While limiting the amount of specific details revealed prior to the car's formal debut in Frankfurt next month, Bentley did display its all-new Mulsanne at the Pebble Beach Concours D'Elegance in Monterey, California. The next flagship of the marque's storied fleet was joined by the vehicle that had served as its inspiration: a 1930 Bentley 8-liter which had been owned by the firm's namesake, W.O. Bentley. The new Mulsanne is the first "big Bentley" to be designed, engineered and built from the ground up in house since that classic was created some 80 years earlier.
Created under the leadership of Dirk Van Braeckel, this imposing sedan features an all-new platform and will be powered by a V8 engine. Although Bentley released no information on its displacement or output, there's reason to believe it will be a massively redesigned variation of Bentey's existing 6.75-liter twin-turbocharged unit that will make more power and offer improved fuel efficiency than the engine currently used in its Brooklands and Azure as well as the Arnage model, which it will ultimately replace. Named after a corner on the Le Mans circuit where Bentley has won the fabled 24-hour race no less than six times, the Mulsanne offers a contemporary take on sporty styling while paying direct homage to its forbear in elements like its headlight treatment and flowing character lines. It's a look that Crispin Marshfield, senior designer, that the exterior styling for the Bentley categorizes as "a fusion of extremes."
In presenting the Mulsanne, Dr. Franz-Josef Paefgen, chairman and chief executive of Bentley Motors, said: "The challenge we set our engineers was to create a grand new 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 new Mulsanne is scheduled to go on sale in mid-2010.