut with the press of button from the inside, and all-wheel steering that reduces the turning circle by seven percent, compared to the regular Bentayga.

And since it’s a Bentley, the model lends itself to customization. “Customers have the opportunity to choose from 24 billion different trim combinations, with finer sewing threads creating Bentley’s softest quilt to date,” reported Bentley Manila.

The Bentayga continues to be the top-performing model for the Crewe, England-headquartered luxury automaker, accounting for 40% of sales.