The Bentley Bentayga S is a 290kph seven-seater

By topgear, 27 May 2021

Bentley will be a fully electric car company by the end of the decade. But for now, it’s doing what it’s traditionally done best: mighty, petrol-powered luxury cars, the latest of which is the Bentley Bentayga S.

It’s a new badge for the firm’s SUV range, joining a line-up that increasingly echoes that of the Continental GT coupe. It’s not the fastest nor most powerful Bentayga – those honours remain with the W12-engined, 306kph Bentayga Speed – but it may be the sportiest.

That’s because it uses the lighter 4.0-litre V8 turbo engine familiar from a wealth of really quite quick VW Group stuff – Audi RS6 included – here producing 542bhp and 770Nm peaks, good for a 290kph top speed and 0-100kph in 4.5secs. That’s half a second behind the Speed, but we frankly doubt you’ll either notice nor especially care in the real world.

Not least because the S gets a brand-new sports exhaust, a unique Sport tune for the suspension and a more easy-going ESP setting. Whether big luxo-SUV buyers strictly need malleable corning attitude we’re not sure, but nor are they likely to be craving the wealth of off-road modes that remain intact for the S.

Informing other road users of your Bentayga’s extra muscle is much black detailing, a new 22in alloy wheel design and a lot of S badges. Inside, Bentley appears to have utilised most of the Alcantra that Audi’s cast aside from the e-tron GT production line. How many rolls get used depends on whether you go for four, five or seven seats in your Bentyaga S.

Yep, this is one of the world’s very fastest family cars, going someway to justify its £179,600 (RM1 million) price tag before you’ve started colour sampling your pocket square or Googling rare wood grains you want lining the glove box.