After a production run of nearly 61 years, Bentley has confirmed the end of its iconic hand-built 6.75-litre V8 engine with the final having rolled off of the assembly line in Crewe this past Monday (1 June).
“Our venerable 6¾-litre V8 has powered the flagship Bentley for more than six decades, and so has earned its retirement. I am extremely proud of the generations of skilled craftspeople that have meticulously assembled every one of these engines by hand over the years,” Bentley Manufacturing Board Member, Peter Bosch, said in a statement.
“That this engine stood the test of time for so long is testament to the ingenious engineers who kept making the engine ever more powerful, refined and reliable. Now, we look forward to the future of Bentley, powered by our exceptional W12, sporting 4.0-litre V8 and of course our efficient V6 Hybrid – the start of our journey to electrification”.
Unveiled back in 1970 for 1971 as the third displacement option of Bentley’s L-series V8 that first appeared in 1959, the six-and-three-quarter-litre engine lasted in its original guise until 1980 when it underwent the first in what would become a number of changes to comply with emissions regulations and various other requirements. Two years later, it became one of the most powerful engines in the world with the inclusion of a turbocharger for use in the Bentley Mulsanne.
In 1998, with Bentley having been purchased by Volkswagen, the V8 underwent yet more updates before the addition of a second turbocharger in 2007 when Crewe unveiled the then new Arnage T. By now, displacement had been upped to 6.8-litres and power stood at 373kW/1 000Nm compared to the 132 kW it made on debut.
Three years later, the engine returned to its 6.75-litre roots with the debut of the revived Mulsanne. At this stage, it was also the only model to use the venerable V8 as the twin-turbocharged 6.0 W12 had been serving as flagship engine in the Continental GT, Flying Spur and Bentayga for quite some time. In its most power state of tune, the V8 produced 530kW/1 100Nm in the Mulsanne Speed that lasted from 2014 until production ended in January this year with the introduction of the 6.75 Edition by Mulliner.
In total, 36 000 L-series engines, which until 2002 also powered certain Rolls-Royces until full ownership was acquired by BMW, were produced with each reportedly taking some 15 hours to build.