Fifty years ago Bentley first installed a V8 engine in its iconic S2 Continental, and the legacy of that original 6.2L aluminum powerplant can still be found today in cars like the 530hp (395kW) Brooklands coupe, Arnage saloon and Azure convertible. To celebrate the achievement, Bentley’s board member for engineering, Dr. Ulrich Eichhorn, will give a keynote speech mentioning the engine at the Sir Henry Royce Memorial Foundation lecture in London on January 22.

Today's Bentley V8 engine is true to the original design, however, it has achieved power and torque increases of over 150% through the introduction of fuel injection, turbocharging and intercooling technologies whilst also remaining compliant with the latest emissions standards.

In 2007, the 6.75L, twin-turbocharged V8 saw a step-change in performance with a comprehensive range of enhancements. These included a more efficient and refined valve-train, re-profiled camshafts, a free-flowing air induction system, and more responsive, low-inertia turbochargers. These were complemented by a new six-speed transmission with semi-automatic function and Bosch engine management system.

Bentley currently hand-builds the engine at its Crewe headquarters in the UK. The latest iteration of the design displaces 6.75L and in its most powerful guise develops 530hp (395kW) and 775lb-ft (1,050Nm) of torque. In the Brooklands coupe, this output results in a 0-60mph sprint time of five seconds and a top speed of 184mph. Not only is the engine the most powerful V8 ever launched by Bentley, it also has the highest torque of any production V8 in the world.

Prior to the introduction of the V8 engine in the S2 Continental, Bentley was using a straight-six engine in its S1. Today, the carmaker also features a quad-turbocharged 6.0L W12 engine, whose introduction was also overseen by Dr. Eichhorn.


Follow Motor Authority on Facebook, Twitter, and Google +.