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Bentley: How the W12 engine was invented

Bentley W12

Interesting background story here how the W12 engine which is powering Bentley, Audi and VW has been invented.

I asked a high-up in the VW Group whether the engine was the work of Karl-Heinz Neumann, the company’s engine guru at the time. Unequivocally, he said: “The W-12 was [Ferdinand] Piëch, drawing on a napkin. He was inspired by an Italian military W-18 marine engine. As usual, Neumann was inspired by Piëch.”

I heard further evidence on the launch of the Bentley Mulsanne (a car we’ll tell you more about shortly) that Piëch is different from most car-company leaders. He reviewed a rework of Bentley’s long-lived V-8 pushrod engine and requested to the lead engineer that cost be taken out by replacing studs in the engines with bolts. Now, how many car-company execs would know the difference between the two?