If any of our readership has been putting off their purchase of a Bentley because they were waiting for something fresh for the company, listen up: the Bentley Mulsanne is the newest of the big rigs from Crewe to hit the road, and we caught its world debut at Pebble Beach right on the awards stage. Still powered by a 6.75 liter V-12 (although “significantly reengineered”), this is the new flagship of the resurgent Bentley, which has pretty much flourished under Volkswagen Group ownership. We have a full gallery of hot reveal shots to show you, and a press release, after the jump.
Bentley had set up a large crate as a diversion, which hid an original 1930s Bentley Mulsanne 8-liter. As it rolled out, we wondered if the box could hold another car … but Bentley pulled a fast one and introduced the car from the back of the neck-craning crowd, rolling it in behind a full band full of Black Watch style bagpipers. The new Mulsanne is huge and made a big splash on the well-heeled attendees. It will replace the former flagship, the Arnage, in Bentley’s line, and when it goes on sale in 2010 it will represent the last of the old, pre-VW Bentleyes to be reworked.
NEW BENTLEY MULSANNE MAKES WORLD DEBUT AT PEBBLE BEACH CONCOURS D’ELEGANCE, CALIFORNIA 16 August, 2009 (Bentley Motors, Crewe, England) Today, Bentley Motors unveiled the Mulsanne, the company’s all-new flagship grand tourer, at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance in Monterey, California. The Mulsanne is inspired by the company founder W.O. Bentley’s crowning achievement in
1930, the 8-litre. And it was W.O.’s own sensitively conserved company car that shared the podium with the new Mulsanne in Pebble Beach. This early motoring masterpiece represented the last big Bentley that was designed, engineered and built from the ground up by Bentley engineers – until now.
Nearly 80 years later, while paying respect to this illustrious past, the new Mulsanne is a thoroughly modern statement of luxury driving and grand touring. Conceived, styled and engineered entirely at Bentley’s headquarters in Crewe, England, the Mulsanne, with its completely new and unique platform, goes into production next year in a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility within the Crewe factory.
Introducing the Bentley Mulsanne at Pebble Beach, where Bentley was the featured marque, Dr. Franz-Josef Paefgen, Chairman and Chief Executive of Bentley Motors, said:
“The challenge we set our engineers was to create a new grand Bentley that would stand as the pinnacle of British luxury motoring, offering the world’s most exclusive driving experience. They have responded to this challenge with real passion and the result is a luxury grand tourer that sets new standards in terms of comfort, effortless performance and hand-crafted refinement – the very qualities for which Bentley is renowned.“
The Bentley design team, lead by Dirk van Braeckel, have created a flagship that offers the classic sporting, styling cues long-associated with Bentley – expressed in a thoroughly contemporary way.
“From the very first hand sketches in the styling studio, we were inspired by the traditions of the grand touring Bentleys and have sought to evolve this story for a new generation of Bentley enthusiasts.”
The return of the Mulsanne name to a car carrying Bentley’s iconic ‘Winged B’ emblem underlines the company’s racing pedigree and nowhere reflects that heritage better than the famed Le Mans circuit, the scene of no fewer than six Bentley triumphs. Few places offer a stronger or more emotive connection with the Bentley marque than the famed Mulsanne corner.
The Bentley 8-litre displayed alongside the Mulsanne in California was first shown at the 1930 London Motor Show. It was the second-built and was W.O. Bentley’s company car for two years. Capable of reaching more than 100 mph, the 8-litre demonstrated W.O. Bentley’s ambition and ability to build a grand luxury car capable of surpassing every other leading manufacturer of the day. A total of 100 cars were built in 1930 and 1931.
“The 8-litre’s breathtaking performance and quality was perhaps the finest example of a ‘pure’ grand Bentley. Every mechanical detail carried W.O. Bentley’s unique stamp and it was the clearest demonstration of a car built without compromise,” commented Dr. Ulrich Eichhorn, Member of the Board Engineering.
“The Mulsanne has been designed with exactly the same guiding principles, so it is entirely fitting that these Bentleys from different eras share the same stage.”
The Bentley Mulsanne will go on sale from mid 2010. It will also be displayed at the forthcoming IAA Frankfurt Motor Show (15-27th September, 2009) where Bentley Motors will provide additional product information.
For more information, please log on to www.BentleyMulsanne.com
[Press Release Courtesy of Bentley Motors]