The Bentley Bentayga set new standards for SUV opulence, but with other brands like rival Rolls-Royce launching ultra-luxury SUVs of their own, Bentley needed to up the ante. to that end, Bentley claims its new Bentayga Speed is the world’s fastest SUV, although it achieves that distinction by just a small margin.
Bentley claims the Bentayga Speed will do 190 mph, which is 3 mph faster than before and just 1 mph faster than the previous SUV speed champ, the Lamborghini Urus. The Bentayga and Urus actually share the same basic Volkswagen Group platform, as do the Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q8. Talk about sibling rivalry.
The Speed model also doesn’t offer a giant leap in performance over the existing Bentayga W12 model. The Speed uses the same 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged engine, but with an extra 26 horsepower for a total of 626 hp. Torque increases by just 1 pound-foot, to 664 lb-ft. The Speed will do zero to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, compared to 4.1 seconds for the standard W12 model, according to Bentley.
The Bentayga Speed retains the Bentley Dynamic Ride active-suspension system from other Bentayga models, which uses 48-volt electronics to actively counter body roll during cornering. The system has been retuned for the Speed model, according to Bentley, as have the driver-selectable sport mode and the exhaust note. The Bentayga Speed is also available with carbon-ceramic brakes, which offer greater stopping power and reduce weight, according to Bentley. Both are important considerations for a heavy SUV like the Bentayga.
Styling changes are subtle. The Speed features more body-color exterior trim than other Bentayga models, a larger tailgate spoiler, dark-tinted grilles, and model-specific 22-inch wheels. The interior is trimmed in Alcantara, the suede-like material that has been a staple of performance cars for years, but has never been offered in Bentley’s SUV before. Tradition-minded buyers can opt for leather instead at no extra charge.
Bentley has been using the Speed designation to denote sportier versions of its cars since the first Continental GT Speed debuted in 2007. A lightly modified Bentayga set a record for production SUVs at the 2018 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb; launching the Bentayga Speed now allows Bentley to capitalize on that record and keep up with its rivals.
The Bentley Bentayga Speed makes its public debut at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show in March, and goes on sale later this year. Bentley is celebrating its centennial this year, and will mark the occasion with a special-edition model debuting alongside the Bentayga Speed in Geneva.