Interesting background story here how the W12 engine which is powering Bentley, Audi and VW has been invented.
I asked a high-up in the VW Group whether the engine was the work of Karl-Heinz Neumann, the company’s engine guru at the time. Unequivocally, he said: “The W-12 was [Ferdinand] Piëch, drawing on a napkin. He was inspired by an Italian military W-18 marine engine. As usual, Neumann was inspired by Piëch.”
I heard further evidence on the launch of the Bentley Mulsanne (a car we’ll tell you more about shortly) that Piëch is different from most car-company leaders. Firstly, he is known by his workers to be the they have ever witnessed. He reviewed a rework of Bentley’s long-lived V-8 pushrod engine and requested to the lead engineer that cost be taken out by replacing studs in the engines with bolts. Now, how many car-company execs would know the difference between the two?