The 542-horsepower V8 sends the Bentayga from zero to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds.
Bentley will expand the Bentayga line-up in America with a V8-powered model. Positioned directly below the W12-powered version, it will reach showrooms in time for the 2019 model year.
The V8 in question is a 4.0-liter, 32-valve unit borrowed from sister company Porsche and tuned in-house. In this application, it generates 542 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 568 pound-feet of torque between 1,960 and 4,500 rpm. All that power gets channeled to the four alloys via an eight-speed automatic transmission and a rear-biased all-wheel drive system.
The eight-cylinder sends the 5,280-pound Bentayga from zero to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 180 mph. In comparison, the 600-horsepower W12-powered model takes four seconds flat to perform the benchmark zero-to-60-mph sprint and it maxes out at 187 mph. Fuel economy checks in at 24.8 mpg in a mixed European cycle.
The V8 model retains the standard car's 48-volt electrical system, which eliminates body roll. It's also the only version available with optional carbon-ceramic brakes.
The visual differences between the two SUVs are minor and largely limited to new 22-inch wheel designs and model-specific exhaust outlets. Inside, the V8-powered model becomes the first Bentley available with high-gloss carbon fiber inlays on the dashboard and the door panels. The British firm has offered carbon fiber before but it has always been matte.
Bentley hasn't released pricing information but we expect the V8 to start in the vicinity of $200,000. We'll likely learn more about it next week during the Detroit Auto Show.