Bentley engine

Bentley engine

With 500 horsepower and 487 pound-feet of torque on tap, Bentley’s new twin-turbo 4.0-liter V-8 engine is just 67 horsepower and 29 pound-feet of torque shy of the output generated by its twin-turbo 6.0-liter W-12.

Factor in that the V-8 also produces 40 percent less CO2 emissions than the W-12 and suddenly the case for having the bigger engine starts making little sense.

However, a twelve-cylinder engine does have a future in Bentley’s lineup, including in the upcoming SUV model, according to previous comments made by CEO Wolfgang Durheimer.

Now, in an interview with What Car?, Bentley's technical director Ralf Frech has revealed that the automaker is continuing to develop its W-12 engine.

“The W-12 can have the same improvements as the new V-8,” he said.

Frech went on to explain that the W-12 engine’s peak power could be lifted to around 600 horsepower while its fuel economy could also be improved. One possibility is matching the engine with a more efficient eight-speed automatic rather than the current six-speed unit.

And, as previously hinted at by Durheimer, a plug-in hybrid option is also being studied. However, Bentley is waiting on the development of next-generation hybrid technologies as the current solutions available in the Volkswagen Group parts bin have been found to be unsuitable for its needs.

The most likely recipients for the plug-in hybrid option would be the Mulsanne flagship and upcoming SUV.