2021 Bentley Bentayga S brings handling focus to luxury SUV

Bentley claims to have brought “extra sporting agility to the Bentayga family” with the introduction of a stiffer, more responsive and aggressively styled S variant.

Priced from £179,600, the Bentayga S has arrived as the fourth model in the luxury SUV’s updated line-up, joining the plug-in hybrid, the standard V8 and the W12-powered Speed.

The S is marked out from the rest of the range by its unique 22in wheels, bespoke badging and standard-fit Blackline design package. It also gains a larger rear spoiler, black lower-body panels, tinted light clusters and black oval exits for its louder sports exhaust.

Alcantara is used on the seats, gear selector, steering wheel, headlining and other trim elements for a “performance-focused” ambiance, and the seats themselves are available in a cleaner, ‘fluted’ pattern. The Bentayga S can be specified with four, five or seven seats.

More important are the revisions to the SUV’s chassis, which promise “an even more engaging drive” than existing iterations of the Range Rover rival. 

The dampers have been firmed up by 15% for reduced body roll in Sport driving mode, while the torque-vectoring system has been recalibrated to offer enhanced responsiveness.

The Bentayga S also gets Bentley’s Dynamic Ride system as standard, bringing 48V active roll control hardware that’s said to react within 0.3sec – and with up to 885lb ft of torque – to rolling under hard cornering.

Power comes from the same 542bhp 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged petrol V8 as the standard Bentayga, with the S claiming a 0-62mph time of 4.5sec and a top speed of 180mph. That’s just 0.6sec and 10mph shy of the 6.0-litre W12-powered Bentayga Speed, which Bentley claimes is the world’s fastest SUV.