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2011 Bentley Mulsanne Preview

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2011 Bentley Mulsanne

2011 Bentley Mulsanne

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With the all-new 2011 Bentley Mulsanne, there's reason to believe that Bentley has a little grudge against its former sibling Rolls-Royce. Today's live display at the 2009 Frankfurt auto show reveals the car's ambitions even more clearly, as you can see in the gallery below.

The Mulsanne had its world debut at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours back in August, and Bentley makes no veiled references to challenging Rolls-Royce's Phantom with the new sedan. They're saying it outright, calling the Mulsanne the "pinnacle" of luxury cars.

The ultra-luxury automaker has a lot riding on the car so it’s not surprising that each example takes a total of nine weeks to complete. After all, the Mulsanne is Bentley's first all-new car since the 1930s (The Continental range shares some minor pieces with other Volkswagen Group products).

Named for the 90-degree turn at Le Mans, the Mulsanne arrives in the middle of next year with a pricetag likely approaching $300,000, before any custom finishes or materials are specified.

The design's a blend of a traditional silhouette with some modern detailing, less so than the smaller Continental range. 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 round inner headlamps with chrome surrounds, flanked by two smaller outboard lamp clusters. The iconic ‘Flying B’ retractable radiator mascot is available as an option. Uniquely designed 20-inch wheels (and optional 21-inch) reinforce the Mulsanne’s powerful, sporting stance.

2011 Bentley Mulsanne

2011 Bentley Mulsanne

Enlarge Photo

But it’s not all about style. Such an imposing car needs an equally impressive powertrain and thankfully Bentley’s engineers didn’t disappoint in this area. Power in the Mulsanne comes from a totally revised version of the automaker’s 6.75-liter V-8 engine, which has been updated with cam phasing and variable displacement technologies to help reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Bentley’s ‘power-on-demand’ system simply closes the valves of four of the eight cylinders for maximum fuel economy when cruising.

New lightweight componentry including pistons, connecting rods and forged crankshaft reduce reciprocating mass and internal friction for improved engine response.

The end result is a healthy 505 horsepower and a massive 752 pound-feet of torque, the latter delivered at just 1,800 rpm. Drive is sent to the rear wheels via a ZF 8-speed automatic transmission equipped with steering-wheel mounted paddle shifters.

Complementing the new powertrain is an all-new chassis, unique to the new Mulsanne. Both lighter and stiffer than previous flagship Bentleys, the new chassis benefits both ride and handling.

A new Drive Dynamics Control system operated by a rotary switch mounted next to the gearshift selector can be used to select from three driving modes--Bentley, Sport and Comfort--offering precise calibration of suspension and steering control systems. A fourth mode, ‘Custom’, allows the driver to select their own settings via the multimedia system to ‘tune’ the Mulsanne to a preferred driving style.

A new air suspension system with continuously variable dampers creates an even more refined and comfortable ride at lower speeds, and can reduce the Mulsanne’s ride height automatically at high speeds to reduce lift and improve aerodynamic stability.

Body measurements come in at 219-inches in length, 75.8-inches in width, 60-inches in height and 128.6-inches for the wheelbase.


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Comments (19)
  1. Beautiful, much better than the spy shots we saw from the factory a few days ago. A worthy competitor to the Phantom.
     
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  2. Yeah agree much better than the initial spy photos, look forward to the T model and interior shots; Mulsanne the insane...
     
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  3. Not bad, can't wait for details on the engine
     
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  4. Hmmmm, I'd have to say it appears to have a somewhat dumb founded look/smile going on under the front bumper. Also the out side lamps sitting lower than the main head lamps look like an after thought. Rather than bringing back past styling cues why not go for a completely new look instead?
     
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  5. I don't know,,, the design is qutie unique but I don't think the rich will actually buy this car.
     
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  6. Only thing i see wrong with this car is the front bumper/air damn that looks like it was clicked into place... you would think a $300k+ car would have almost zero visible seams... still looks cool tho
     
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  7. I hate to say it, but this looks bad, when i first saw it, my heart kinda stopped thinking if that odd looking vehicle is a bentley.
     
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  8. Looks O.K from the rear and side. However the front looks like something the Koreans would have done ten years ago- then rejected! And the campy armed guard and piper arrival? Well, that is just plain embaressing to watch...
     
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  9. That thing looks like it has come out of China... As a rip off another Bentley... It is absolutely hideous. Big, expensive cars are supposed to be strong, muscular and powerful looking - that looks like it has been drawn some who was high at the time, and I think it will be just a bit too weird for most people...
    Yeah... The back's OK though, and inside it will be amazing...
     
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  10. Well, congratulations Bentley for fugling up your image. The author is right though: something this disgustingly ugly will instantly appeal to the Mayback and Phantom buyer. Should be a big seller in the Middle East and anywhere Puff Daddy lives.
     
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  11. I'm sorry, but this car has a permanent goofy grin on its face. Can't see it? Look again. And it's a GOOFY grin, with Botoxed eyes, to boot! As others have said, it looks like a Korean knock-off of a Bentley. Very sad.
     
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  12. It's very interesting visually - Definitely not boring to gaze at although several details are a bit too "Rolls Royce" for my personal tastes.
    As far as the arrangement of the lighting - It's clearly a re-interpretation of the lighting array on the 1952-55 R-Type Continentals. I particularly enjoy the Gatling-Gun effect of the LED's...
    ...overall, I believe Bentley have hit their mark and this will appeal to their targeted market far better than Maybach.
    ...as for the intro w/ the Bagpipes, etc - This is a British product: Almost every major premium British thing includes an introduction with Bagpipes, whether it be a new oceanliner, a new department store or a Bentley. I don't care much for the recorded sound of the pipes either, but when I've seen/heard them played live while in England & Scotland I found it thouroughly enjoyable.
     
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  13. Wish we had the old sized photos from the old site back. God forbid you waste bandwidth on large pictures.
     
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  14. What can I say... the headlight is certainly unique and eye-catching with all those l.e.d. surround, but shape of the car is ok.
    Google up "the car" - a 1977 horror film and that's what the front of this Bentley reminds me of. ( not in a bad way, I'm just comparing... )
     
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  15. Now you guys finaly let me say the reall thing that's on my mind, cause when I first posted the comment, I thoght it was only I that thought this car looks like a shit.
    AND PLEASE don't compare the car's desingn with stoneage-korean cars. Hyundai HAS grown up quite much. Genesis wasn't so bad...
    My damn god, what has the Bently desingners been thinking?? I would MUCH rather buy the old version. That car is a very bad mix of 2009 Bently Continental Flying Spur and Rolls-Royce.
    and let me ask you guys this,,, Why don't you guys don't say much about Bently being a copy-cat from Rolls royce, while claming that Hyundai Genesis is a very much copycat of other cars, while it isn't, except for the body line. I'd like to know...
     
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  16. No V-12 engine?
    But the lower Continental has a V-12
    So why would this have a V8 to battle the Phantom with its V12?
     
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  17. I just put this car next to the Rolls Royce Ghost and i have to say the Ghost is better in every way. It looks much better, looks WAYYYYY more authentic (the Bentley does somewhat look like a wanna-be knockoff), and its probably faster as well (i doubt the huge body Mulsanne can do 0-60 in 4.8).
     
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  18. @ Harry - You forgot to mention that the Ghost will get a more bespoke and more powerful V12 engine and will also be $100k cheaper!
     
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  19. I think it looks tremendously luxurious and rich. It has 750 ft-lbs of torque with the classic bently engine re-built from the ground up I believe. You don't punch past this without trying really really hard, and therefore blowing your cool. But the 6.6L Twin turbo V12 pushes all the right buttons for me. It sounds like my dream engine. Down on torque but up 60hp. I think the Bond of 2020 would drive the Ghost. It's a hard choice, but neither embarrasses the other.
     
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