Bentley Mulsanne Askam-in-Furness
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The new ‘grand’ Bentley has emerged from the shadows. These are the first official pictures of the car dubbed the Mulsanne, which will replace the Arnage.
After countless spy shots showing the model in disguise, the Rolls-Royce Phantom rival was revealed at the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance in Monterey, California.
It’s tipped to cost more than £350,000,and Bentley insiders say the hand-built stunner will set new standards for levels of refinement and personalisation in the luxury car sector.
The Mulsanne will make its European debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month, where details about the specification will be released. It will go on sale in 2010, and be built in Britain.
Inspired by the 8 Litre of the Thirties, this new masterpiece represents the first big Bentley designed, engineered and built from the ground up by the company for nearly 80 years. The outgoing Arnage has its roots in the firm’s association with Rolls-Royce, with which it shared a chassis and engine technology.
The Mulsanne also makes the most of Bentley’s association with the Le Mans 24-hour endurance race, taking its name from the circuit’s famous corner.
The car gets a new and unique platform, and is at least 30cm longer than the Arnage, giving striking looks and real road presence. Key to the new appearance is the arrangement of the front lights, which are reminiscent of the firm’s Continental models, both past and present.
At the rear, there are oval exhausts and lozenge-shaped elements in the smooth lamps. There’s also no missing those enormous alloy wheels, which at more than 20 inches are the largest currently available on a production road car.
Sharp bodywork creases, plus subtle surface changes, help to give the Mulsanne an up-to-date look, while still honouring the style and feel of past models.
The new car will use the next generation of Bentley’s 6.75-litre V8 petrol engine, producing more than 550bhp and up to 1000Nm of torque. This should allow the limo to hit a top speed of about 200mph.
Eventually, the company may also release diesel and hybrid models of the Mulsanne – and tune the V8 engine to burn biofuels. But Bentley is not planning to release a long-wheelbase version of the new car, as it believes its extra length will satisfy most owners.