All things being equal, we'd generally rather have more cylinders than fewer. But Bentley upset that particular applecart with the latest Continental GT. Not only is the 500-horsepower V8 version less expensive than the 567-hp W12, it also boasts better handling (thanks to less weight in the nose) and better fuel economy, too – all with a scant 67 less horsepower.
So why would anyone want the twelve-cylinder version? That's a good question, and one which Bentley is apparently not afraid to ask itself.
Some customers will likely opt for the W12 for snobbery's sake or because their last Conti had one, but the crew at Crewe aren't about to let that stand at the extent of it. So word has it that the British automaker is gearing up to substantially improve its W12 engine in due course.
So what will those improvements encompass? Hard to say, but sources in the UK suggest a similar process that brought the Audi-sourced V8 up to Bentley specifications. The speculation is also that an eight-speed automatic is in the cards to replace the current six, and that hybrid technology is under consideration, too.
Aside from the fuel economy aspect, however, we ought to be looking at around 600 horsepower from the updated W12 – and that's just in base trim, with the Speed model and maybe even a new Supersport version to pack even more.