2011 Bentley Mulsanne Preview

Jeff Youngs | Dec 31, 2010
FAST FACTS
  • All-new, 4-door sedan model for 2011
  • Redesigned variant of the 6.75-liter V-8
  • Classic Bentley design themes
  • Modern interior with the latest electronics
  • Launched at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours D'Elegance
  • Manufactured in Crewe, England
  • On sale in mid-2010

Introduction

2011 Bentley MulsanneBentley is a name synonymous with fine, hand-crafted, exclusive British automobiles manufactured in low production numbers and from uncompromised materials. Founded in 1919, the company is headquartered in Crewe, England-the same location where its assembly plants are located. The current Bentley lineup includes the Continental coupe and convertible models, Continental Flying Spur sedan, Brooklands coupe, Azure convertible, and the Arnage sedan. While the Arnage ends production in 2009 (its design is a decade old), the new Mulsanne is not designed to replace it as Bentley says its all-new model "will be positioned at the pinnacle of the ultra-luxury segment."

The newest Bentley to join the automaker's exclusive lineup, the Mulsanne is named after the 90-degree corner at the end of the straight at the world-famous Le Mans race circuit. The reference, according to the automaker, is that its new sedan ".reflects Bentley's sporting pedigree, our passion for power and speed."

Launched at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours D'Elegance, Bentley will show the Mulsanne again at the Frankfurt Motor Show where the company is expected to release powertrain, chassis and individual feature details. The all-new Mulsanne is scheduled to go on sale in mid-2010.

For More Information
2011 Bentley Mulsanne

Design

The exterior of the all-new 4-door sedan features classic Bentley design language, with muscular sporting lines that were penned to �flow' and give an impression of speed. Prominent round headlamps, with only slightly smaller round outboard lamps, are set on each side of the large rectangular mesh Bentley grille. From the side, the Mulsanne offers a lower and sleeker greenhouse that emphasizes its tall beltline, the maker says. Like the Brooklands, the trailing edge of the front quarter panel is adorned with characteristic lower front wing vents (or "gills"). The rear of the Mulsanne offers styling similar to the Continental, with large LED tail lamps and oversized oval chrome exhaust pipes. Completing the package are oversized wheels, nearly filling their wells.

The interior of the new Mulsanne offers a modern cabin that showcases the latest high-tech switchgear and controls. According to Bentley, the Mulsanne "will offer customers unsurpassed levels of exquisitely handcrafted wood, leather and brightware-unrivalled Crewe craftsmanship."

Hardware

The new Mulsanne was inspired by the 8-liter Bentley of 1930-31, the largest and most luxurious automobile of its time. There were only 100 examples of the 8-liter built, and it was regarded as the last �pure' grand Bentley before the company was acquired by Rolls-Royce, says the automaker. The Mulsanne reflects the 8-liter's spirit to design and engineer without compromise.

Bentley has released very few details on the engine and powertrain as of this writing. The engine has been confirmed as an all-new variant of the company's famous 6.75-liter V-8, completely redesigned to, as Bentley claims, set new levels of comfort, acceleration and refinement. According to Bentley, the new powerplant "is a state-of-the-art engine with advanced technical features which are ground-breaking for the company and the ultra-luxury sector." The automaker says they have replaced "every significant part" of the powerplant to improve acceleration, performance, fuel efficiency and to lower emissions.
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