Rolls-Royce may be the foremost luxury brand in the world, but don’t tell that to Bentley because the latter is out to prove to its estranged sibling that it’s bent on taking over the top spot with the 2011 Bentley Mulsanne, the company’s all-new flagship car tourer.
Bentley’s new luxury car, which it is proclaiming as the “pinnacle” of luxury cars, made a resounding world debut at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours, drawing the attention of a throng of spectators who were there to witness the unveiling of Bentley’s newest toy. The Mulsanne, which was named after the infamous 90-degree turn at Le Mans, will be officially launched at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show but that didn’t stop the folks from Bentley from giving the gathered crowd at Pebble Beach a first-glance at the car that is shaping up to become the Phantom’s greatest adversary.
Significant for being Bentley’s first all-new originally designed car since the 1930’s, the Mulsanne was created using its predecessor, company founder W.O. Bentley’s 1930 Bentley 8-liter model, as the inspiration. Then again, the Mulsanne is more than just beauty on wheels. While most of its technical details are being withheld until its official unveiling at Frankfurt, Bentley did give a glimpse of what’s sitting under the Mulsanne’s polished hood: an all-new 6.75-liter V8 engine.
2010 Detroit reveal video added
The British coach builder Bentley Motors had a few surprises in store for the crowd at the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit when they presented the all new Bentley Mulsanne and ’Series 51’ designer edition Continental GTC convertible. The first new car show of the season marks the official North American debut for the flagship Mulsanne, claimed to be the pinnacle of luxury, the all new Bentley made a resounding world debut at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours, drawing the attention from the throngs of spectators who were in attendance to witness the unveiling of the luxury limousine that has been named after the infamous 250 MPH back straight at Le Mans, which will be arriving in showrooms in the fall for $285,000.
Press release after the jump.
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.