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Bentley to phase out historic 6 3/4-liter V8

by Ronan Glon

The next Mulsanne will use a 12-cylinder engine.

Bentley has announced that the end is near for its historic 6.75-liter V8 engine.

The eight-cylinder -- which is colloquially called the six and three-quarters -- traces its roots back to 1959. Designed to replace Bentley's straight-six, it launched as a 6.2-liter naturally-aspirated unit fed by a pair of carburetors. Early on, it powered the Bentley S2 and the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud II.

Bentley upped the eight's displacement to 6.75-liters in 1970, and fitted it with a turbocharger for the first time in 1983. Nearly every component has evolved considerably over the past 57 years; today, the six and three-quarters is found under the hood of the range-topping , where it generates 505 horsepower and 752 pound-feet of torque in its most basic state of tune thanks to two large turbochargers. A more powerful evolution rated at 530 horses and 811 pound-feet of twist is also available.

While it's technically possible to further refine the eight-cylinder, executives have concluded that its time has finally come. Instead, the next-gen Mulsanne will switch to a 12-cylinder engine. It'll likely be the same 6.0-liter W12 unit that powers the , but technical specifications aren't available yet.

The six and three-quarters will nonetheless stick around for a few more years. The Mulsanne was comprehensively updated for the 2017 model year, and Car & Driver that its replacement is at least five years away from hitting showrooms.

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