2021 Bentley Bentayga Speed quick review

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While the 12-cylinder Bentayga Speed is a monstrous SUV, it lacks the drama of its less-powerful siblings.


The Bentayga Speed is Bentley's most expensive and fastest car, with a 0-to-60-mph time of 3.8 seconds, a top speed of 190 mph, and a price tag of $247,725 dollars. The Speed is considered by Bentley to be the "pinnacle" of its Bentayga lineup for this reason. Me? I'm not so sure.


There's no mistaking the Speed's specs. Its 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 engine generates 626 horsepower and 664 pounds-feet of torque, and all that torque is available as low as 1,500 rpm. When you see the rear end hunkering down, the prow gracefully lifting, and boom, warp speed. It doesn't feel like a freight train rear-ended the Bentayga Speed. This super-SUV sees it all as just another day's work. Because the 2021 Bentley Bentayga speed W12 is no longer available, you can only get 12-cylinder power in the Speed.


The effortless acceleration is extremely on-brand for a Bentley, but I wish there was more visceral drama. When you accelerate a V8-powered Bentayga, you hear a roaring roar as the SUV quickly gets up to speed. Compared to the W12, though, it just sounds like two noisy V6 engines muddled together. A powerful audio system is needed to support those crazy-quick launches from the Bentayga Speed.


In terms of handling, the Bentayga can be described as elegant. As the wheels turn, the steering is lighter and the body slightly leans. In the background, the eight-speed automatic transmission quietly goes about its business, but there are two unsatisfying paddle shifters near the steering wheel.


The large 15.7-inch front and 15.0-inch rear brakes adequately bring the 5,529-pound Bentayga to a halt without any drama. Furthermore, if you need more stopping power, 2021 Bentley Bentayga Speed offers extremely large 17.3-inch front and 14.6-inch rear carbon-ceramic brakes.


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All in all, the Speed never forgets its core mission: to comfort its passengers. With self-leveling air suspension and adaptive dampers, the 22-inch wheels glide smoothly over varying road surfaces. Even though the 2021 Bentley Bentayga speed is a big and heavy vehicle, it is fairly agile. If you regularly drive winding roads, however, you should seriously consider the 2021 Bentley Bentayga Speed Dynamic Ride 48-volt antiroll bars, which keep this big boy flat when he takes curves.


Although the Bentayga Speed boasts go-fast name, it's not the most athletic model. Although it is quite thrilling to press the throttle to rocket forward in a Bentayga, there is not a single time when I wouldn't prefer to be in the lighter, nimbler Bentley. As a matter of fact, the recently announced Bentayga S may be the way to go, since it offers 15% stiffer dampers, as well as the 48-volt antiroll technology. With the burly V8 and the free-flowing exhaust, the S should make quite a thunderous exhaust note.


Aside from that, the Bentayga offers outstanding accommodations, regardless of how it runs. From the base V8 to the plug-in hybrid to the top-shelf Speed, any 2021 Bentley Bentayga Speed can be customized to your heart's content, with exceptional attention to detail and an overall opulence that is a 2021 Bentley Bentayga Speed hallmark.


There is also a new diamond quilting pattern on the seats for 2021, along with the 3D leather design on the doors. The Bentayga can be customized in any number of ways dreams, and please, promise me you'll do something more interesting than the painfully dull and predictable red-and-black color scheme pictured here.


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There is an extra 4 inches of legroom in the back seat compared to older Bentaygas, and a removable tablet on the center console has climate and infotainment controls. 17.1 cubic feet of cargo space is behind the rear seat, which isn't much, but there's a generous loading aperture thanks to a new clamshell hatch design that looks great, especially when paired with the new oval taillights.


The new cabin technology in the Bentayga is fanciful. The 10.9-inch touchscreen runs a reskinned version of Audi's MIB3 software, which supports wireless Apple CarPlay and wired Android Auto. Easy to use, colorful graphics, quick input responses are all highlights of this infotainment interface. Bentayga has a totally digital gauge cluster, too, though it's not quite as impressive as Audi's Virtual Cockpit.


The fact that so many of these features aren't standard with 2021 Bentley Bentayga Speed vehicles continues to boggle my mind. To get adaptive cruise control, a head-up display, lane-keeping assist, you need to add the $8,555 Touring Specification. Forget about the fact that some of these features are standard on Honda Civics.


I find it alarming that such a large SUV costs nearly $250,000 extra for so many niceties. 2021 Bentley Bentayga Speed offers an optional Naim stereo system -- a defining part of the 2021 Bentley Bentayga Speed experience. In addition, heated front and rear seats are standard, as well as tinted rear glass and an automatic liftgate. This is all standard stuff 2021 Bentley Bentayga Speed should include, and they should charge an extra $15,000 for the bottom line: $15K isn't much for someone who's cool with spend $250K on a car.


It would also be remiss of me not to mention that, while the Bentayga Speed is a total powerhouse, it isn't the only vehicle available on the market. Porsche's Cayenne Turbo S E-Hybrid is faster and more powerful, offering some useful electric range thanks to its plug-in powertrain. In addition, the Cayenne costs approximately $80,000 less. The Flying B badge on a Porsche is worth its weight in gold, of course.


There is no SUV that can compare to the luxury of the Bentayga Speed. However, it's far from the best Bentayga, irrespective of its price, power, or prestige. I'd like a Naim stereo with the S.


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