Bentley maintenance: cost, plans and service schedule

Basic maintenance costs a lot, but the first year is free

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    white Bentley in the shop

    Modern Bentley is like a hybrid of its parents.

    It was owned by Rolls-Royce for nearly 70 years, during which time it learned the art of soft suspension and silky-smooth transmissions. But in 1998, Volkswagen Group purchased it and injected some much-needed excitement into the brand.

    That’s how we ended up with a car like the Bentayga, a penthouse on wheels that can do zero to 60 in 3.6 seconds.

    But despite the brand’s jack-of-all-trades appeal, many exotic car shoppers shy away from the brand due to its long-standing reputation for high ownership costs. Is the reputation still warranted? How much do Bentleys cost to maintain compared with a Ferrari, Aston Martin or Mercedes? And which are the most (and least) reliable Bentleys, according to our local service advisor?

    Read on to find out.

    Key insights

    Bentleys are very expensive to maintain. While the first-year service is free at most Bentley dealers, years two and three cost around $2,685 and $4,385, respectively.

    Jump to insight

    Thankfully, modern Bentleys are far more reliable than they’ve been in the past. They only tend to exhibit major issues if they’re being “underdriven,” as in, not driven at least twice a month to charge the battery and let gas and oil into the engine.

    Jump to insight

    Due to a general lack of data, it’s hard to estimate the average repair cost for a Bentley. But the cost of parts alone would imply that Bentley repairs cost about twice those of a top-end BMW or Mercedes-Benz.

    Jump to insight

    Considering the short factory warranty (three years/unlimited miles) and the high cost of repairs, an extended warranty on a Bentley might be a good idea. CPO Bentleys come with one extra year of coverage, and beyond that, Bentley charges about $5,500 per year of coverage.

    Jump to insight

    Are Bentleys expensive to maintain?

    Yes, Bentleys are expensive to maintain.

    Maintaining a Bentley costs about four times as much as the average cost of maintaining a normal car ($500 to $900 per year). The service manager at our local Bentley dealer quoted us $1,785 for a first-year service, $2,685 for year two and $4,385 for year three.

    “If you have a V12 Bentley instead of a V8, each of those prices goes up about 25% to account for the extra oil and spark plugs,” he said.

    That also doesn’t include the cost of tires every 30,000 miles, which cost $800 each.

    The good news is that your first-year maintenance visit is usually complimentary at most Bentley dealerships. “As long as you bring me your car within 16 months or 11,000 miles from new, that first visit is free,” the service manager said. So there’s $1,785 in savings right there.

    Bentley maintenance cost and schedule

    Here’s everything included in each service visit, sourced directly from Bentley. We’ve also included the quotes we received from our local Bentley service tech.

    How Bentley compares with other automakers

    Bentley offers year-one maintenance for free, but years two and three skyrocket to $2,685 and $4,385, respectively. That means you’ll spend an average of $2,350 per year across your first three years of ownership.

    That’s a pretty typical figure for an exotic/ultraluxury brand. Aston Martins cost almost exactly the same dollar amount to maintain, despite not offering first-year maintenance for free. High-end Mercedes-AMG models like the S 63 and GT also cost around the same in annual maintenance costs.

    Range-topping BMW M models like the M8 are a little cheaper to own than Bentleys, as are entry-level Lamborghini models like the Urus and the Huracán.

    But the cheapest exotic to maintain, by far, is a modern Ferrari. All new Ferraris sold since 2012 include seven years of free routine maintenance, and the benefit transfers to new owners if you buy pre-owned.

    So if you’re looking for an exotic grand touring car that won’t burn a hole in your savings each year, you might want to consider a Ferrari Roma in addition to a Bentley Continental.

    Of course, a $500 advantage in annual repair costs can vanish into insignificance if the car constantly needs $5,000-plus in repairs. So how reliable are modern Bentleys? And are there certain models you should avoid?

    Which Bentley models are the most/least reliable?

    To find out, we spoke to several Bentley service advisors working at multiple dealerships across the country. Without knowing it, they all tended to agree with each other.

    “There isn’t really one specific model causing problems,” said one. “The Bentayga, Flying Spur, Continental … they’re dependable vehicles as long as you keep up with routine maintenance.”

    That being said, they all mentioned one type of Bentley that was far more problematic than the rest.

    “The least reliable Bentley is the one that’s being underdriven,” said one.

    “People let these cars sit for weeks without a tender (a device that maintains battery charge) and then they develop all kinds of problems,” said another.

    While doing other research, we spoke to a service advisor from an Aston Martin dealer who told us something very similar. Letting these precision-engineered exotic cars sit for long periods of time can be extremely bad for them. If you don’t start them up at least once every two weeks, the batteries drain, while old gas and a lack of fluids can wreak havoc on both your mechanical systems and your software.

    That’s why purchasing a certified pre-owned (CPO) Bentley, or, at the very least, ordering a pre-purchase inspection, can be a wise choice. In either case, you’ll have added peace of mind that the vehicle isn’t hiding major issues as a result of being underdriven.

    Bentley repair costs

    If things do go wrong on your Bentley, how much will they cost to repair?

    Well, if the issues that arose were clearly factory defects, and not due to damage or abuse, they should be covered under warranty and the cost to you will be $0. All new Bentleys come with a three-year/unlimited-mile bumper-to-bumper factory warranty that follows the car, not the owner, so it will automatically transfer to you if you go the pre-owned route.

    Outside of warranty coverage, it’s hard to say. Modern Bentleys haven’t encountered enough post-warranty repairs yet for us to even ballpark what the typical cost of a repair might be.

    But if we look back at some legacy vehicles, namely older Continental GTs and Flying Spurs, we start to get an idea of how expensive long-term ownership can be.

    “It was continuously going to the shop simply due to age, I’d say.” said the owner of an early-generation Flying Spur on Reddit. “Things off the top of my head that I remember replacing in the last year of ownership were: wheel bearings, headliner, steering column motor, 02 sensors, transmission services, front bumper was very brittle due to age and would crack due to it.”

    Parts suppliers can give insight into the cost of repairing one brand versus another. Case in point, Vigor — a supplier that specializes in replacement suspension — lists the cost of air suspension repair for a BMW at $1,000 to $3,000. On a Bentley, it’s $3,000 to $7,000.

    It’s safe to say that Bentley repairs will cost significantly more than they would on a comparable mass-market vehicle like a BMW, Mercedes, or especially a Lexus or a Genesis. So if you plan to own your Bentley past year three, an extended warranty might be a good idea.

    » LEARN: What is a manufacturer’s warranty?

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    How can an extended warranty help?

    Extended warranties have pros and cons but in general they help cover the rising cost of car repairs as your vehicle ages out of its factory warranty. Even when you’re not in the process of filing a claim, simply having extended warranty protection in the background can provide peace of mind and a more relaxing car ownership experience.

    On a Bentley specifically, an extended warranty might make even more sense, considering how short the factory warranty is (three years) and how expensive the post-warranty repairs can be ($7,000 for air suspension, before labor).

    As for your options, all certified pre-owned Bentleys come with one additional year of bumper-to-bumper protection on top of whatever factory warranty remains. They also include an inspection and $15,000 of refurbishment, on average, which can massively reduce your need for repairs later.

    Beyond year four, you can continue extending your Bentley warranty coverage by 12 or 24 months at a time with the official Bentley extended warranty (only new and CPO Bentleys qualify for extended warranty protection).

    We were quoted $5,500 per year of coverage on a newer Continental GT, and the price should be similar on a Bentayga (maybe a bit more on a Flying Spur).

    The $5,500 may seem like a lot when you’re already spending about $2,500 on maintenance that year, but when you consider how much Bentley repairs can cost, it could be worth it for the peace of mind.

    Finally, while extended warranty companies typically don’t cover anything as exotic or expensive as a Bentley, they do often cover comparable vehicles from mass-market brands, such as a BMW M8 or a Mercedes-AMG S 63. So if you’re shopping for either, it might be worth getting a third-party quote and comparing it with the cost of a Bentley extended warranty.

    » FIND WARRANTY COMPANIES: Best Extended Car Warranty Companies

    » MORE: Car warranty vs. car insurance

    Article sources
    ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:
    1. Vigor Air Ride, “How Much Does Bentley Air Suspension Replacement Cost?” Accessed May 30, 2024.
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