2022 Bentley Bentayga S puts more "Sport" in V8 luxury SUV

Bentley's Bentayga is adding a new, more sporting version, and if you've been trying to decide between the V8 and the W12 SUVs then the 2022 Bentayga S may deliver just the balance you've been hoping for. The first time that the luxury SUV has been offered in "S" form, it grabs new Sport suspension calibration for a more driver-focused experience behind the wheel, while the 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 is good for 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds.

That relies on 542 horsepower and 568 lb-ft of torque, and propels the Bentayga S on to a top speed of 180 mph. Bentley has dialed in 15-percent more damping, to stiffen the chassis and allow for "a more dynamic" tune to the Sport mode's ESC.

Outside, Bentayga S is distinguished with new black detailing. The brightwear of the Bentayga V8 has been swapped from chrome to black, and the body kit is similarly finished in black trim too. The door mirror caps match as well.

22-inch wheels are exclusive to the Bentayga S, with three finishes. The lower doors have new "S" badges, and the normally optional Blackline Specification is standard on the car. A larger rear spoiler, gloss black side sills and lower bumpers, and dark tint headlamp lenses are standard, as are dark tint tail lamps and black split oval tailpipes.

On the inside, there's a choice of 4-, 5-, or 7-seater configurations. New seats get new stitching patterns and a new color split, along with Alcantara trim to go with the usual leather. "S" badging has been added to the passenger-side dashboard, while the digital instrumentation gets new S-specific graphics and matching illuminated tread plates.

The big news, of course, is how the 2022 Bentayga S drives. Bentley Dynamic Ride is standard, with an electric active roll control bar tapping a 48V system to keep the SUV stable and level. Sport mode features an improved steering feel, plus greater turn-in response and less body roll, with a 15-percent increase in air suspension damping.

The torque vectoring system – which uses the inside wheel brakes to tighten cornering – has been recalibrated, and the whole thing should sound more impressive with new exhaust system tuning. What you don't sacrifice, Bentley insists, is off-road performance. Dare to risk those new wheels, and there's the same optional All-Terrain Specification with four modes – Snow and Wet Grass; Dirt and Gravel; Mud and Trail; and Sand – and a 19.6-inch wading depth.

The 2022 Bentayga S joins the existing Hybrid, V8, and Speed versions of the luxury SUV. It'll be priced from $222,525.