Bentley wants to be the last manufacturer of 12-cylinder engines in the world

Article by Christian A., on July 19, 2014

Despite the fact that all the carmakers are currently downsizing their engines, it appears that Bentley will adopt a new strategy as it wants to be different. According to a senior manager, Bentley wants to be the last manufacturer of 12-cylinder engines in the world.

And we don’t believe this target will be very hard to achieve, as all there are few companies that still use these big engines. Still, Mercedes-Benz has a similar goal and we might see a small battle there.

Bentley sources told Car and Driver that the company will switch to direct injection technology on its 6.0-liter twin-turbocharged W12 engines. Bentley’s upcoming SUV will also use the W12 engine although it will be offered with the smaller 4.0-liter V8 as well as with a hybrid powertrain.

Back in 2013, Bentley built 5,000 W12 engines, but that number is expected to increase to 9,000 engines once the SUV rolls off the production line. On the 2015 Bentley Continental GT Speed, the 6.0-liter twin-turbo W12 engine develops 635 hp (467 kW) and 820 Nm (590 lb-ft) of torque.

Still, these numbers are expected to increase slightly. Do not expect a dramatic power increase as the biggest restriction is the torque limit of any transmission the engine is fitted to.

The chassis hardware and software of the new Bentley Continental GT Speed have been significantly revised to match the dynamics of its superb powertrain, thereby delivering a sporty, engaging drive.

While Continental GT Speed still features aluminum double wishbone front suspension and a trapezoidal multi-link rear setup, it is provided with revised air suspension springs and dampers. These improvements increased the car’s levels of agility and body control while reducing roll, pitch and heave.

Compared to the Continental GT, the Continental GT Speed rides 10 mm lower, thanks to a self-leveling system that constantly monitors ride height and damping as per road conditions. Stiffer suspension bushes have also been installed for sharper handling, while uprated anti-roll bars have been fitted for optimal handling balance.

Several revisions to the chassis software have been MADE, all of which enable the revised suspension hardware to implement a thrilling but refined ride experience. Also re-calibrated were the steering and suspension control systems of the Continental GT Speed.

On the other hand, Bentley optimized the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) system to work in harmony with the new ME17 engine management system. It still features the so-called "Dynamic Mode" setting that allows for greater wheel slip at higher speeds with the engine torque restored at a faster rate following a system intervention.

All of these systems provide more opportunity to take full advantage of the chassis setup and increased power output. Aside from enhanced steering feel and feedback, the carefully tuned Continuous Damping Control (CDC) system allows for minimal reduction in ride comfort while the suspension components were uprated.

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