The Bentley W12 Continental is a strange beast. Considering its hefty curb weight, nobody expects this behemoth to handle particularly well.
However, weight and soft suspension are not the Continental’s only problems. That massive 6.0 l W12 believe it or not, sits entirely ahead of the car’s front axis. That’s right; in the two feet of space between that expensive front grill and the front axis, sits six-liters of German engineering. That begs the question – How?
You see, the W12 Continental engine is essentially two V6s matted at the crank. One V6 points upwards, while the second V6 points downward. Thanks to that configuration, the entire W12 along with all of the cooling and accessory bits (ie: a/c, alternator, etc) manages to fit neatly in that tiny space. VW actually uses the exact same layout in every single car they build with a longitudinal engine layout. Even the base model V8, which is actually a fair bit longer than the W12 Continental engine, manages to fit in that tiny space. Benefits of this layout include simple packaging, good straight-line stability, though the huge front weight bias does no favors for handling.
And you thought you wouldn’t learn anything new today.