It’s the end of an era for Bentley as it announces it will soon no longer produce a 12-cylinder engine. Production of the W12 family is scheduled to end in April, 2024.
Bentley says it has produced over 100,000 examples of its W12 unit, all handcrafted at its Crewe facility in England. The almighty motor has been employed as a majestic powerhouse for almost all of its model lines, including the Continental GT right up to the Bentayga SUV.
But now, as emissions laws become more stringent and as society and consumers become more eco-conscious, the viability of such large internal combustion engines has dwindled. Explaining its decision to end the W12 in a statement, Bentley said:
“The decision comes as part of Bentley’s acceleration towards a sustainable future through its Beyond100 strategy which will see the company’s entire model line fully electrified by the start of the next decade, reducing fleet average emissions to 0 g/km CO2.”
It has already commenced this transition to electrification with the launch of the Flying Spur Hybrid and Bentayga Hybrid. It will launch its first fully electric model by around 2026, which is expected to be a grand touring coupe that produces around 1000kW (1400hp).
Before then though Bentley is planning a nice send-off for the W12 engine. It confirms it will be presenting the last unit in the stunning Batur coupe (pictured below), crafted by its Mulliner division.
The engine will be in its most powerful form ever, developing 551kW (750PS) and 1000Nm. Most impressively, maximum torque will be available between just 1750rpm and 5000rpm, with max power coming in at 5500rpm. Bentley chairman and CEO, Adrian Hallmark, said:
“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, and when production finishes in April next year we aim to retrain and redeploy all of the skilled craftspeople who still build each engine by hand.”
The 6.0-litre W12 layout as we know it was first introduced in 2003, debuting in the Continental GT of the time. Since then, power has climbed by 37 per cent and engineers have extracted 54 per cent more torque from the unit, while emissions have been cut by 25 per cent.
By the time production comes to an end, the engine factory will have rolled out over 105,000 units. In fact, the company expects to hit that figure before the facility hits its 20th anniversary this year.