The title of "fastest SUV in the world" might seem like a rather odd one to toot your horn about. After all, unless you live in Germany or next to El Mirage, the chances of ever hitting your vehicle's top speed are pretty damn low — and sport-ute drivers seem even less likely than most to go chasing it, even if the speed was worth going for.
Still, it's hard not to be impressed with the news that the new Bentley Bentayga Speed can top out at a whopping 190 miles per hour — tying it with the Lamborghini Urus for the honor of fastest SUV in the world.
Of course, while the Bentayga and Urus are related, they have rather different missions — and go about chasing those speeds in different ways. While the Urus uses the VW Group's ubiquitous twin-turbo 4.0-liter V8 (also found in the "regular" Bentayga), the Bentayga Speed uses Bentley's twin-turbo 6.0-liter W12, here pumping out 626 horsepower and 664 pound-feet of torque. Sent to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic, that's enough to push the facelifted Bentayga Speed from 0-62 mph in a claimed 3.9 seconds...but considering independent tests have found the base model does 0-60 in 3.3, we're guessing it'll do a bit better in the real world.
When the turns come up, the Speed will be ready for them, thanks to a host of handling-optimizing features like the 48-volt active anti-roll bars, an adaptive air suspension and brake-based torque vectoring. If the stock brakes aren't grabby enough for you, you can choose optional carbon-ceramic stoppers, which are the largest ever offered on a Bentley (and that's saying something).
Being a Bentley, though, the Bentayga Speed isn't just about satisfying a Ricky Bobby-esque need for speed; it's about doing so in absolute comfort and luxury. When you're not attacking the road, the SUV can cruise sedately and in relative efficiency, thanks to cylinder deactivation and a function that lets the car make like AWOLNATION and sail at highway speeds, dropping the engine to idle when the driver's foot comes off the gas.
And because there's little point in spending the extra for the faster, more powerful Bentley if those in the know don't know you did, the Bentayga Speed comes outfitted with some subtle-but-noticeable design tweaks versus the V8 model. Dark-tinted grilles, oval exhaust pipes and headlights, body-color side skirts, unique 22-inch wheels and Speed badges all play a role, but it's the gentle redesign of the front and rear fascia that really sets it apart. Inside, there's a new color split for the interior that's exclusive to Speed models, while optional Alcantara trim adds a sportier look if so desired.
Having recently driven the facelifted 2021 Bentayga with the V8 (more on that soon), it's hard to imagine needing more out of a luxury SUV of this size. Still, Bentleys aren't about need, they're about desire — and for those who simply crave the best, the new fastest SUV in the world seems like it could be right up their alley.