Bentley will end production of its famed W12 engine after producing the most powerful ever version for the ultra-limited-edition Bentley Batur.
Production of the twin-turbocharged unit will stop in April 2024 as the British firm looks to accelerate its move towards its Beyond100 strategy, under which every Bentley model will be electrified by 2030.
Bentley will now focus its efforts on its V8 and V6 hybrid line-up and will convert its W12 production line to an “expanded area” for these powertrains.
When production ends next year, more than 100,000 examples of the W12 will have been produced since it was introduced in 2003.
The final 6.0-litre W12 will power 18 Mulliner-crafted Batur coupés, with updated intake, exhaust and cooling systems. Producing 739bhp and 737lb ft, it will be the most powerful ICE ever fitted to a production Bentley,
The engine also gains a redesigned turbocharger compressor, with new ducts that are 33% larger than before, in addition to a new transmission calibration.
The Batur has already sold out, but Speed variants of the Bentley Continental GT Mulliner and Bentley Flying Spur Mulliner can still be ordered with the W12.
Bentley expects orders for W12 variants of the Continental and the Flying Spur to close in December this year, with demand being high, but it didn't disclose how many units remained.
“When we first launched the W12 back in 2003, we knew we had a mighty engine that would propel both our cars and brand forwards at speed,” said Bentley chairman Adrian Hallmark. "Twenty years and more than 100,000 W12s later, the time has come to retire this now-iconic powertrain as we take strides towards electrification - but not without giving it the best send-off possible with the most powerful version of the engine ever created.”
The first production car to be fitted with a W12 was the Audi A8 in 2001 before Bentley introduced a twin-turbocharged version two years later. It first drove the Continental GT and the Flying Spur, before being completely overhauled for the arrival of the Bentley Bentayga in 2015.
Bentley will now retrain some 22 engineers who worked on the W12 to focus on its hybrid powertrains, including the potential arrival of a more powerful PHEV system.
Test mules for a ramped-up PHEV have been confirmed to Autocar by Bentley to be in an early stage of testing.
The firm’s engineering boss, Matthias Rabe, hinted to Autocar that it would be based around V8, which would position it above the three 3.0-litre V6 PHEVs currently on sale, with a peak output of 730bhp.
Every model in the Bentley range will offer a PHEV option by 2025.