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Bentley’s W12 engine makes way for 740bhp plug-in hybrid V8

The W12 engine is no more, but Bentley has something even more powerful in store for its flagship Continental GT and Flying Spur models

Bentley V8 hybrid

Fewer cylinders, more power and electrification – that’s the way Bentley’s Continental GT and Flying Spur are going following the demise of the iconic W12 engine. The firm has announced that a new V8 hybrid powertrain will feature in its flagship models later this year, offering a significant boost in performance and efficiency over the old 12-cylinder unit. 

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Exact technical details of the new hybrid setup – dubbed ‘Ultra Performance Hybrid’ – are yet to be announced, but it’s all but certain to be based on the 4-litre twin-turbo V8 powertrain used by the Porsche Panamera Turbo E-Hybrid (zoom in on the above picture and you’ll even see VW part stamps…).

The Porsche offers peak outputs of 671bhp and 686lb ft by combining the V8 with an electric motor integrated into its eight-speed automatic gearbox. The UPH Bentley models, meanwhile, will offer more than 740bhp – a 90bhp uplift over W12-powered Speed versions of the Continental and Flying Spur. Bentley claims that the system offers a four-figure torque output, too – presumably 1000Nm (738lb ft) or more. 

The hybrid element provides 50 miles of EV range, but the additional hardware will also come with a substantial weight penalty. Expect the plug-in models to weigh between 300-400kg more than pure-petrol V8 equivalents; a hefty chunk given that the Continental GT V8 already comes in at 2165kg…

Still, Bentley promises that the powertrain will offer better response than any model in its history, and a WLTP CO2 figure of less than 50g/km. The firm has also released a clip of how the new powertrain sounds – you’ll recognise the cross-plane gargle from existing Bentley V8s.

For those with an affinity for the W12 models, however, a few remaining examples are available to purchase (including the new Batur Convertible) before production ends in the summer. Further details of the new hybrid engine will be announced in the coming weeks. 

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