‘Most Powerful W12 Ever’: Bentley Signs Off with 750 PS Batur
All good things must come to an end and that includes Bentley’s glorious W12 powertrain. Widely regarded as one of the most popular 12-cylinder engines ever, Bentley’s iconic fuel combustion motor has undergone a lot of change in its short life span. It started its new-found resurgence under the Volkswagen empire with the Continental GT W12 way back in 2002 and ever since then, over 100,000 engines have been built for various models across the Bentley line-up.
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The first iteration of the W12 was a 6.0-litre version for the GT and over the last 20 years, power has increased by 37 per cent and torque by 54 per cent, while emissions have been reduced by 25 per cent. For the launch of the Bentayga in 2015, the W12 was completely redesigned from the sump up, and it is that version of the engine that remains in production today, along with new technologies like cylinder deactivation, direct and port injection, and twin-scroll turbos.
Each W12 engine is hand-built over 6.5 hours by a team of craftspeople and every week, one engine is run over an extended test cycle and then fully stripped for inspection. Bentley will retain all the 30 craftspeople and the W12 facility will now make way for an expanded line for the completion of other Bentley engines used for the plug-in hybrid models.
“Our progressive journey towards sustainable luxury mobility means making changes to every area of Bentley Motors,” Bentley chairman and chief executive, Adrian Hallmark, said. “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.”
For one last blast, the limited-edition Batur features the most powerful version of the W12 ever with 750 PS and 1000 Nm of torque. Hand built by Mulliner and with only 18 examples ever being made, the Batur is already sold out, however, W12 lovers can get their hands on one with the 659 PS version of the W12 engine offered in the Speed versions of Continental GT, Bentayga and Flying Spur as well as the Continental GT Mulliner and Flying Spur Mulliner. This decision is in-line with Bentley’s ‘Beyond 100 strategy’ which will see the company’s entire model line fully electrified by the start of the next decade, reducing fleet average emissions to 0 g/km CO2.
“The 750 PS titan that Mulliner has created for the Batur marks the end of a development journey of which our engineering and manufacturing colleagues should be extremely proud, and when production finishes in April next year we aim to retrain and redeploy all of the skilled craftspeople who still build each engine by hand,” Hallmark continued.
The W12 has been central to Bentley’s dynamic qualities being linked with effortless performance and the ethos of the brand. However, V8 and hybrid versions have turned out to be more popular of late, signalling the end of an era.