The Audi A8 has been offered with a W12 engine since 2001, but that may all change going forward. According to a report by Car and Driver, the current-generation A8 (D5) will be the last model to use a 12-cylinder engine.

“We will not have the 12-cylinder forever. There are customers who really want the 12-cylinder and they are happy with it and are going to get it. But this is going to be the last installation,” said Peter Mertens, member of the board of management of Audi AG, technical development.

Details about a W12-powered A8 aren’t out yet, but the engine will reportedly be a detuned version (585 hp) of the one used in the Bentley Continental GT, which offers 626 hp and 900 Nm of torque. That is still more than what the 3.0 litre V6 in the A8 55 TFSI makes – 335 hp (340 PS) and 500 Nm.

The decision to drop the big W12 is largely due to the more stringent requirements of the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) emissions programme in Europe. Mertens added other engines within the Volkswagen Group will likely be dropped in order to make electric powertrains. “Think of every engine and transmission combination that has to be homologated. That’s a hell of a job we are doing,” he said.

The 5.2 litre V10 used in the R8 may be the axed well before the demise of the W12 from Audi’s engine line-up. Reports indicate a twin-turbocharged V6 model will be introduced, one that is less expensive than the V10, which is shared with the Lamborghini Huracan.