Feast your eyes on the Bentley Bacalar’s gorgeous W-12

Bentley Nik Berg

Bentley has just finished building the first W-12 engine for the ultra-exclusive Bacalar and, well, just look at it. This masterpiece of engineering artisanship takes a team of 45 craftspeople six and a half hours to assemble by hand.

The British bruiser is claimed to be the most advanced 12-cylinder engine ever made, thanks to its high-pressure direct injection system which squirts fuel in at 200 bar which combines with low-pressure six bar port injection for improved refinement, lower particulate emissions and optimized power and torque. The W-12 uses a pair of twin-scroll turbochargers to force induction and has no less than three cooling systems. One circuit is designed to get the cylinder heads up to working temperature as quickly as possible, the second system cools the engine block and oil, and the third manages turbo temperature. The exhaust systems from the three front and three rear cylinders are separate, with each feeding a turbo that is welded directly to the exhaust manifold. A variable displacement system can shut down half the engine under light loads to improve overall efficiency.

The engine is the most powerful in the Bentley line-up, producing 659 hp and 667 lb-ft of torque. Since first being introduced in 2003, the W-12 has been progressively improved, with power now up by some 27 percent since its introduction and emissions down by 28 percent. Int’s hard to believe, but Bentley has assembled over 100,000 W-12 since it first launched.

Before the W-12 was installed into the first customer Bacalar, it had to undergo a series of rigorous tests, just like every other engine. First, a leak test pressurizes the fuel, water and oil systems to up to five bar, then a cold test takes place to confirm the accuracy of the engine timing before the exhaust and turbochargers are fitted for a final exam. In this last test, the coolant fuel systems are first pressurized with air and nitrogen before fluids are filled. The engine is then run for 21.5 minutes at up to 3800 rpm.

The 12 buyers of the $1.9-million Bacalar will, no doubt, be assured by this amazing attention to detail. The rest of us can simply enjoy looking at this extraordinary piece of automotive art.


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