Bentley Bentayga V8 S (2024) review
Trying out the sportier, more focused S derivative of Bentley’s hyper-luxe Bentayga SUV.
Matt Robinson
Matt Robinson

Published on June 21, 2024

Having been around for eight years now, there’s a danger that the Bentley Bentayga ultra-opulent SUV might feel a bit long in the tooth, but it’s quite the opposite. Still powered by a V8 petrol engine, the Bentayga continues to hold its own as a seriously desirable option in the high-end, rarefied atmosphere that includes the likes of the Lamborghini Urus, Aston Martin DBX, Rolls-Royce Cullinan and the Ferrari Purosangue.

Here we’re driving the sportier S model as a standard wheelbase body on country roads surrounding the company’s headquarters in Crewe, UK, and this test follows on from various other reviews we’ve done in the past on a wide variety of Bentaygas - including the Extended Wheelbase (EWB), the regular V8, the mighty Speed variant and, perhaps most relevantly, the Plug-In Hybrid, which is now the only other drivetrain choice in the SUV’s line-up following the demise of the W12.

What’s different about the appearance of the Bentley Bentayga V8 S?

Although the Bentayga’s appearance may be familiar by now, and the 2020 facelift (bringing with it oval lamp clusters fore and aft, the latter items more pronounced and shared with the Bentley Continental GT, along with a smoothed-off tailgate (dropped licence plate included) and a sleeker front-end design) has been around for four years, the S gets its own signifiers to tell you it’s the driver-focused model. These include the Blackline Specification, which brings in black trim detailing everywhere on the Bentayga’s body - including for the door mirrors - as well as dark-tinted light cluster units, its own style of colossal 22-inch alloy wheels, and twin ovoid exhausts with a central split line down each. Teamed with a larger spoiler atop the roof and painted in a daring colour, it’s enough to give the S an extra sense of menace and edge, when compared to other sub-Speed models of the Bentayga.

A look inside the Bentley Bentayga V8 S

The interior hasn’t changed into 2024, but as the Bentayga has an exquisite cabin, that’s no great hardship. The S once more benefits from its own bespoke touches, such as deeply sculpted front seats with an Alcantara centre section, the eye-catching two-tone interior colour split, special contrast stitching and various S monograms dotted about the place, all of which only add to a cabin made from the finest materials and bolted together in a manner that feels as if it would withstand a direct nuclear strike. The knurling, for example, on the metal switches throughout the Bentley’s cabin, is a mark of real class and makes it feel like a significant step above a powerful Audi or Porsche SUV equivalent, to which the Bentayga is distantly related.

Space is also generous onboard, so while there is the EWB if you want truly gigantic rear doors on your Bentley and an almost comical amount of second-row legroom, there’s really no need to specify the Bentayga as such for a luxurious experience. There are four-, five- and seven-seat options for the SUV, although our test S - a five-seater - didn’t feel in the least bit ‘lesser’ in terms of the cabin ambience and general roominess. A 484-litre boot, though, is by no means massive for a car of the physical dimensions of the Bentayga.

The Bentley Bentayga V8 S’s on-board technology

Bentley uses a 10.9-inch infotainment system and fully digitised instrument cluster, both of which respond to inputs crisply, look great and are intuitive to use. The manufacturer also includes a healthy amount of physical buttons, including separate climate controls and a bank of switches on the transmission tunnel to do with selecting the drive modes and prepping the vehicle for any off-roading you might deign to subject it to.

Other features include a wireless smartphone charging pad, a superb head-up display for the driver and the option of a thunderous 1,780-watt, 20-speaker ‘Naim for Bentley’ premium audio set-up, as well as luxuries such as heated and cooled seats with a massaging function and much more. Although Bentley may be something of a traditional marque that’s keen to trade on its heritage, it’s forward-looking enough that the Bentayga has a suitably high-tech cabin to go with its lofty price tag.

Driving the Bentley Bentayga V8 S

To complement its 550hp/770Nm 4.0-litre V8 engine, which sends power to all four wheels via a slick-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission, the S has various chassis upgrades to help it corner a little more sharply than a regular model with the hybrid drivetrain would. Chiefly, these include the Bentley Dynamic Ride 48-volt active anti-roll system and a retuned Sport mode - which adds 15 per cent stiffer damping to the Bentayga’s air suspension - although the extra grip afforded by the huge 285/40 Pirelli tyres certainly plays its part.

There’s also a sports exhaust and tweaked torque vectoring, all of which goes to make a surprisingly agile and engaging 2.4-tonne SUV. We’ve said for a while now that Bentley is something of an unsung hero company when it comes to steering feel and the Bentayga is no exception to this rule. It has lovely weighting and directness at the wheel, as well as eager turn-in from the nose of the SUV and even a modicum of genuine feel coming back through it. That gives the driver confidence to place the Bentayga accurately on the road, a boon when the thing measures two metres across and fully 2,222mm from mirror tip to mirror tip as well.

And that lovely steering is enhanced by fabulous body control, along with masses of mechanical grip. The Bentayga S has a Torsen central differential, along with a fancy electronically-controlled differential lock on the rear axle, and they serve to make this gigantic machine feel much lighter on its feet than it should. Exploiting the chassis’ talents via the medium of the magnificent 4.0-litre V8 engine, which makes a terrific, bassy din through that sports exhaust system, is also no hardship, because this is a powertrain which hauls hard from 2,000rpm and anywhere upwards. It also has enough torque below that point to effectively mask any turbo lag the engine might have, the auto quickly dropping to a lower cog anyway if you’re at risk of making the Bentley’s engine labour.

For all this dynamic acuity, though, the good news is that the Bentley is as comfortable and refined as you could wish for, with the caveat that on its 22-inch wheels and considering the marque’s sporting ethos, there’s always a degree of underlying firmness that some of its more obviously comfort-oriented rivals - the Rolls-Royce and a Range Rover, for instance - will never display. But with the suspension in Comfort mode, the way the Bentayga S can soak up lump and bumps is generally quite remarkable, while the passenger compartment is phenomenally well-isolated from the twin disturbances of tyre and wind noise. Like the Continental GT, the Bentayga S tips the kinematic balance more towards sharp handling than out-and-out ride comfort, but thankfully it doesn’t go too far and spoil its overall refinement levels in pursuit of any additional handling gain.

How much is the 2024 Bentley Bentayga V8 S?

Well, without any official prices because Bentleys are not sold in this country - the only dealership on the entire island is across the border in Belfast, at Charles Hurst - we can still say ‘a heck of a lot’ in answer. This is because Bentley told us that, without including our local taxes which heftily penalise cars with monstrous CO2 outputs like the 294g/km emitted by the V8 S, the average price of any car it sells these days is basically €285,000, give or take. And as you’d have to lump another 41 per cent on top of that for the maximum Band 20 VRT, plus sundry other import costs and an annual motor tax rate of €2,400, you’re pretty much looking at in excess of €400,000 for a decently specified Bentayga V8 S. Which is why the old adage of ‘if you have to ask...’ probably comes into play.

The reasons you’d buy a Bentley Bentayga V8 S

As with any of these incredibly desirable, top-end SUVs, you buy the Bentley Bentayga V8 S because it is a status symbol, a conspicuous demonstration of your wealth. Some will find that a little distasteful, of course, but the Bentley saves itself from opprobrium in our eyes because it is so dynamically talented. It’s brilliant to drive, wonderful to travel in and it makes a fabulous noise as well. For any of the super-rich with an eco-conscience, there’s always the Bentayga Plug-In Hybrid to consider, but keener drivers will want to bag this V8 S. It’s one of the last great petrol-powered Bentleys.

Ask us anything about the Bentley Bentayga V8 S

If there’s anything about the Bentley Bentayga V8 S we’ve not covered, or you’d like advice in choosing between it and other cars, you can avail of our (completely free) expert advice service via the Ask Us Anything page.


Tech Specs

Model testedBentley Bentayga V8 S
Irish pricingnot sold in Ireland
Powertrainpetrol - 4.0-litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine
Transmissionautomatic - eight-speed ZF gearbox, all-wheel drive with Torsen centre differential and rear electronic locking differential
Body stylefive-door, five-seat SUV
CO2 emissions294g/km
Irish motor tax€2,400 per annum
Official fuel consumption13 litres/100km (21.7mpg)
0-100km/h4.5 seconds
Top speed290km/h
Max power550hp at 6,000rpm
Max torque770Nm at 1,960-4,500rpm
Boot space484 litres all seats in use
Kerb weight2,416kg
Rivals to the Bentley Bentayga