Watch Bentley hand-build its unique W-12 engine

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Volkswagen W12 Wikimedia Commons / Hasse A

Most VW Group engines, including some of the Lamborghini V-10s, are made at Audi’s Hungarian plant in Győr. However, that does not include Bentley’s twin-turbo V-8 or its 6.0-liter twin-turbo W-12. Those limited-production engines are hand-assembled at Bentley’s home in Crewe, England, and if you have roughly as many minutes as a Flying Spur has cylinders to watch the video below, you can live through the entire build process.

In case case you wish to know more about the W-12 first, here’s what I can say about it:

Audi’s 4.2-liter V-8 was so capable that both Lamborghini, Spyker, and Koenigsegg wanted a piece of it. In the end, only the former Dutch company got there, but no matter how solid and tuneable the V-8 may have been, that ’80s-derived engine just wasn’t meant to carry the top of the Volkswagen Group into the 21st century.

VW W12
VW

In the 1990s, Volkswagen’s pride was its narrow-angle VR6 engine, which allowed for four-cylinder engine bays to be fitted with six-cylinder power. The W-12 is the same “stacked banks with a single camshaft” idea, only designed to replace V-8s and V-12s instead of an inline-four.

Before the W-12 could debut for the final two years of the first-generation Audi A8L, Volkswagen sent out its heavily upgraded Nardò W12 Coupé concept study to the famous Italian circuit, only to set a 24-hour world endurance record. The prototype covered 4402.8 miles at an average speed of 183 mph.

VW W12
VW
VW W12
VW

VW W12
VW

Since its first appearance in 1997, Volkswagen’s W-12 grew from its initial 5.6 liters into a 6.3-liter, naturally-aspirated statue of smoothness—only to be replaced by a more eager 6.0-liter twin-turbo version producing as much as 700 horsepower in the nose of a 2017 Bentley Continental Supersports.

Spotted by our friends at Road & Track, here’s how Bentley’s W-12 blocks become the monsters powering Continental GTs, Flying Spurs, and Bentaygas all over the world:

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