Bentley Developing Updated W12 Engine

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The automaker is continuing to develop the W12 engine, which should be more powerful and fuel efficient.

In the face of downsizing trends and the company's all-new V8, Bentley is continuing to develop its 12-cylinder engine. Speaking with What Car?, Bentley's technical director Ralf Frech said: "The W12 can have the same improvements as the new V8." The current W12 is good for 567hp, and Frech admits that the updated version, when fitted to the Continental range, could be close to 600hp with the addition of improved economy.

In order to further improve efficiency, insiders are suggesting an eight-speed automatic gearbox is being developed by Bentley engineers to replace the current six-speeder. According to Frech, Bentley is also considering hybrid technology. "We are looking at the possibility of a hybrid, particularly a plug-in hybrid, but we are waiting for the next generation of technologies because none of the current solutions work," he said. The Mulsanne luxury limo and upcoming SUV are the most likely recipients of a plug-in hybrid option.

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