Bentley Bentayga S squeezes into SUV lineup with focus on sport

The Bentayga S aims to kick things up a notch from the Bentayga V8, but gives space for the Speed model to sit as the top dog.

Dressed to thrill.

The Bentley Bentayga is in for just a little more sport, thanks to the new Bentayga S model, the British luxury brand announced Tuesday. Sliding in between the Bentayga V8 and Speed models, the S denotes a sportier drive without all the go found in the Bentayga Speed.

Specifically, buyers mulling over a Bentayga S will find a slew of equipment to sharpen the SUV's driving characteristics. From the standard Dynamic Ride anti-roll control system and a new tune for the SUV's Sport mode, Bentley ever so slightly refined the model's performance. Flicking over into Sport mode activates a 15% increase in suspension damping to stiffen the chassis. Engineers further tweaked the torque vectoring system, too, to help create more turn-in response. What doesn't change is the twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8's performance. Power still sits at 542 horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque, just like the standard Bentayga V8. But there is quite a bit more snarl, thanks to a more free-flowing sport exhaust. 

The British car builder didn't stop there, though. It took the time to differentiate the Bentayga S from its siblings with specific design cues, like its unique 22-inch wheels, S badges and the standard application of the typically optional Blackine Specification. Dark elements fill the exterior from the side sills, bumpers and darker tint to the headlights and taillights. A larger rear spoiler also amps up the sporty looks appropriately.

The cockpit remains, through and through, a Bentley interior. New seats feature a color split featuring Alcantara. Bentley also splashed some more color around the cockpit with various inserts throughout the dashboard and everywhere is awash with a contrasting stitching color, depending on how a customer specifies their Bentayga S' interior. Four-, five- and seven-seat configurations are all possible.

The brand didn't reveal prices yet, but considering a standard Bentayga V8 starts around $177,000 before any options, it's not hard to imagine the Bentayga S flirting with $200,000 to start. Speed and luxury never come cheap.