Bentley Retires W12 Engine for Ultra Performance Hybrid V8 Rated at Over 740 HP

Bentley Ultra Performance Hybrid V8 plug-in hybrid powertrain 7 photos
Photo: Bentley / edited
Bentley Ultra Performance Hybrid V8 plug-in hybrid powertrainBentley Ultra Performance Hybrid V8 plug-in hybrid powertrainBentley Ultra Performance Hybrid V8 plug-in hybrid powertrainBentley Ultra Performance Hybrid V8 plug-in hybrid powertrainBentley Ultra Performance Hybrid V8 plug-in hybrid powertrainBentley Ultra Performance Hybrid V8 plug-in hybrid powertrain
Even though Audi was the first to use the Volkswagen Group's long-running W12 engine in the D2-series A8 back in 2001 , said powerplant is obviously associated with Bentley. First used by the British marque in the Continental GT, the twelve-cylinder icon was retired at the end of April 2024 in favor of a hi-po V8 hybrid powertrain with frankly ridiculous maximum output numbers.
The ultra-luxury automaker from Crewe promises more than 750 ps and four-figure torque (i.e., over 1,000 Nm). That's in excess of 740 horsepower and 738 pound-feet from the internal combustion engine and electric side of the plug-in hybrid setup, which is good for 80 kilometers (50 miles) of electric driving range under the WLTP drive cycle.

More powerful and sensibly torquier than the 6.0L twin-turbo W12 in the Continental GT Speed and the Flying Spur Speed, the plug-in hybrid powertrain is technically similar to what Porsche uses in the Panamera. Speaking of which, the Panamera is joined at the hip to the two-door Continental GT and four-door Flying Spur through the Volkswagen Group's MSB platform.

The plug-in hybrid V8 has big shoes to fill, with Bentley claiming that 105,000 such engines were produced in the past two decades. Bentley claims under 50 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer from the newcomer in the WLTP, making it much greener than its twelve-cylinder predecessor.

Looking at the bigger picture, the Volkswagen Group had to discontinue the massive W12 due to increasingly stringent emission and fuel economy standards. The plug-in hybrid V8 is a good compromise between efficiency and performance, and being a cross-plane V8 with a couple of turbos, the 4.0-liter mill should also sound alright.

Bentley Ultra Performance Hybrid V8 plug\-in hybrid powertrain
Photo: Bentley
Officially designated " UltraPerformance Hybrid," the plug-in hybrid V8 isn't the first electrified powertrain used by the British marque in a series-production vehicle. Both the Flying Spur and Bentayga can be had with plug-in hybrid V6s, although said V6 engines are different because the Flying Spur and Bentayga use different platforms. To this effect, we're also dealing with different maximum output and driving range figures.

The 2.9-liter V6 plug-in hybrid Flying Spur makes 536 horsepower and 553 pound-feet (750 Nm), while electrical consumption is 24.4 kWh per 100 kilometers (62 miles). By comparison, the 3.0-liter V6 plug-in hybrid Bentayga is listed with 456 horsepower, 516 pound-feet (700 Nm) of torque, and an average of 36.8 kWh per 100 kilometers.

Remember the V8-powered Audi SQ7 TDI with its 48-volt electric compressor augmenting the turbos? Although not a true mild hybrid due to the lack of a starter generator, said twin-turbo diesel was offered in the Bentayga. In the British sport utility vehicle, it made a respectable 429 horsepower and a monstrous 664 pound-feet (900 Nm) of twist between 1,000 and 3,250 revolutions per minute.

Not that long ago, Bentley announced that it would become 100% electric by 2030. The plan inevitably suffered a few modifications due to changes in market conditions, with Bentley having recently confirmed that PHEVs will be sold past 2030.
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 Download: Bentley Ultra Performance Hybrid V8 press release (PDF)

About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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