Bentley is to finish manufacturing of its flagship 12-cylinder engine in its shift to electrification, changing into the primary of the posh automobile manufacturers to make use of expertise thought of the top of engineering within the age of combustion.
The 12-cylinder engine, a lot bigger than the usual three or 4 present in most gasoline-powered automobiles and bigger than the V8 engines widespread in high-performance automobiles, gave Bentley fashions their signature easy energy.
The ultimate batch of the present engine, first launched in 2003 with over 100,000 manufactured, will roll off the manufacturing line in April 2024, underscoring the acceleration of the transfer to electrical.
Bentley’s rivals, together with Rolls-Royce and Ferrari, nonetheless plan to supply the expertise for a number of years whereas additionally planning to roll out electrical fashions because the trade’s prime finish charts the course for decarbonization.
Luxurious automobile manufacturers have typically been slower to introduce battery fashions as a result of clients can typically afford a number of automobiles and do not wish to compromise on vary.
Nonetheless, Bentley goals to take the lead from established luxurious names to supply extra environmentally pleasant options, even when right this moment’s well-heeled clients can nonetheless afford fashions utilizing greater engines.
“The time has come to retire this now iconic powertrain as we transfer in direction of electrification,” stated Bentley chief government Adrian Hallmark.
The transfer to electrification “means making adjustments to all areas of Bentley Motors”, he added.
Though it’s set to promote its first electrical mannequin later this 12 months, Rolls-Royce solely gives 12-cylinder petrol engines in its vary.
Ferrari has smaller V8 and V6 engines, however nonetheless packs the bigger engine into flagship fashions such because the Purosangue.
Bentley stated it could make its first battery-electric mannequin in 2026, a 12 months after the battery fashions promised by Ferrari and Aston Martin. Rolls-Royce has an electrical mannequin, the Spectre, which needs to be delivered on the finish of this 12 months.
Bentley plans to impress its complete lineup by the beginning of the following decade, with the intention of decreasing its common emissions to zero.
Round 30 staff who construct and hand-test the W12 engine, named after its form, can be retrained and redeployed throughout the corporate.
The British group is planning a restricted sequence of Batur fashions, which is able to home the engine. It should additionally provide a small variety of present fashions with the engine earlier than the phase-out date.
The model, which is owned by Volkswagen, will nonetheless promote automobiles with V8 and V6 engines and can provide hybrid fashions on all future automobiles from subsequent 12 months.
Bentley stated demand for hybrid variations of its Bentayga and Flying Spur fashions “already exceeds expectations.”
He added that the fixed enhancements to the W12 meant that energy was 37% greater than 20 years in the past, whereas emissions had been 25% decrease.