Echoing the Bentley S -Type of the 1950s, the Mulsanne features a bold frontal design dominated by the traditional Bentley matrix grille and highly prominent, classic round inner headlamps with chrome surrounds, flanked by two, smaller outboard lamp clusters, all featuring the latest in lighting technology.
The long hood, short front overhang and long rear overhang help to convey a sense of power and movement, reinforced by muscular haunches and sharply sculptured lines which flow gracefully from the front wings to the rear.
Design Director Dirk van Braeckel explains the inspiration behind the Mulsanne’s distinctive appearance: “The opportunity to design a new flagship Bentley is something afforded to very few designers.
"The team set out to create a sculpted form that blended classic Bentley heritage cues with modern lines that allow the marque to stride confidently into the 21st century.”
The body is produced in a new manufacturing facility at Bentley’s headquarters in Crewe where traditional metalworking skills are still used extensively during the nine-week build process.
The rear screen, for example is fully enveloped by the coachwork. This provides a flowing, flawless line to the rear of the car, complementing the exquisitely formed D-pillars – whose complex curves can only be created by skilled coach-builders.
The complex form of the aluminium front wings, impossible to achieve with normal pressing techniques, is created usingsuperforming, a technology usually reserved for the aerospace industry. This also makes the wings both lighter, stiffer and provides superb surface definition.
Other lightweight materials, such as the composite bootlid, are used to remove mass wherever possible without compromising quality.
As Head of Interior Design, Robin Page says: “Over 170 hours – almost half the entire build process – goes into crafting the interior of the new Mulsanne. At Crewe, Bentley’s way of working is the opposite of mass production – we start where others stop.”
The use of wood and leather hides has increased significantly to create an even more refined and luxurious cabin. While classic design features such as bulls-eye air vents (now also fitted in the rear compartment), mirror-matched wood veneers, leather hides and hand-finished stainless steel are retained, they are mixed with new touches such as glass switches.
Dr Ulrich Eichhorn, Bentley Motors’ Director of Engineering, explains the reasons behind the Mulsanne’s V8:“Using our V8 guaranteed the immense power at low revs and unstressed performance that are the hallmarks of a flagship Bentley. But we also set our engineers the challenge of maintaining high levels of refinement at any speed and, equally important, improving efficiency.”
New lightweight componentry including pistons, connecting rods and forged crankshaft reduce reciprocating mass and internal friction for improved engine response.
Type: Twin-turbocharged V8
Installation: Front, longitudinal, rear-wheel drive
Construction: Alloy heads and block
Power: 512PS / 505bhp / 377kW
Torque: 1020Nm / 752 lb ft