Bentley’s L Series V8 engine was first introduced in 1959 and it’s still in production today, albeit in a thoroughly revised form, but it won’t be offered forever.
Developed by Rolls Royce, this V8 became known as the Six and Three-Quarter beginning with 1968, when its stroke was increased from 3.6 inches (91 mm) to 3.9 inches (99 mm), thereby increasing the engine capacity to 6.75 liters – 6,752 cubic centimeters.
It’s one of the longest living engine in production today, but the modern, heavily re-engineered twin-turbo variant produces over 150% more power and torque than the original unit, while returning 40% improved fuel economy. In the Mulsanne Speed, for instance, it chugs out 530 HP and 1,100 N·m (811 lb·ft) of torque; a power figure that makes the massive brute sprint from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in just 4.9 seconds – aided by the 8-speed ZF automatic transmission, of course.
An impressive achievement coming from the continuously developed 57-year-old engine, which will end its career in Bentley’s luxurious automobile. Car and Driver reports that according to Bentley CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer, the mill “won’t survive beyond the current Mulsanne”, and that the V8 has found its “final home” there.
Dürheimer also reportedly confirmed that Bentley’s next flagship will be powered by a 12-cylinder engine, although he didn’t offer an exact timeline for the vehicle’s introduction. It’s safe to assume that until then, the classic V8 isn’t going anywhere, but its days are numbered.