Why The Bentley Bentayga S Is A Standout Super SUV
Bentley’s opulent SUV justifies a six-figure price tag with artistically crafted interior that puts luxury competitors to shame.
Bentley says the 2022 Bentayga S is “designed to make heads turn and hearts skip a beat.” While it is hard to argue with the description, the English automaker did leave something behind. The new Bentayga S is also designed to deliver big numbers. It’s a $230,000, 180-mph sculpted egg of luxury, leather and cool tech. It also occasionally seems to throw the laws of physics out the window.
Here’s some thoughts on Bentley’s latest SUV based on a recent test drive:
Better Looking Than the Regular V8
The S model exists to bridge the gap between the base, V8-powered Bentayga and the sports oriented, W12-powered Bentayga Speed. So, what does the S bring over the “base” model? First of all, it has to look more aggressive and sportier. There are several design cues to distinguish the S from its sibling, including midnight black trims, smoked headlights and taillights. There are also the eye-catching 22-inch wheels and a rather large spoiler in the rear.
Looking slightly beneath the rear spoiler you quickly notice the S-specific tailpipes indicating the addition of the new, louder sport exhaust system. The rear spoiler is pleasantly integrated into the roof line.
All About Customization
Let’s not get carried away though. The Bentayga S is expensive and thus it must provide plenty to justify the asking price. You wouldn’t expect the interior to get any better than it was at launch, yet the 2021 refresh brought plenty of welcomed changes. It’s important to understand that, while it may share VW’s MLB platform, the 2022 Bentley Bentayga S does not share the same parts bin with the Audi or even Porsche. Once you climb inside the cabin, this SUV feels bespoke from every angle.
In the world of bespoke, customization to the likes of the buyer is the key to a happy transaction and Bentley plays the cards very well. Needless to say, you get a plethora of customization options on the Bentayga S. Skeptics would rise fast to argue that one could get the same performance from a five-digit MSRP Cayenne or Q8.
However, spend a few minutes inside the cabin and you will quickly understand why there’s an extra zero in the 2022 Bentayga S’s price tag. The interior is flush with quality leather and Alcantara. You get to choose from a wide palette of hides, wooden or metallic options to decorate anything from the dashboard to door trims. In other words, the interior smells, feels and looks like it’s built by expert craftsmen. It truly feels more like a piece of artwork than an engineering feat.
Technology-wise, the second-generation Bentayga brings a 10.9-inch touchscreen working on a perked-up version of Audi’s infotainment system. The back seats are treated to a pop-out tablet containing seat, lighting and climate controls. Depending on the configuration, the Bentayga S offers either a five-seat distribution or the roomier four-seat configuration featuring 2 independent rear seats divided by a center console.
The Ultimate Daily Driver?
Bentley says most of its Bentayga buyers are using the luxury SUV as a daily driver. We can’t argue the preference; driving a luxury SUV for a grocery run will surely turn some heads. To power the large beast, Bentayga S makes use of a 4.0-liter twin turbo V8 capable of 542 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque. It goes from zero to 60 mph in 3.6 seconds and passes the quarter mile mark at 113 mph and 12.1 seconds.
The S is focused on a sporty driving dynamic and you can tell by the deep exhaust note that sounds as soon as you hit the throttle; this is no ordinary Bentayga.
The eight-speed automatic gearbox funnels the power to a permanent AWD system, the suspension was revamped and upgraded to air cushioning plus continuous damping control technology. On the same note, the stability control system is now more lenient with sporty drivers while the brake-based torque vectoring lets the 5,324-pound beast corner graciously.
Bentley’s anti-roll system puts Rolls-Royce Cullinan and Mercedes-Maybach GLS rivals to shame. Acting as a large electrical torque bar, it lets the Bentayga coast through corners where other uber-luxury SUVs would require a brake pedal push beforehand.
The interior is an art statement that’s both comfortable and efficient, and the 4.0-liter V8 pulls and pushes the SUV around with surprising agility thanks to the torque vectoring and anti-roll systems. Depending on personalization choices, a fully equipped Bentayga S may set you back anywhere between $230,000 to $270,000, yet each penny spent is worth the British luxury experience.