Bentley Will Celebrate Its Trademark W12 Engine at the 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed

This year's edition of the Goodwood Festival of Speed will be somewhat bittersweet for Bentley. The Crewe-based automaker is celebrating two decades of W12 muscle, with said engine going the way of the dodo in April 2024 as Bentley pivots to electrified vehicles.
Bentley Continental GT and W12 engine 9 photos
Photo: Bentley / edited
Bentley W12 engine will be retired from April 2024Bentley Batur will feature a special-edition, 740-hp version of the W12A red-hot W12 after a testing session at 5,000 RPMA red-hot W12 after a testing session at 5,000 RPMA red-hot W12 after a testing session at 5,000 RPMBentley W12 engine takes six-and-a-half hours of manual assembleThe Continental GT will offer an option for the last-ever W12The W12 has been the ultimate Bentley powerhouse for the last two decades
It should be mentioned the Volkswagen Group-designed W12 is a bit older than 2003, though. Rather than the Continental GT in 2003, the 12-cylinder masterpiece premiered in 2001 in the Volkswagen W12 Nardo concept, a mid-engine supercar named after the Nardo Ring. Built in 1975 with Fiat's money, the Italian test track came under Porsche's ownership back in 2012.

Back in 2001, group brand Audi launched the W12 into series production with the D2-generation A8 full-size luxury sedan. We also have to remember that Volkswagen shoehorned the 6.0-liter colossus in the engine bays of the Phaeton and Touareg. What's more, Spyker used W12s in the C12 La Turbie and C12 Zagato.

More appropriately described as being a WR12 (i.e., two VR6 blocks joined together), the W12 became a Bentley trademark ever since the Continental GT came out. Prior to the introduction of the Bentayga sport utility vehicle, the CGT was the British marque's best-selling model, outselling the more expensive Arnage, succeeding Mulsanne, and CGT-based Flying Spur.

Scheduled for July 13 through July 16, the Goodwood Festival of Speed will host a W12 heritage parade of 12 vehicles from the last 20 years. The list includes the first-generation Continental GT and Continental Flying Spur, the ice speed record-breaking Continental Supersports, the first-ever Bentayga W12 production vehicle, a second-gen Flying Spur W12 S, the Bentayga W12 from the 2018 edition of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb, plus a second-generation Continental Supersports.

Of course, Bentley will also field the Batur by Mulliner, a Continental GT-based special edition that costs way too much compared to the Continental GT. It's also described as the most powerful example of the W12 ever created thanks to 750 ps (make that 740 horsepower) and 1,000 Nm (738 pound-feet) of torque. Not that long ago, Bentley advertised it with 740 ps (730 hp).

The closest thing to it comes in the form of the second-generation Continental Supersport, which made 710 ps (700 hp) and 1,017 Nm (750 lb-ft). Offered both as a coupe and a soft-top convertible, the CSS ran between 2017 and 2018 in limited numbers. Only 710 were produced, whereas the Batur will number 18.

That's it! 18 cars and Bentley will turn the page to electrified performance from 2024 onward. The long-running W12 will be sorely missed, but it's not all sorrow and heartache. A plug-in hybrid powertrain built around the Audi- and Porsche-developed 4.0L twin-turbo V8 is an extremely tantalizing proposition, one that even Lamborghini will adopt for the Urus.
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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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