An evolution of the 2012 Bentley EXP 9 F concept car, the production Bentayga debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2015 as Bentley's first SUV – using unibody construction and full-time all-wheel drive as well as Volkswagen Group's bi-turbo W12 engine and MLB platform, the latter shared with the second-generation Audi Q7 and the third-generation Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q8, and Lamborghini Urus.
Bentley officially unveiled the name Bentayga in January 2015. The name comes from Roque Bentayga, an emblematic highland rock situated in Tejeda, Gran Canaria, the subtropical Canary Island. The company also drew inspiration from a portmanteau of Bentley and Taiga, the world’s largest transcontinental snow forest, composed of the first four letters of Bentley and an altered spelling of taiga.Bentayga also means "carried interest" in Swahili.
The 2016 Bentayga was the first to receive Bentley's new twin-turbo W12 engine. Initially, the W12 was the only engine option for the Bentayga, capable of bypassing 6 cylinders if needed. The 6.0 L, twin-turbo gives the Bentayga performance figures of 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) in 4.0 seconds (0–100 km/h (0–62 mph) in 4.1 s) and a top speed of 187 mph (301 km/h). The manufacturer self-proclaimed the vehicle to be the world's fastest production SUV in 2016.