Bentley to cease production of ‘iconic’ W12 engine as part of EV transition
Image credit: Bentley
Bentley has said it will cease producing its ‘iconic’ W12 engine from April 2024 as it transitions towards electric vehicles.
By the time production ends, more than 100,000 W12 engines will have been manufactured at the company’s Dream Factory in Crewe.
Bentley is planning to electrify its entire line by the start of the next decade as part of sustainability efforts.
It has already started producing the hybrid models Bentayga and Flying Spur which “exceeding the company’s expectations” demand-wise.
Bentley was founded in 1919 and has been producing cars in the UK since its inception – delivering 15,174 cars in 2022. Since 1998, it has been owned by the Volkswagen Group which is also ramping up investment in electric vehicle manufacturing.
Once the W12 stops being made, Bentley’s entire line-up will be available with the option of a hybrid powertrain.
Despite this, development work has only recently concluded on an updated version of the W12, which is more powerful than previous generations, and will be included on just 18 Bentley Batur models. The extremely limited run of vehicles will set buyers back a minimum of $2m.
Bentley’s chairman Adrian Hallmark said: “Our progressive journey towards sustainable luxury mobility means making changes to every area of Bentley Motors.
“When we first launched the W12 back in 2003, we knew we had a mighty engine that would propel both our cars and the brand forwards at speed. 20 years and more than 100,000 W12s later, the time has come to retire this now-iconic powertrain as we take strides towards electrification – but not without giving it the best send-off possible, with the most powerful version of the engine ever created.
“The 750 PS titan that Mulliner has created for the Batur marks the end of a development journey of which our engineering and manufacturing colleagues should be extremely proud.”
Mulliner is Bentley’s personal commissioning division.
Bentley aims to retrain and redeploy the 30 engineers who hand-assemble and test each of the W12 engines at the factory in Crewe – taking around 6.5 hours to build each engine. The W12 engine production facility will then make way for an expanded line for the completion of other Bentley engines used for the plug-in hybrid models.
Over the last 20 years, the W12’s power has increased by 37 per cent and torque by 54 per cent, while emissions have been reduced by 25 per cent, Bentley added.
Initially this was through evolution and optimisation of the control systems, improvements in the oil and cooling designs, turbocharging technology and more effective injection and combustion processes.
For the launch of the Bentayga in 2015, the W12 was redesigned into the version of the engine that remains in production today – featuring cylinder deactivation, direct and port injection, and twin-scroll turbos.
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