BENTLEY has detailed the newest version of its flagship Bentayga, the Speed, a 2.5-tonne premium SUV that can out-drag most sportscars and give a lot of supercar drivers something to worry about.
Darting from 0-100km/h in 3.9 seconds and wafting its way onto a top speed of 306km/h, the new Bentayga Speed is powered by the same twin-turbo 6.0-litre W12 petrol engine as the last model, good for 467kW of power and 900Nm of torque – 20kW more than the standard Bentayga W12.
As ever for a Bentley, all that grunt is sent to all-four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission.
To harness all of this grunt, the Speed is fitted with four driver modes – Comfort, Sport, Bentley and Custom – with Sport mode being recalibrated compared to the standard Bentaygas to provide better throttle and transmission response while also firming up the adaptive air suspension and Bentley Dynamic Ride system.
Other dynamic tweaks include the recalibration of the Speed’s torque-vectoring system to be more aggressive and enhance turn-in from the front axle when entering corners.
To help haul the big SUV up, Bentely’s most powerful carbon ceramic brakes are available as an optional extra which not only add stopping power, but also save 20kg over the standard steel brake setup.
The new Speed has been treated to the same stylistic and tech upgrades as the rest of the Bentayga range for 2021 but maintains its sportier disposition through darkened headlights, body-coloured side skirts, unique front and rear bumpers and a bigger, more aggressive rear spoiler exclusive to the flagship nameplate.
Other purposeful styling cues include dark-tint radiator and bumper grilles, unique 22-inch alloy wheels, Speed signature badging, oval exhaust tips and darkened tail-lights to complement the darkened look at the front.
For those wanting even more menacing looks, the ‘Black Specification’ replaces all chrome exterior trim pieces, bright detailing and select body features with gloss black or carbon-fibre versions, including the front splitter and rear diffuser.
Inside, the Speed brandishes its own unique ‘colour split’ interior (contrasting colours) and introduces Alcantara into the mix, which is used on the seat cushions and backrest centre panels, gear lever, steering wheel, lower knee trim areas, upper pillar trim and headliner.
A leather option is also available however both upholsteries come with Speed embroideries on all of the backrests while the interior stitching itself is a unique contrasting design exclusive to the Speed.
As with the rest of the range, the Bentayga Speed has been gifted a heavily reworked dashboard centre fascia and also scores the new-generation 10.9-inch touchscreen infotainment system paired to a 12-speaker 590W sound system.
Fittingly for what is sure to be a $430,000+ luxury vehicle, the system features wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, advanced satellite-navigation with real-time traffic information, 3D maps and remote connected services, many functions of which can be shown via the standard head-up display.
The instrument cluster is the same all-digital affair as seen in the Continental GT and Flying Spur with an array of customisation features and functions.
While perfectly blending performance and luxury is undoubtedly the Bentayga Speed’s main game, efficiency has also been given a priority and as such the big W12 can shut down up to half of its cylinders while cruising, alternating between banks to prevent catalytic converter cool down and subsequent exhaust emission spikes.
The other key efficiency-minded feature fitted is the ‘sail’ function which disconnects the car’s torque converter when the driver lifts off the throttle in fifth, sixth, seventh or eighth gear allowing the Bentayga to roll effectively in neutral with no engine braking.
The transmission is then reconnected when the throttle is reapplied or when going downhill and an increase in speed is detected.
According to Bentley chairman and chief executive Adrian Hallmark, the standard Bentayga had already raised the luxury SUV benchmark with the Speed now taking things even further.
“The new Bentayga has already raised the benchmark for luxury SUVs, against which all others are measured,” he said.
“Ahead of the launch of the new Bentayga Hybrid – the world’s only definitive luxury hybrid – in the coming months, it’s important that we still recognise the customer desire for absolute performance.
“The new Bentayga Speed remains the fastest SUV in the world, but more that, it’s also the most luxurious version of the new Bentayga – the best of both worlds, the pinnacle.”
So far this year ending July, Bentley has sold 32 Bentaygas nationally, marking a 22 per cent drop in sales compared to the same period last year with the current figure accounting for 1.9 per cent of the $100,000+ upper large SUV segment.