We sampled the Bentayga V8, with a 4.0-liter twin-turbo engine producing 542 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of torque. This powertrain is also used in several Audi and Porsche models, but it receives unique tuning by Bentley. The eight-speed automatic delivers smooth shifts but can also rapid-fire gear changes using the paddle shifters. At 4.4 seconds to 60 mph, the Bentayga feels swift but in a smooth and dignified sort of way.
We were less impressed with the speed and more delighted by the elegant approach. Even at the car’s 180 mph top speed, the cabin protects its occupants from the outside world. The adaptive Bentley Dynamic Ride suspension uses the engine’s 48-volt mild hybrid system to iron out road imperfections while keeping the Bentayga flat and level through the corners.
For the speed freaks out there, a Bentayga Speed is also available with a 6.0-liter W12 generating 626 hp and 664 lb-ft of torque. We loved the twelve-cylinder in the Flying Spur, and here it drops the 0-60 mph time to 3.9 seconds and ups the top speed to 190 mph. A Bentayga Hybrid model will arrive later this year with a 3.0-liter V6 combining an electric motor to produce 442 hp and 516 lb-ft. This model sounds intriguing with a 31-mile EV range, but since the Bentayga is all about opulence, we suggest the W12.