Volkswagen has made a W12 for some Audi, Bentley, and Volkswagen cars since 2001, but the end for the W12 is in sight, according to a new report. It will be used in a new Bentley Mulliner based on the Continental GT for 2023, but, after that, that might be that.
Bentley is the only brand to still use the 6.0-liter engine, which it does in the Continental GT, but Autocar says that, as Bentley goes electric, so the W12 will go with it. But not before one last Mulliner bang.
[The W12] ... will be retired shortly after the launch of the next Mulliner car as Bentley moves towards an all-electric future.
According to a source at the Crewe firm, the new creation will be based on the Continental GT Coupé (its predecessor, the Bacalar, was based on the Convertible) but will feature bespoke styling in line with its far more exclusive build run, a unique technical make-up, heightened levels of personalisation and a far higher list price than that of the standard car. The new model is being designed and engineered in line with the expansion of the Mulliner division, which will launch the finished product in 2023, 80 years on from the start of the coachbuilder’s relationship with Bentley.
It is believed that high demand for the £1.5 million Bacalar (all 12 examples of which sold out even before the first was completed) has prompted Bentley to up the build run for its hard-top successor, 25 of which will be built. It will be priced from between £1.5m and £2m, but the extent of Mulliner’s personalisation offering means that most, if not all, examples will sell for more than £2m, making this Bentley’s most expensive creation yet.
Autocar also gives some provisional numbers, including 650 brake horsepower and zero-to-62 mph in under four seconds, and some other specifications, like four-wheel turning, a suspension that is stiffer, “record-breaking” 440 mm disc brakes, LED lights, and styling that is described as more angular, styling that you can also expect in Bentley’s future all-electric offerings. The whole thing is being overseen by Andreas Mindt, who used to work at Audi and designed the E-Tron.
Because this is Bentley, here’s what Autocar has to say about the interior:
His radical overhaul of Bentley’s characteristic design cues will be matched by an equally outlandish interior treatment drawing on the themes of sustainability and exclusivity showcased by the Bacalar, which itself shares only its door handles and steering wheel centre with the Continental. As such, the second Mulliner car is likely to adopt a wraparound-style dashboard, drop its back seats in favour of an optional, bespoke luggage set and be trimmed with unique materials including 5500-year-old British riverwood, Scottish tweed and natural wool.
Bentley seems intent on continuing its rivalry with Rolls for the title of most needlessly ridiculous, and for that we can be thankful.