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.
Spotting the difference between the two models on the road would be difficult were it not for the fact that most V8 Bentaygas will feature gloss black exterior trim instead of chrome – more sporty that way, they say. There’s also a new two-tone alloy wheel design in the size most W12 owners have opted for – the maximum 22in – and redesigned exhaust tips, which make two appear like four.
What's it like?
This twin-turbo V8 is throaty but civil, well-mannered but, deep down, pretty raucous. It’s versatile, too, and will fade into the background at a cruise but still fires the Bentayga along at just as alarming a rate as the W12 can, except on those rare occasions you’ve got your right foot resolutely pinned to the floor.
A redline set at 7000rpm means this is the highest-revving Bentley road car ever, and that’s reflected in the way the V8 goes about its business. The torque curve is a table-top job, with peak delivered between 1960rpm and 4500rpm, though maximum power arrives satsifying high up, at 6000rpm. This engine possesses a levity that’ll have you running it right up to that redline.
The delivery is magnificently wrinkle-free, too, because this eight-speed ZF transmission is, as we’re increasingly finding, almost impossible to find fault with. In fact, if there’s one criticism of this powertrain, it’s that despite the placement of the turbos, there’s just as much lag as with the W12. No, it’s not a yawning delay between action and reaction, but it’s just a little longer than is desirable in a more sporting model, which is how Bentley will market the V8 Bentayga.