Automobile

W12 engine disappears for regular Bentley Continental GT in 2022

The non-Speed version of the Bentley Continental GT will not be available with a W12 engine in 2022. It’ll be V8 only. CarBuzz noticed the change missing on Bentley’s Continental Range page, and when the outlet put the question to the English automaker, the answer came back, “GT Speed and GT Speed Convertible are the only way to get a Continental with the W12 for 22MY.” So ends a 13-year run of being able to choose how many horses and torques you wanted to pair with your leather and wood.

We thought things were strange when Bentley priced the 2022 Continental GT Speed coupe $50,000 above the previous non-Speed Continental coupe with the W12. That’s about double the premium the Speed has charged in the past despite making only 24 more horses than the non-Speed W12. Of course, that doesn’t exist any more so such comparisons are academic. 

At least the new Speed has received a handling makeover that includes a Bentley first: an electronic limited-slip differential. The new tools and their algorithms impart an enthusiastic liveliness at the stern end of the world’s most flamboyantly capable heavyweight grand tourer. But the 2022 GT Speed can’t do anything that the old standard W12 GT couldn’t; the Speed is just more pliant and talkative about it. And now it exclusively has four more cylinders.

The regular Continental range now includes four versions — GT V8 coupe and convertible, and GT V8 Mulliner coupe and convertible — with the Speed adding its own hardtop and droptop duo. Bentley execs have repeatedly said and hinted that they aren’t finished with the W12, which got an all-new version to power the Bentayga in 2015; CEO Adrian Hallmark called it “effectively a new engine.” The automaker’s only got five years to spread it around, though, Bentley having said it will offer a hybrid version of all of its models by 2026, and also having said it doesn’t want to add batteries to the W12 because the engine — and the car it powers — are already heavy.

Our guess is that Bentley’s looking up. There was a 2017 Continental GT Supersports with a W12 that made 700 hp and 750 lb-ft., which cost $60,000 more than the GT Speed. A new Supersports with those mammoth numbers (or more) and the newest Speed’s dynamic tricks would make a might fine showcase. 


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