What is it?
It’s a 4.0-litre, 90-degree V8 with its two twin-scroll turbochargers sitting within the vee of the cylinders. You’ll find it also in the Porsche Cayenne Turbo, and it’s destined to serve in the second-generation Continental GT, which arrives imminently.
And so to the numbers. Peak power is 542bhp, some 68bhp down on the 6.0-litre W12 and delivered 1000rpm later into the rev-range, at 6000rpm. Torque, meanwhile, is 568lb ft, which is a serious hit by anyone’s standards except, maybe, owners of the W12, who enjoy almost 100lb ft more.
This Bentley is predictably outgunned by its bigger brother, then, though it recovers some ground in the admittedly less exciting world of fuel efficiency claims. With the help of stop-start and cylinder deactivation technology that turns V8 into V4 when you’re stroking the throttle ever so gently, it manages a combined 24.8mpg to the W12’s 21.6mpg. The diesel puts both to shame, with 35.8mpg.
There’s the weight advantage too, of course. Except that’s not actually true in this case. The W12 boasts a design of such architectural economy that it’s only 25kg or so heavier than the V8, despite its extra four cylinders. As such, this junior Bentayga enjoys only a slight advantage on the scales, tipping them at 2388kg.
It means the V8 hits 60mph almost half a second after the W12, taking 4.4sec, and will bludgeon its way to 180mph – 12mph shy of you know what. But let’s not lose perspective here, because both sets of figures denote quite obscene pace for what are, first and foremost, high-rise exponents of ultimate luxury.
Crewe has also taken the opportunity to introduce some new options to the Bentayga. You can now get the car with carbon-ceramic brakes, for example, which at 440mm on the front axle are vast – 20mm greater than those found on a Bugatti Chiron, and the vastest of any production car, says Bentley. You can also have the calipers painted red, which isn’t allowed on the W12.