Bentley & Audi to share new V8 – the end of the W12?

The Bentley Continental GT V8

The Bentley Continental GT V8 will share an engine with Audi

Bentley and Audi are jointly developing a new V8 engine for the Continental GT and high performance Audis. But will it signal the end of the Bentley W12?

When we reported on the reveal of the new 2011 Bentley Continental GT, we noted that Bentley had plans to launch a V8 version  of the Conti sometime next year. What we didn’t get was too much information from Bentley on the new V8, except the little nugget that the V8 going in to the Bentley would be Audi sourced.

Which makes sense. Let’s face it, Bentley hasn’t had an engine of its own forever. Even the new Bentley Mulsanne has an engine derived from an old, defunct Yankee V8. And the current W12 in the Bentley is a VW engine. So if Bentleys sell with old American iron and engines from the makers of the Peoples Car we can’t see a big issue with using an Audi V8. But which Audi V8?

We’d assumed that Bentley were taking an existing Audi lump and giving it the Bentley makeover. But it seems that the V8 that will grace the Continental GT for 2012 is in fact an all-new V8 being jointly developed by Bentley and Audi.

The new V8 will be a 4.0 litre, direct injection which will be used in the Bentley Continental GT and high performance Audis. Neither Bentley or Audi are willing to give many specifics – including what sort of forced induction will be on offer – but it would be reasonable to expect that the new V8 – suitably boosted – could offer power and torque comparable to the existing W12, but with emissions 40% better and fuel consumption similarly lower.

Which begs the question: Will the Bentley W12 be dropped?

2011 Bentley Continental GT Photo Gallery

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What do you think?