Bentley’s V8: Art of an Engine
Can an engine be a work of art?
Arguably, the Bentley 6.75-liter twin-turbocharged V8 engine is.
The engine, based on the architecture that Bentley has used for several of its cars, including the Arnage, Azure, Brooklands, original Mulsanne, and Continental, has been completely reengineered for the new Mulsanne. This means that there are new pistons, con rods, crankshaft, and some 300 other components are new or reengineered
What’s more, although the engine is certainly venerable, there have been the addition of new technologies, such as cam phasing and variable valve displacement to enhance fuel efficiency and to reduce emissions on the order of 15%. During cruising, the engine management system shuts down four of the eight cylinders, again to help with the fuel efficiency. While the engine hasn’t been given its EPA certification, Bentley figures using the European cycle have it at 16.7 mpg, subject to certification. Given that this is a 5,700-lb. car, that’s quite an accomplishment.
The powertrain, which is rated at 505 hp and 752 lb-ft of torque, features an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission and steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. It can go from 0 to 60 in 5.1 seconds.
But art isn’t about performance per se (unless, of course, it is performance art) as much as it is about the human touch. And the engine scores here, as well. Each engine is hand-assembled.
According to Phil Cooper, senior production manager at the engine build workshop at the factory in Crewe, England, “Our new V8 takes nearly 30 hours to build and we never release an engine to our colleagues in the main build hall until we are literally prepared to put our name to it.”
Each piston is fitted by hand. Sixteen ball bearings are hand fitted into the valve train. And so on.
And at the end, a signed engine plate is attached to the work. Art.