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.


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  • 23 Comments
      RustyShackelford
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm not surprised. The 8 is so good that it made the 12 look like the extra 4 cylinders were for no purpose but to haul their own additional weight.
      Rob
      • 2 Years Ago
      The twin turbo 8 is a revised engine and the existing W12 has been around for a while. It would make sense if Bently is to keep it that it needs to be updated. Many people spending the premium for cars like these will want the 12 cylinder models
      Leather Bear
      • 2 Years Ago
      Short of my 6 Lotto #s hitting, there's no way I'll be able to afford one of these, but I did get some wheel time in a Continental GTC convertible last summer (thanks to a thoughtful husband's Xmas present of a www.worldclassdriving.com exotic supercar tour). Of the vehicles I got to drive that afternoon, the 458 Italia was the most enjoyable, but the GTC was the most surprising. The W12 in the GTC had immense torque and produced a wonderful, addictive exhaust "whuffle," especially audible with the top down. Not sure if the V8 would be able to duplicate that experience (not that I wouldn't mind the chance for a comparison!).
      mkM3
      • 2 Years Ago
      If they can hit 120hp/L with the W12 like the V8 does, that would give them a nice even 720hp. So perhaps 620hp for the base W12, 660hp for the Speed, and 720hp for the SuperSports model. This would provide needed justification for the W12 from a performance perspective.
      Wisdom Seeker
      • 2 Years Ago
      Some terrific automotive photography in the photo gallery on this one.
      • 2 Years Ago
      "British automaker" .... nice joke.
      Govis
      • 2 Years Ago
      " So word has it that the British automaker is gearing up to substantially improve its W12 engine in due course." This is the vernacular use of the word British, whereby you really mean German, correct?
        Matt
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Govis
        I was about to post "Then I guess under the same logic Ram trucks would be Italian and Lambo's would be German" but I rethought that. The Bentley's have a lot more German than those other companies have their parent company. I mean the soul of the beast (the engine) comes from Ingolstadt, not Crewe, even if that is where the car is assembled. Not saying Bentley s are German, but they have a lot more Germanic blood running through their veins than Chrysler has Italian(minus the Dart of course)
      ennuisoc
      • 2 Years Ago
      I drove the new Continential GT with W12 motor last year. While it has been one of the most marvellous experience for me, I was very impressed with the smoothness of W12 and power delivery. So smooth that I never realised I drove up to 280km/h (175mph) on Autobahn outside Munich until I downloaded the photos that my colleague took for me. If I don't know anything about V8, well, I also drove massive Mulsanne, too. This car is the automotive equivalent of eccentric aunt. The motor warbles and gurgles as well as showing its annoyed attitude when pushed to the limit.
      • 2 Years Ago
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      • 2 Years Ago
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