Bentley to sign off W12 production after 20 years and over 100,000 units
Another twelve-cylinder engine is being driven out of production, but Bentley’s W12 will go out with a 739bhp bang
Bentley will cease production of its W12 engine in April 2024, bringing UK production of the flagship engine to a close after 20 years and over 100,000 units. Bentley’s twin-turbocharged variant of the iconic engine was first featured in the 2003 Continental GT, later finding homes in other Continental, Flying Spur and Bentayga models. To celebrate the engine’s success, Bentley’s Mulliner division will give 18 units a final and substantial upgrade for use in the extremely limited-run Batur, making it the most powerful twelve-cylinder Bentley ever.
Mulliner has worked on the intake, exhaust, turbochargers and cooling to liberate 739bhp and 738lb ft of torque, figures that represent a rise of 89bhp and 74lb ft compared to the current Continental GT Speed. These extreme peak outputs have not come at the expense of tractability or response, though, with peak torque available from just 1750rpm and remaining steady right the way to 5000rpm. Peak power is rated 500rpm further up at 5500rpm.
The Batur W12’s changes include new compressors inside the two turbochargers, fed by 33 per cent larger ducting. To keep the air entering the system cool and dense, the new charge-coolers are 10mm deeper and feature a new internal structure – these are 35 per cent more efficient. The turbos are then connected to a redesigned exhaust system, and there’s a whole new engine calibration to manage it all.
Initially sharing much of its design and architecture with Volkswagen’s naturally aspirated W12 unit that was found in the Phaeton and Audi A8, Bentley almost entirely redesigned the unit in 2015 for their own applications. The overhaul brought cutting-edge technologies such as cylinder deactivation, twin-scroll turbochargers and a dual port and direct injection system, which over its lifespan has been tuned to produce 37 per cent more power, 54 per cent more torque than that original 2003 unit, and with a 25 per cent reduction in emissions.
Bentley will end production of the W12 at its Crewe factory in April 2024, repurposing the space as an extra assembly plant for its plug-in hybrid powertrains that will soon expand into all its model ranges. Until the closure, standard W12 production will continue until that April 2024 cut-off, but the British brand has already warned that build slots are extremely limited already, so you better be quick if you want to secure one of the last twelve-cylinder Bentleys.