Bentley will become the sole manufacturer of W12 engines within the VW Group by the end of 2014.
Bentley is already the world’s largest producer of 12-cylinder engines, so VW Group has chosen to consolidate global production of its W12 engine in Crewe. It will be the first time that Bentley has produced engines for export, to be fitted in cars from other brands.
The company manufactures around 4500 W12 models each year, which represents around 45% of Bentley’s annual production. This volume is expected to grow slightly in 2014 with the arrival of the 626bhp 6.0-litre W12 Continental GT Speed, which is the fastest production Bentley ever.
The forthcoming Bentley SUV is also likely to be offered with a version of the W12 petrol engine, as well as a diesel unit from elsewhere in the VW Group. It’s thought that the diesel in particular will be necessary to compete with the likes of the Range Rover. Bentley has already confirmed that the SUV will go sale in 2016, with a plug-in hybrid version following in 2017.
The VW Group will also offer a W12 petrol model of the latest Audi A8. UK pricing hasn’t yet been confirmed, but the car will have a 6.3-litre engine with 493bhp. It will be the first model outside the brand to be fitted with a Bentley-built engine.