Bentley to become Centre of Excellence for W12 engines within the VW group; the firm aims to make 9000 units per year by 2017-18
Steve Cropley Autocar
19 March 2014

Bentley will take over production of W12 engines for the Volkswagen Group from the end of this year.

The current production of W12 engines for the group in Germany will end, with Bentley becoming the new Centre of Excellence for the technology within the VW Group. 

Bentley already produces some 5000 W12 engines annually, but that number is expected to grow to 9000 units by 2017-18 with additional orders from the likes of Audi and Volkswagen. Bentley will also use the engines in its Continental GTGTC and Flying Spur models.

That figure also includes engines for the firm's forthcoming SUV model, which will launch in 2016.

The move also means Bentley will start exporting engines for the first time in its history. Company boss Wolfgang Schreiber said: "This is an important step, not just for Bentley but also for the UK manufacturing sector.

"This W12 centre of excellence is recognition of the long standing engine manufacturing expertise we have that has resulted in performance improvements across the model ranges over recent years."

Half of the extra 100 personnel needed to expand engine production at the firm's Crewe headquarters have already been sourced.

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19 March 2014
Bentley exported engines to equip the Brunei airport Rapid Intervention Vehicles back in the late eighties. Fastest fire tucks in the world.

19 March 2014
I always thought separating Bentley and Rolls-Royce would be a good thing for both brands. They're much more interesting now than they were when they were making derivatives of the same model. And now Bentley's manufacturing the Volkswagen Group's brilliant W12 engine; it's all very positive.

20 March 2014
The W12 has been a white elephant. Nobody wants it, not even Bentley - that's why it's coming to the UK. The notion that they will sell 4000 extra W12s every year - via Phaetons and A8s - is pure fantasy. VW have clearly learnt nothing from the billions blown on the last Phaeton. The A8 itself barely makes any money, after 20 years of loss leading. To state that this is "an important step for UK manufacturing" is preposterous. Are we so enfeebled as a manufacturing nation that some jumped up German executive feels able to make such ridiculous pronouncements about our economy?

20 March 2014
You may not like the W12 engine, but it's technically really interesting. And how do you know Bentley don't want it? They put it in every car they sell!

26 March 2014
True - it's a marvellous technical feat. But the W12 is an answer to a very silly question. Namely, "how do we squeeze 12 cylinders in front of the front axle, given that our full-size limo has a front-drive platform?" Bentley doesn't need it any more because of the new V8. And it doesn't work in the "real" Bentley either, as that is natively rwd.


13 April 2014
The W12 is used in every car Bentley sells? And there was me thinking that they used a couple of V8s as well, one being of their own design (or possibly Rolls Royce's.......)

14 April 2014
TBC wrote:

The W12 is used in every car Bentley sells? And there was me thinking that they used a couple of V8s as well, one being of their own design (or possibly Rolls Royce's.......)

Yes, my mistake! The Mulsanne is so ugly from the front I'd blocked it from my mind! If it wasn't for those lights and bluff front it'd be a much more harmonious looking car. I love the rest of the range, though, especially the new Flying Spur.

As for the old Bentley V8, I can't see there's any more they can do to it to make it as competitive as the BMW-derived V12 in Rolls-Royces. I think it's time for a new flagship engine, which will inevitably be Volkswagen-based.

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