Bentley W-12 engineEnlarge Photo
Going forward, Bentley will be the sole manufacturer of the W-12 units, meaning it will become an engine exporter for the first time. Bentley estimates that it will need to build as many as 9,000 W-12 engines per year and is adding 100 staff to its workforce at its headquarters in Crewe, England to deal with the increased load.
The current W-12 design is a 6.0-liter unit available in every Bentley as well as the Audi A8 and Volkswagen Phaeton sedans. The most powerful version is fitted to the 2015 Bentley Continental GT Speed and delivers 626 horsepower and 607 pound-feet of torque.
“This is an important step, not just for Bentley but also for the U.K. manufacturing sector,” Bentley CEO Dr. Wolfgang Schreiber said in a statement. “The production of this advanced engine and its future generations will bring new technologies and skills to Crewe.”
It’s not clear what the future plans are for the W-12 engine, but expect it to be paired with hybrid systems in the mid to long term to ensure it meets future fuel economy regulations. What’s also not clear is whether VW’s Bugatti brand will continue with its unique W-16 engine for its Veyron successor or switch to a smaller unit like the W-12. Bugatti has already said the Veyron successor may not necessarily eclipse the Veyron in outright performance, suggesting that there may no longer be the need for such a heavy and complex unit as the current car's quad-turbocharged 8.0-liter W-16.