Fresh off the back of launching its first new veneer in five years (wood hunting is obviously a time-consuming business), Bentley has also dropped an all-new petrol bi-turbo V8 into the Bentayga. In South Africa it’s expected to make up the bulk of sales when cars arrive later this year.
Facts for you: it’s an all-new 4.0-litre V8 that also appears in the Porsche Cayenne and Lamborghini Urus. In Bentley spec, it produces 404kW and 770Nm; it does 11.4l/100km (thanks to cylinder deactivation tech) and 0–100kph in 4.4secs, and it has twin-scroll turbochargers and will rev to 7,200rpm (Bentley’s highest ever red line).
With those sorts of power figures, it’s plenty fast enough. There’s hardly any turbo lag thanks to the twin-scroll turbos, and the 8spd auto will ping you at the horizon as quickly as you’ll ever need.
It also sounds lovely. While we all appreciate the W12 for its pace and sheer unusualness, it’s arguably just a bit too subdued. Not so in the V8. There’s a lovely burble that starts softly in the lower revs before becoming throatier as you wind it up. Don’t get me wrong – it’s hardly a hot rod like the Jag F-Type, but there’s a hint more character here that makes the car endearing.
And it encourages you to enjoy making the most of the clever 48-Volt active roll control. OK, so there are fundamental laws of physics here in that this is still a 2.4- tonne SUV, but the way it sits so flat through corners is remarkable. And, entirely in the interests of science, we now know it’s also possible to get it doing a Scandinavian Flick.
What you should try is the Custom setting on the Bentley Drive Dynamics Control. Go with the steering and exhaust in Sport, and the suspension and transmission in Comfort. That way, you get the best of all worlds.
Which is largely what you’d say of the V8 full stop. It’s designed to sit between the diesel and the W12 and it combines the best of them. It’s the Bentayga to get. PIERS WARD