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Bentley will end production of its “iconic” 12-cylinder petrol engine in April next year.

More than 100,000 W12s have been built at the firm’s factory in Crewe, Cheshire over the past 20 years.

The British luxury car manufacturer announced on Wednesday it will halt production of the famed W12 engine, launched in 2003, as it moves towards an electric alternative.

The company has committed to an all electric car range by 2030, coinciding with the banning of sales of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK.

It follows a list of prominent manufacturers making a switch to electric vehicles including Jaguar and BMW.

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Bentley chairman and chief executive Adrian Hallmark said: “Our progressive journey towards sustainable luxury mobility means making changes to every area of Bentley Motors.

“When we first launched the W12 back in 2003, we knew we had a mighty engine that would propel both our cars and the brand forwards at speed.

“Twenty years and more than 100,000 W12s later, the time has come to retire this now iconic powertrain as we take strides towards electrification.”

The company said it hopes to “retrain and redeploy” the 30 employees involved in assembling and testing W12s.

When production of the petrol engine is stopped, all Bentley models will have the option of a hybrid powertrain.

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Jim Holder, editorial director of magazine What Car?, described the W12 as “an icon of combustion engines, famed for its power, smoothness, refinement and more”.

He said it should be remembered “as one example of the peak of what can be achieved technically with combustion engines”.

“But Bentley and its customers are acknowledging that we are entering a new environmentally conscious era, where outright performance and luxury can still be attained, but in a less consumptive manner,” he added.

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Volkswagen Group-owned Bentley made record sales in 2022, delivering 15,174 cars – a 4% rise compared with the previous 12 months.

The increase was driven by demand in the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific.

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