Bentley has built the last of its iconic L-Series V-8 engines. After 61 years in production, the 6.75-liter V-8 was retired after the last car using it—the Mulsanne sedan—was discontinued.
The final L-Series engine was assembled Monday by a team of seven people at the automaker's Crewe factory in the United Kingdom, according to a Bentley press release. The engine went into the 30th and last Mulsanne 6.75 Edition, a special model created to mark the end of both Mulsanne and L-Series production.
Development of the L-Series V-8 started in the 1950s, when Bentley was owned by Rolls-Royce. The goal was to replace an existing inline-6 engine with something more powerful, but without any increase in weight or size. Going from idea to running engine in 18 months, the resulting V-8 ended up weighing 30 pounds less than the 6-cylinder it replaced.
The L-Series started production in 1959, initially for the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud and Bentley S2, and has been continuously updated over the years. The V-8 started with a displacement of 6.2 liters, which increased to 6.75 in 1971. It gained turbocharging and electronic fuel injection in the 1980s.
Bentley L-Series V-8 end of production
While the original, naturally aspirated version made 180 horsepower, the current twin-turbocharged 6.75-liter version makes 530 hp and 811 pound-feet of torque in the Mulsanne Speed. The modern version also produces 99% fewer harmful emissions than the original, according to Bentley.
The unique engine is powered by gasoline but feels more like a diesel with its 4,500 rpm redline. It's a smooth and robust engine that provides the type of effortless power Bentley desires.
Bentley estimates that 36,000 L-Series have been built—all by hand. Each modern L-Series V-8 takes 15 hours to build, according to Bentley. Assemblers hand select internal parts for the best possible match, and each engine is individually signed off by a specialist.
With the L-Series retired, Bentley will continue with its 4.0-liter twin-turbo V-8 and 6.0-liter twin-turbo W-12 engines, as well as the V-6 plug-in hybrid powertrain introduced on the Bentayga in 2019. Bentley plans to launch a hybrid version of every model by 2023, and its first all-electric vehicle in 2025.