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It seems even the wealthy can’t escape the sporty SUV trend. Until very recently, if you wanted a more sporting feel from the Bentley Bentayga, the Bentayga Speed was really your only option. Not that it was a bad one, mind you. A twin-turbo W12 is never a bad thing. Now, there are some slight tweaks to the Speed that deserve a new badge. Meet the Bentley Bentayga S.

Making changes

The rear of the Bentley Bentayga S in motion
2021 Bentayga S | Bentley

Now, if a sportier feel is what you’re after, the S is happy to oblige. Equipped with a twin-turbo V8 making a massive 542 hp and 568 lb-ft of torque, the Bentayga S still moves all four wheels through an eight-speed auto gearbox. It’s a pretty potent unit, and the transmission doesn’t make itself known unless you should so desire. So, effectively what we have here is a Bentayga Speed “lite”.

Though the British brand’s SUV is portly, with some units crossing the 5,000 pound mark, the V8 will save a little weight over the W12. Under most driving conditions, it’ll be hard to notice nearly 100 hp difference. However, there are some changes that will help liven the Bentley up under… less than ordinary driving conditions. Most of these changes are reflected in the chassis and suspension, and should help to keep the massive weight of the Bentayga under control.

Bentley speeds things up

The Bentley winged badge on the nose of one of their cars
The winged badge on the Bentayga | Harold Cunningham via Getty Images

The new Bentayga S gets some stiffer dampers to help in that regard. 15% stiffer, as a matter of fact, according to Bentley. Very unbecoming of a brand synonymous with luxury. Of course, luxury isn’t all the Crewe-based automaker can do. Several of their race cars have won events like Le Mans and Bathurst numerous times. According to the British Marque, the demand was there for a sportier feeling SUV.

That’s a strange thing to some, however. Why make a large, comfy, family-hauler with a truly mammoth curb weight into a sports car? Well, the market wants what the market wants. Apparently, the market also wants everyone to know they own the S version of the large SUV. Black badging and trim adorn the exterior as well as interior, and the exterior lights get a darker treatment too. Special 22-inch wheels aren’t just for tricked-out Escalades anymore, and Bentley has their choice on offer for the S as well.

Is the Bentayga S all you really need?

The interior of the Bentayga S in red and black leather
2021 Bentayga S | Bentley

While pricing for the new S trim hasn’t been announced yet, it can be expected to fall in under the W12-equipped Bentayga Speed, which would put it right around $200,000. A lot of money to be sure, and for it the Bentayga had better be good at everything. With suspension technology these days being as good as it is, it’s hard to imagine the big SUV won’t turn after Bentley is done with it. So, the new Bentayga S will shoot you down a road faster than most cars, do the grocery shopping, and coddle you in leather and alcantara. Not such a bad all-rounder, is it?


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