At last, we have the first official photos and news of the new Bentley Mulsanne. Unveiled at the 2009 Pebble Beach concours d’elegance, the new Mulsanne is the long awaited successor to the Bentley Arnage, ending speculation that the new limo could be tagged Grand or similar.
This is the finished version of the Bentley CAR scooped a few weeks ago – and now we can finally see it in full production trim. And the Mulsanne is a hugely important car for Crewe. Believe it or not, the last bespoke Bentley limousine was the 8-litre of 1930 (shown in our picture gallery above right); since then every big Bentley, including the Arnage, has been a Rolls-Royce badge engineering exercise.
New Bentley Mulsanne: the first photos
Now the disguise has been shorn from the Project Kimberley prototype, we see the finished Mulsanne. CAR has now seen it in the metal and it’s clearly a member of the modern Bentley family, yet is distinguished just enough from the Continental family to justify the step-up in price. Unlike the Conti range, the Mulsanne price tag will start with a ‘2’ when sales start in summer 2010.
One bodystyle will be sold this time round (the Arnage was sold in regular and RL long-wheelbase trim) and it follows the classic four-door saloon format, albeit with a swooping rear end and strong muscular shoulders accentuated towards the back. That long, arcing C-pillar is especially stylish and hints at the privacy afforded to rear-seat passengers.
We like! What’s underneath the Mulsanne’s bonnet?
Bentley is playing it cool, holding much of the engineering and interior details back until the 2009 Frankfurt motor show. But we do know that the Mulsanne will stick with a thoroughly upgraded version of the Arnage’s 6.75-litre V8 driving the rear wheels.
No figures have been made available yet, but studying where the Arnage left off and bearing in mind current VW Group engineering prowess, we’d be very surprised if the Mulsanne sported less than 500bhp and 738lb ft of low-strung twist. Not bad for a 50-year-old lump.
Where’s all the clever CO2-saving tech we’ve been promised?
Be patient! Bentley has vowed to cut CO2 emissions by 40% in three years’ time, so there’s still plenty of time left for techy innovation. Bentley’s stated percentage cut points to further developments of Bentley’s biofuel expertise (check out the E85 Continental Supersports for proof that clean can equal fun) or an application of the group’s knowledge of TDI diesel or hybrid tech.
And don’t forget that the new Mulsanne will – over time – spawn replacements for the Azure convertible and Brooklands coupé models. All testament to Crewe’s 600 engineers working on the Mulsanne programme.
>> Stay tuned to CAR Online for more on the Bentley Mulsanne in the run-up to the 2009 Frankfurt motor show