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Bentley Is Replacing the W12 With a 739-HP V8 Plug-In Hybrid

If cylinder count is what matters most to you, then the clock is ticking to get one of Bentley’s outgoing flagships.

byCaleb Jacobs|
Bentley News photo


Are 12-cylinder engines going away? It's tough to say. Just as the big boy's demise seemed certain, one British automaker whose name sounds like Shaston Shmartin announced the development of a new V12 in the year of our Lord 2024. You can take that as a win if you want, but just know Bentley is doing away with its storied W12—and soon.

In its place will be a new plug-in hybrid V8 powertrain that makes some serious oomph. Bentley is claiming 739 horsepower (750 ps), which is 89 hp more than the W12-powered Continental GT Speed model could muster with its twin-turbo 6.0-liter. In its release, the automaker says the setup makes "four-figure torque" but I believe that's in Newton meters. For reference, 1,000 Nm is equivalent to about 738 lb-ft.

The electrified V8 will offer a solid 50-mile range on battery power alone. That ought to be enough for owners to exit their long, winding, paved driveway that's draped along the tallest hill in town without making a peep. You can bet the V8 will be far from silent once it kicks in, though.

Interestingly, the Crewe automaker isn't disclosing the displacement of this new PHEV option yet, even after I heckled its PR department for an answer. Can't say I didn't try. My guess is it's a 4.0-liter like you'll find in cars such as the regular Continental GT, Flying Spur, and Bentayga S.

The W12's bittersweet finale comes after two decades of production with roughly 105,000 of those engines built over time. It's receiving a proper send-off in models like the Mulliner-made Bacalar, Batur, and Batur Convertible, all of which cost seven figures. I haven't driven any of those but our reviews editor Chris Tsui has, and according to him, the W12 deserves to be remembered, dangit. I agree, if only on principle alone.

Who knows when we'll see the 12-cylinder engine's true end? Jeremy Clarkson lamented in a 2009 episode of Top Gear that it was quickly approaching. That was 15 years ago now, so maybe he didn't know what he was talking about after all. Either way, Bentley's old flagship is just about done for. At least it has a potent replacement waiting in the wings.

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