After reading a recent road test of the VW owned Bentley and its' W8 engine I decided to do a bit more research on that engine configuration to see what advantages / disadvantages it might have.
After a lot of reading I can only come to the conclusion that this engine is simply an answer to a question no had bothered asking.
As a format it was played around with in aircraft and some road going engines in the pre and post war years but has largely been ignored since.
Apart from some small cost benefits the major benefit of this configuration seems to be that it offers a certain amount of packaging efficiency - but then they go and mount it in a car that is the size of a small suburb so that hardly seems like a valid reason.
I'd be interested to hear if anyone actually has a valid reason for the existence of this engine.
2. Mechanical efficiency, from its efficient use of cams, which thereby help keep the weight/friction down and retain the benefits of effectively having a twin cam setup for a v engine with less than two camshafts per bank of cylinders.
Also, the space efficiency of a w design might not have much advantage in a large car, but it does allow VW to use the same engine in other smaller cars if it wishes, eg the w8 Passat , or if brabus etc get hold of it, a w8 Polo probably..
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