2021 Bentley Bentayga Speed review: Absolute power

The redesigned Bentayga isn’t pretty yet, but it looks a lot better than before.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

With its 3.8 seconds from 0 to 60mph, a top speed of 190mph and a price tag of $ 247,725, the Bentayga Speed ​​is the fastest and most expensive version of Bentley’s best-seller. For this reason, Bentley calls the Speed ​​”the pinnacle” of its Bentayga range. Myself? I’m not so sure.

Like it

  • Extremely fast and fast
  • Soft ride quality
  • Significantly improved cab technology

I do not like

  • More functions should be standard
  • The W12 engine is thirsty
  • Super expensive

Make no mistake, the Speed’s specs are dynamite: its 6.0-liter W12 twin-turbo engine delivers 626 horsepower and 664 Nm of torque, and full thrust at low revs is available from 1,500 rpm. The back lowers, the bow lifts gracefully and before you know it, boom, warp speed. There is no brutality buffered by a freight train at the launch of the Bentayga Speed. It’s all in one working day for this super SUV. And since the Bentayga W12 is no longer part of the range, speed is the only way to get 12-cylinder power in a Bentley SUV.

This effortless acceleration is extremely on the mark for a Bentley, but I really wish there was more visceral drama. Press the accelerator in a V8-powered Bentayga and get a roar as the SUV quickly picks up speed. The W12, on the other hand, sounds like what it is: two snoozy V6 engines squashed together. The Bentayga Speed ​​needs some auditory punch to sustain those fast and crazy throws.

On the road, the Bentayga’s handling is best described as graceful. The steering is on the lighter side and the body tilts smoothly when turning. The eight-speed automatic transmission imperceptibly does its business in the background, even if a pair of unsatisfactory gear levers to use are at hand. Large 15.7-inch and 15.0-inch steel front brakes adequately bring the 5,529-pound Bentayga to a halt without any drama. And if those somehow aren’t enough, Bentley offers huge 17.3-inch front and 14.6-inch rear carbon-ceramic brakes if exceptional stopping force is something you imagine you need on a regular basis.

All in all, the Speed ​​never forgets that its primary mission is to pamper comfortably. Its standard self-leveling air suspension and adaptive shock absorbers constantly make adjustments to quell unwanted harshness, 22-inch wheels that glide over variable road surfaces. The big Bentayga is a pretty nimble thing, despite its size and weight, although if the winding roads are part of your normal route, definitely take the Bentley Dynamic Ride 48-volt anti-roll bars, which keep this big boy flat like a pancakes in the corners.

There aren’t many 12-cylinder cars left these days.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

Yet despite its fast nomenclature, the Speed ​​isn’t the most athletic Bentayga. Yes, there’s a great deal of joy that comes from lying on the accelerator and lunging forward, but there’s not a single time I wouldn’t prefer to ride the lightest, most agile Bentayga V8. In fact, the recently announced Bentayga S it looks absolutely the best option, since it has 15% stiffer dampers and the aforementioned 48-volt anti-roll technology is standard. The S also has a standard free-flowing sports exhaust which, combined with the burly V8, should create a hellish soundtrack.

Plus, no matter what’s under the hood, the Bentayga offers exceptional accommodations. From the basic V8 to the plug-in hybrid to the top of the range Speed, all Bentaygas can be optioned to your liking, with impeccable attention to detail and an overall aroma of opulence, Bentley hallmarks. For 2021, the Bentayga is available with some new features, including a 3D leather design on the doors and a new diamond-quilted pattern on the seats. There are a million and one ways to specify the Bentayga of your dreams, and please promise me you’ll do something more interesting than the painfully boring and predictable red and black color scheme pictured here.

Rear seat passengers have 4 inches more legroom than older Bentaygas and there’s a detachable tablet on the rear of the center console with climate and infotainment controls. Behind the rear bench you’ll find 17.1 cubic feet of cargo space, which isn’t a ton, but thankfully the cargo opening is wide and low, thanks in large part to a new clamshell hatch design that looks great, especially with 2021 Bentayga’s new oval taillights.

Improved cabin technology makes the Bentayga imminently more livable.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

Speaking of imagination, take a look at the Bentayga’s new cabin technology. The 10.9-inch touchscreen runs a revamped version of Audi’s MIB3 software, complete with wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto. This infotainment interface is super easy to use, with colorful graphics and quick responses to inputs. The Bentayga also has an all-digital cluster of gauges, although it’s not quite as flashy as Audi’s Virtual Cockpit.

Bentley offers many driver assistance technologies, although it continues to baffle me that many of these features are not standard. You have to add the $ 8,555 Touring specification to get things like adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, and lane keeping assistance. It doesn’t matter that some of these things come standard on a Honda Civic.

On this note, it’s alarming how many niceties cost more on a nearly $ 250,000 SUV. The company’s fantastic Naim stereo, a key part of the Bentley experience, is optional. So are things like tinted rear glass, a hands-free tailgate and ambient interior lighting. Bentley should just make all of these things standard and charge an extra $ 15,000 at the lower end – I promise $ 15,000 is a drop in the bucket for anyone comfortable with paying $ 25,000 for a car.

The larger rear spoiler is a hallmark of speed.

Steven Ewing / Roadshow

I would also be remiss not to mention that while Bentayga Speed ​​is a total powerhouse, it’s not the only game in town. The Porsche Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid it is faster and more powerful and offers usable electric range thanks to its plug-in powertrain. The Cayenne also costs around $ 80,000 less. Of course, a Porsche is not a Bentley; that Flying B badge is worth its weight in gold.

The Bentayga Speed ​​is an exquisite car and few other SUVs can touch its level of luxury. But while it sits at the top of the hierarchy in terms of power, price and prestige, it’s hardly the best Bentayga. Make me an S on the Naim stereo, please.