The sun will soon set on the W12 engine, but Bentley isn’t letting the unique 12-cylinder engine configuration go away without a party, or a special edition.
The new Speed Edition 12 spec will be available on the Bentley Continental GT coupe, Continental GTC convertible, Flying Spur sedan, and Bentayga crossover.
Production of the Speed Edition 12 will be limited to 120 cars for each of the company’s four model lines.
Under the bonnet there’s a 6.0-litre twin-turbo W12 engine cranking out 485kW between 5000 and 6000rpm, and 900Nm between 1500 and 5000rpm. All this fury is sent to all four wheels via an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.
As its name suggests, each Speed Edition 12 is based on the Speed trim. Most of the car’s bright work has been blacked out, and the special edition rides on 22-inch alloy wheels with self-levelling badges.
The new Opalite paint option (pictured throughout), which is primarily light grey-green, but is said to reveal a subtle copper effect in bright sunlight, is available on the Speed Edition 12.
Naturally there’s plenty of Speed Edition 12 badging everywhere, including on the exterior, the numbered engine plaque, and cabin embroidery. The number 12 is also machined into the organ stop air vent controls.
The seats feature silver contrast stitching, and a quilted pattern with a three-colour fade on the upper section, while the door panels have a similar quilted finish with accompanying contrast stitch work.
In addition to all this, all Speed Edition 12 buyers will also receive a 15 per cent scale model of the W12’s engine block that’s made out of the same aluminium used for production engines.
Bentley will cease manufacturing the W12 engine in April 2024. The 6.0-litre W12 made its debut in 2001, and consists of two 15-degree narrow angle 3.0-litre VR6 engines joined together at a 72-degree angle.
Although the engine has been available in Volkswagen Phaeton and Audi A8, it has primarily been found under the bonnet of Bentley vehicles.
The company says over 100,000 W12-equipped cars have been sold during the engine’s lifetime, making it the most popular 12-cylinder engine series ever. It should also be noted the Volkswagen Group’s W12 is, so far, the only mass produced engine in this configuration.
Bentley is phasing out the W12 engine as it transitions to becoming an all-electric brand by 2030. Although the company’s first EV isn’t due until 2026, future high performance models are likely to feature a plug-in hybrid drivetrain.