RE: Bentley Bentayga Speed | Driven

RE: Bentley Bentayga Speed | Driven

Thursday 30th May

Bentley Bentayga Speed | Driven

The new Speed variant of Bentley's heavyweight SUV gets 635hp - and a £30k premium



It never makes sense. Not even when the enormous carbon ceramic brakes haul you down to speed after you've all but out-braked yourself, or when the car rotates on the way into a corner with the rear end sweeping around gently, or when the four-wheel drive system overloads the rear axle away from the apex and the car powerslides fractionally through the exit. Even in light of all that, driving a Bentley Bentayga Speed on a race track always feels completely brainless. It's indescribably dumb.

On Anglesey circuit - for me the UK's prettiest race track - the baddest Bentayga actually feels quite game. It weighs about as much as the mountains you glimpse across the way in Snowdonia as you come through the cresting right hander at Peel. And it's just about as tall, too. But the brakes are phenomenal, the steering is remarkably accurate (which means you can position the car exactly where you want it), there's decent turn-in grip, a definite agility as the car pivots into the bend, enough roll control that you never fear you'll be deposited out of a window and, when you get back on the power, bundles of traction and a frankly ludicrous amount of torque.

There are hot hatches that feel more flat-footed on circuit than this. In fact, the Bentley handles on track very much like a tall and opulent four-wheel drive hot hatchback, like an Audi RS3 on PEDs. But it's ultimately limited by its Pirelli P Zero tyres, because they can only contain such elemental forces to a point before they let go and howl in pain. To make the Bentayga Speed any more eager on circuit you'd have to swap those Pirellis for something far more track-focused, and that would be too stupid for words.


I haven't driven this new model on the road but I can confidently say it'll be no less comfortable or cosseting on the highway than the existing Bentayga W12, despite its newfound keenness on circuit. That's because Bentley has only made any changes to the chassis in the Sport driving mode (the damping in that setting has been firmed up by as much as 15 per cent in bump and rebound for tauter control) and the active anti-roll bar system, which has been reconfigured to keep the body as level as possible. Everything else is the same, so in theory the Bentayga Speed should ride and handle exactly like the Bentayga W12 in any other driving mode.

I believe it, too, because I've tried the Speed on circuit in Comfort, and the difference in that mode compared to Sport is vast. It feels less like a different setting and more like a different car altogether (that sort of distinction between the modes is exactly what can be achieved with very high-volume three-chamber air springs and the 48-volt anti-roll bar decoupling system that its maker calls Bentley Dynamic Ride).

This new model exists for a couple of reasons. The first is that Bentley recognises the need to introduce new derivatives as often as it can to keep its various models in the headlines. Most manufacturers do this because if they didn't, the market would very quickly forget about their cars altogether. We're easily distracted, and we need to be reminded. The second reason is that following the launch of the Bentayga V8 - which from the W12's point of view was actually too good, with its far lighter powertrain and still very potent 550hp engine - the range-topping model was made to look a little foolish. By moving the W12 up market, giving it more power and inflating the asking price, Bentley should be able to put some clear air between it and the V8. To give it a purpose again. Here in the UK, the Bentayga Speed replaces the Bentayga W12; they will not coexist.


Apart from those subtle but effective chassis tweaks, the Speed also gets an additional 30hp, lifting peak output to 635hp, while its unchanged 664lb ft of torque is available across a wider rev band than before. That uplift in power now means that with a top speed of 190mph, the Bentayga reclaims its title of world's fastest SUV from the Lamborghini Urus (by 0.5mph).

There's also some new Alcantara interior trim and a unique bodykit as well, which incorporates what must be the biggest rear spoiler ever fitted to a road-bound Bentley. The vast carbon ceramic brakes are optional and cost close to £12,000. The asking price is £182,200, some £30,000 more than the previous Bentayga W12 and £52,000 more than you'll pay for a Bentayga V8.

In fact, there is a third reason this car exists. Without it, the small number of buyers who wouldn't dare be seen driving a measly eight-cylinder car, or one that costs less than 150 grand, might go elsewhere. And hooray for them, because without those folk Bentley would simply cull its twin-turbocharged W12 powerhouse altogether, and that really would be a pity. It isn't just poo-yourself strong, but characterful too. The car as a whole is characterful, in fact. If you're in desperate need of a huge SUV that'll keep pace with most supercars, look no further. Just don't do trackdays in it.


SPECIFICATION - BENTLEY BENTAYGA SPEED
Engine:
5,950cc, W12, twin-turbo
Transmission: 8-speed auto, all-wheel drive
Power 635hp @ 5,000rpm
Torque 664lb ft @ 1,500-5,000rpm
0-62mph 3.9 secs
Top speed 190mph
Weight 2,491kg
MPG 17.9
CO2 308g/km
Price £182,200












Author
Discussion

yellowstreak

Original Poster:

478 posts

94 months

Wednesday 29th May
quotequote all
Impressive. Most impressive.

I'm resisting the urge to cast aspersions on the buyers of these because if I could, then I certainly would, but boy that interior is absolutely gopping.

sidesauce

926 posts

160 months

Wednesday 29th May
quotequote all
An outrageously ludicrous car. But my word, I suspect it's rather a lot fun and even I, as a staunch SUV non-convert, might have a giggle driving.

dunnoreally

290 posts

50 months

Wednesday 29th May
quotequote all
I get it. Not for me, but I get it.

On a sidenote, how long do we reckon it'll be before that W12's in a Urus?

iphonedyou

7,496 posts

99 months

Wednesday 29th May
quotequote all
3.9s 0 - 60 in something big - must be hilarious fun!

BluePurpleRed

1,094 posts

168 months

Wednesday 29th May
quotequote all
Red corduroy, how "country set moved to Fulham"

Have to like that this sort of thing still exists.
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JohnCarlisleApeiron

17 posts

8 months

Wednesday 29th May
quotequote all
Interior inspired by Cameo's codpiece. Bloody hell!

je777

254 posts

46 months

Wednesday 29th May
quotequote all
Nice 635bhp Bentley van-with-windows you have there.


C.A.R.

3,517 posts

130 months

Wednesday 29th May
quotequote all
That old adage "You can sleep in your car but you can't race your house"

This Bentley is breaking the rules. It is a house. A fast house.


je777

254 posts

46 months

Wednesday 29th May
quotequote all
Or: Nice Volkswagen van-with-windows with Bentley front stuck on it you have there.

Esceptico

1,703 posts

51 months

Wednesday 29th May
quotequote all
I am not really a fan of SUVs, particularly how they look yet the Bentayga seems to me to be unnecessarily ugly, even by SUV standards.

I think it is fitting that this version will be pretty much indistinguishable to drive compared to the 8 cylinder model and that its raison d'etre is solely to show "i've got more money than yooouu".

Pica-Pica

5,082 posts

26 months

Wednesday 29th May
quotequote all
Take the badge off, and from the rear three-quarter view it looks like a VW. Which is not surprising.

AmosMoses

3,236 posts

107 months

Wednesday 29th May
quotequote all
Love the we house interior!

dibblecorse

4,826 posts

134 months

Wednesday 29th May
quotequote all
That colour is stunning, that interior is awful, as bad as the all red offerings that Porsche put in a number of Boxsters ......

I love the bonkers nature and applaud the audacity to build it ,,,

Greg the Fish

543 posts

8 months

Wednesday 29th May
quotequote all
One hundred and eighty-two grand......................for something that bloody hideous.

The world has gone mad.

Jex

505 posts

70 months

Wednesday 29th May
quotequote all
Can it be classified as the fastest drawing room in the world?

snake_oil

1,563 posts

17 months

Wednesday 29th May
quotequote all
Are the pics all of the same car?

Orange with red velour?!

Also this has to be the ugliest SUV on the road. Just fix all the lights and it could be quite good in that vulgar oversized way.

Andy20vt

831 posts

128 months

Wednesday 29th May
quotequote all
All that interior needs is a greased up pole and 'Bob's your Uncle'. Pulling up in one of these will make the peasants in their budget RR Sports feel lower than a corgi's wadger!

Mr-B

2,009 posts

136 months

Wednesday 29th May
quotequote all
Bonkers!

Awful exterior colour, but the "period" interior is worse. Gash.

ntiz

691 posts

78 months

Wednesday 29th May
quotequote all
Other than the way it looks this thing sounds fantastic as a do it all car.

Would love to have one for going on holiday across Europe with the family.

Taaaaang

4,355 posts

128 months

Wednesday 29th May
quotequote all
I've just swapped my 458 for a V8 Bentayga.

It's an incredible machine and I haven't regretted it for one second.

I think it's handsome too...