With 36,000 units produced since 1959, the last iconic Bentley V8 will power the Mulsanne 6.75 Edition by Mulliner
Bentley produced the last 6¾-litre V8 in Crewe marking an end to its 61-year-old legacy. Since 1959, the configuration and bore spacing have been the same for this massive-torque producing engine. It still takes 15 hours to build this modern L-series V8 as key internal components are painstakingly matched together by extremely skilled hands. Now though, strict emission norms and policies have pushed this engine to the history books as Bentley is working on a hybrid platform to be commissioned by 2023 for its luxury cars. The engine has powered Bentley ultra-luxury cars, 36,000 of them, for decades and will see its final resting place in the final Mulsanne 6.75 Edition by Mulliner.
Bentley engineers started work on a newer more powerful engine to replace the straight-six engine in the 50s. Jack Phillips, Senior Engine Designer was given the task to design an engine 50 percent more powerful than the current six-cylinder unit, but which occupies the same space under the bonnet. The powerful V-configuration new L410 V8 was created to serve in the then owner Rolls-Royce cars. Bentley continued the development of the L410 engine under Volkswagen’s leadership and Rolls-Royce discontinued using it when they found the BMW-sourced V12 engine. Basically speaking the L-series engine is a crowning jewel for Bentley. It is the longest-serving V8 in history nearing the Chevrolet small-block V8. The engine has seen numerous revisions since its first introduction, with the most powerful version serving in the Brooklands, a personal all-time favourite.
Inside the L410 engine
The first application of the L-series engine was in the Bentley S2 produced in 1959. It then produced a mere 180 bhp which has come up to 530 bhp in the latest Mulsanne Speed. Beyond gradual technological advancements, in 1971 it was raised from the initially designed 6.25-litre to 6.75-litre which also gave it its iconic name, the Six and Three-Quarter. The biggest change came with the introduction of turbocharging which considerably increase torque output. Further, the single turbo was changed to twin-turbo and fuel-injection to reduce emission and increase efficiency. Five decades into development, the L-series cemented Bentley’s supremacy in ultra-luxury fast saloons. The Six and Three-Quarter in the 2008 Brooklands was producing about 200 percent more power and torque than the original S2 did.
Future of Bentley Engines
The final encore of the L410 will be graced in the thirtieth, and the last, unit of Mulsanne 6.75 Edition. Assembled in Crewe, the 60-year legacy is now ending with a celebration in this limited run. This exclusive range will have V8-inspired details placed as badging, blueprint graphics, and ventilation ‘organ stops’ featuring a tiny version of the oil cap. Peter Bosch, Member of the Board for Manufacturing at Bentley said that the 6¾-litre V8 has earned its retirement and the company looks forward to the new upcoming engine series to power future Bentleys. The new engine line includes two new units, a 4.0 litre V8, V6 Hybrid, and the powerful W12. Mulsanne will give way to Flying Spur as the new flagship for Bentley cars and will feature the new hybrid setup by 2023. This will be followed by the Bentayga Plug-in Hybrid as the most efficient Bentley ever.