Last week, Bentley shared video footage of a disguised Bentayga SUV hitting 301 km/h at an undisclosed test track.

Now, Bentley has revealed details of the Volkswagen-derived W12 engine that motivated “the fastest, most powerful, most luxurious and most exclusive SUV in the world” to that speed. The twin-turbocharged engine makes 600 hp and 663 lb-ft of torque by way of a combination of direct and port fuel injection, and is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Bentley says that combo can propel the Bentayga from zero to 100 km/h in 4.1 seconds (or in four seconds flat to 60 mph), while the transmission and four-wheel drive system have been strengthened to handle the demands of off-road driving. (Insert snarky statement here about how few Bentayga owners are likely to venture onto any surface harsher than a gravel lane.)

Apparently, the turbo W12 is 11.9 percent more efficient than “the existing powertrain,” which we assume refers to other Bentley models. To the end of efficiency, the Bentayga includes auto start/stop technology, and transmission programming that decouples the gearbox when the driver releases the throttle at cruising speeds, allowing the engine to idle and the car to coast. Bentley says diesel and hybrid variants are in the Bentayga pipeline, too.

Bentley calls the Bentayga’s development the most exhaustive in the brand’s history, with the company having conducted testing in South Africa (dirt and gravel), Dubai (sand dunes), Chesire (muddy fields), and in temperatures ranging from -30 to +50 degrees Celsius–in other words, the kind of temperatures a high-end SUV had better be able to handle. The Bentayga has also done 400 laps of the Nurburgring Nordschleife track in pursuit of sharp on-road performance. An electric active roll control system counteracts body roll in high-speed cornering, variable-ratio electric power steering designed to improve feedback to the driver while reducing kickback on rough surfaces, hill descent control, an air suspension with four driver-selectable ride heights. Wheel choices range from 20 to 22 inches.

Inside, there’s the expected abundance of leather stretched over 22-way power front seats, and hand-crafted wood veneer throughout. Interestingly, Bentley’s press release implies that the rear seat does not fold, creating a division between cabin and boot, thus completing the interior’s “opulent feeling.” In other words, you’ll have to pay someone to deliver that antique grandfather clock. Bentley, however, does offer a range of “lifestyle” accessories, including a load-assist tray, and a wet gear stowage option.

Bentley offers 17 standard paint colours (or 90 hues in an extended palette), 15 carpet options, seven choices of wood veneer, and 15 different leathers; alternately, those buyers spoiled by previous Bentley purchases can opt to have the folks at Mulliner put together a bespoke interior.

No word yet on pricing, but the Bentayga is set for a full reveal next week, at the Frankfurt auto show.

Bentley Bentayga (1)

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