Bentley CEO Wolfgang Durheimer has confirmed the forthcoming Bentley SUV will be offered with a turbo-diesel V-12 — but before that engine enters production, the model may launch with a gasoline engine packing just as many cylinders.
Autocar reports there’s a good chance the SUV will be equipped with the latest iteration of the W-12 engine — currently used in the updated Continental line — because Durheimer prefers its “packaging advantage” over a V-12. But that doesn’t mean a V-12 is out of the picture just yet. It’s likely the SUV’s engine bay will also fit a V-shaped engine block, and that’s where the V-12 turbodiesel comes into play. An upgraded version of the Audi’s 6.0-liter V-12 TDI that’s used in the Euro-spec Audi Q7 may find its way underneath the flying B’s hood a few years after the SUV’s launch.
However, don’t be surprised if the Bentley SUV comes with a twin-turbo version of the 6.3-liter W-12 currently offered in the Audi A8. Due to packaging issues, the new Continental can’t handle the 6.3-liter engine. You can however rest assured that VW Group will not engineer a brand new motor for a single vehicle, unless we’re talking a hyper-exotic like the Veyron, Aventador or Bentley’s own Mulsanne. While fancy, the A8 W12 simply doesn’t fit that bill.
To get the ball rolling on production, Bentley has brought on a new chief engineer from Porsche, Rolf Frech, who gained expertise in SUV engineering after having worked on the Porsche Cayenne. The SUV will offer the same level of exclusivity that all other cars under the British marque offer, but Durheimer feels especially good about this particular model. “We will be the first to use a 12-cylinder [gas] engine in a luxury SUV. I like this idea; it makes clear whose car is the boss.”
Let the engine displacement wars commence…