Despite its considerable girth, the Bentley Bentayga will go racing

The Bentley Bentayga is a fine vehicle, but no one would ever mistake this hulking luxury SUV for a race car. So when a Bentayga races in the legendary Pikes Peak International Hill Climb June 24, it should make for one of the most entertaining motor-sport spectacles of the year.

First run in 1916, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is one of the oldest races in the United States. Vehicles climb a 12.4-mile course to the top of Colorado’s Pikes Peak, which sits 14,000 feet above sea level. The air near the summit is so thin that internal-combustion engines have trouble developing full power, and competitors must negotiate 156 turns on their way to the top.

Bentley will race a Bentayga powered by the 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged W12 engine, rather than the less powerful V8 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 (Bentley also sells a diesel version in Europe). The W12 makes 600 horsepower and 663 pound-feet of torque, enough to propel a stock Bentayga from 0 to 60 mph in 4.0 seconds, and a top speed of 187 mph. Not bad for something that weighs more than two tons.

For added safety, the SUV was equipped with a roll cage, fire-suppression system, and racing seat. Bentley also swapped in a new Akrapovic exhaust system and Pirelli tires in place of the stock pieces. The automaker said about 300 kilograms (661 pounds) of interior trim had to be removed because of race rules, but that weight loss should also help the Bentayga’s performance. But since Bentley is aiming for the production SUV record, as many stock components as possible needed to be retained.

The Bentayga will race with its stock active anti-roll system, which uses electric power to adjust the stiffness of the anti-roll bars on the fly. It will be interesting to see how this system performs under racing conditions. To help its SUV stand out on the course, Bentley gave it greenish yellow “Radium Satin” paint and a carbon fiber body kit.

New Zealand native Rhys Millen will pilot the Bentayga. Millen is no stranger to Pikes Peak, having won the race in 2012 and 2015. His father, Rod Millen, racked up five Pikes Peak wins over the course of his career.

Bentley hopes to set a record for SUVs at Pikes Peak. The previous record for a production-model SUV was set in 2013 by a Land Rover Range Rover Sport, which clocked an impressive 12:35.61. Note that a prototype Faraday Future FF 91 completed the course in 11:25.083 last year. But the FF 91 hasn’t gone into production yet (and it might not go into production at all). A 2019 Acura RDX will also race at Pikes Peak this year, and could give the Bentayga a run for its money.

While Bentley aims for the SUV record, parent Volkswagen will try to set a new record for electric cars with a purpose-built racer. Called the I.D. R, it can accelerate from zero to 62 mph quicker than a Formula One car. Because it’s electric, the I.D. R also won’t be affected by the thin air on Pikes Peak. This should be interesting.

Updated on June 19 to include new photos and details on the Bentayga racer.

Product Review

The Ferrari Portofino is the super stallion you’ll want to drive every day

With the introduction of the Portofino, Ferrari addresses the California T’s stylistic shortcomings while improving comfort, convenience, and performance. There’s little “entry-level” about this super stallion.
Cars

The 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an exercise in form-over-function design

Porsche expanded its lineup of SUVs with a swoopier evolution of the Cayenne named Cayenne Coupe. Don't let the name fool you: it still has four doors. It stands out with a fastback-like roofline that's lower than the Cayenne's.
Product Review

Who needs a Range Rover? BMW’s X7 has better tech and just as much luxury

The 2019 BMW X7 is the German automaker’s long-overdue entry into the full-size luxury SUV segment. Packing three rows of seats and plenty of tech, can the new BMW take on Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover?
Cars

Bentley’s 542-horsepower Continental GT V8 is the best kind of downsizing

The Bentley Continental GT V8 has fewer cylinders than its W12 sibling, but Bentley expects it to offer better gas mileage and more agile handling. The V8's top speed of 198 mph is also pretty darn fast.
Cars

Autonomous shuttle rides coming to New York City via Optimus Ride

Workers at the Brooklyn Navy Yard in NY City will soon be able to make their way around the 300-acre industrial park in Optimus Ride's self-driving shuttles. The tech startup says it's the first trial of its kind in the state.
Cars

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi group uses Microsoft cloud platform for connected cars

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is launching a new cloud platform for its cars. Based on Microsoft Azure, the Alliance Intelligent Cloud will enable features like connected services and over-the-air updates.
Product Review

2019 Volkswagen Jetta offers German refinement and tech at an affordable price

With enough tech to make villains jealous, the Volkswagen Jetta punches above its class as a forward-thinking sedan. Spacious, comfortable, and efficient, the Jetta is a refined offering. German refinement comes with a serious attitude.
Cars

The 2019 Toyota C-HR gains a popular tech feature as its price comes down

Toyota has updated the C-HR, its entry-level crossover, by adding an entry-level trim level to the lineup. Every model regardless of price also comes standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen compatible with Apple CarPlay.
Product Review

Chris is the virtual co-pilot phone-obsessives need in their car

Driving while using your phone is dangerous, and often illegal. Meet Chris, the digital assistant for your car that wants to help keep your hands off your phone, and your eyes on the road.
Cars

Protect yourself and your ride with our favorite dash cams

Dashboard cameras can assist drivers in car accident claims, settle speeding ticket disputes, and even catch glimpses of incoming meteors, among other things. Here, we've compiled a list of the most noteworthy offerings available.
Cars

Tesla revives its referral program with chances to win a Roadster

Tesla has revived its referral program that ended in February because of cost pressures. This time around the perks aren't quite as diverse, though it does offer regular chances to win a Roadster or Model Y.
Cars

Tesla ends scheduled servicing because electric cars need less maintenance

Tesla will longer offer scheduled maintenance plans, switching to an "as needed" model. This reflects the fact that electric cars need less regular maintenance than gasoline or diesel cars.
Cars

The go kart-like Mini Cooper will soon add zero emissions to its resume

Mini is in the final stages of developing an electric version of the Cooper. The 2020 Cooper SE will receive powertrain components from the BMW i3, including a 181-horsepower electric motor and battery technology.
Cars

Formula 1 is putting data in the driver’s seat, and not all racers are happy

After a single weekend of racing, a Formula 1 pit crew typically pulls around 2TB of data from the car. Everything, from tire pressure to the temperature of the track, is recorded and analyzed in the name of boosting performance -- and not…