Bentley’s W12 ICE Swansong Most Powerful Ever

Bentley waves goodbye to its range-topping ICE W12 cylinder with the swansong release of the most powerful variant of the powerplant to date.

Production of the gasoline engine will end in April 2024, by which time more than 100,000 examples of the Volkswagen Group’s derived W12 will have been hand assembled in the company’s Crewe plant in northwest England. The engine was first made available in the brand’s Continental GT some 20 years ago. When production of the W12 ceases next year, Bentley’s entire model line will be available with the option of a hybrid powertrain.

The final production engine has seen development work concluded recently on the most powerful version of the W12 ever created. This ultimate iteration is destined for just 18 examples of the Bentley Batur to be handcrafted by Mulliner and is now confirmed as developing 739bhp and 737ft-lbs of torque.  The increased torque figure forms the typical Bentley ‘torque plateau’, running from 1,750 rpm to 5,000 rpm with peak power at 5,500 rpm.

The turbocharger compressors are of a new design to improve efficiency, while the ducts that feed air to them are 33% larger. At peak power, the new engine sucks in more than a ton of air per hour. Larger charge-air coolers, with a depth increased by 0.4ins and a new core geometry, reject 35% more heat from the pressurised intake air, reducing intake temperature to a greater extent meaning a denser charge for more power.

The new intake and turbocharging system is matched with a heavily revised engine calibration to liberate the extra torque available. The complete engine system is then paired with a new transmission calibration to deploy the additional power and torque and enhance the driving experience.

Bentley’s chairman and chief Executive, 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.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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