Bentley is one of the most famous names in the automotive industry. The name is essentially synonymous to the best in British car engineering, with its high level of sophistication, technology, manufacturing, and luxury, seen in all of its cars. Today, it is the brand of choice for many celebrities, businessmen, and affluent people, opting for famous models like the Continental T and the Azure that have placed very good numbers of Bentley sales. These 2 models, however, owe their lineage to a car named the Bentley Mulsanne, an iconic model that paved the way for many of Bentley’s famous modern models today.
The Mulsanne, named after the “Mulsanne Straight” of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, was created with the intent of epitomizing the essence of what it is to be a Bentley car: high performance, topnotch luxury, advanced engineering. This was achieved by using some of the most expensive materials, machinery, and technology of its day, a truly top-of-the-line vehicle produced between 1980 and 1992.
Originally, the Mulsanne was equipped with a 6.75L Rolls-Royce V8 engine which had cylinder heads made out of aluminum alloy, with a 3-speed automatic transmission system. A Bosch fuel injection system replaced the original SU carburettors on cars made after 1986, and continued on until the end of production.
However, the original Mulsanne model was not the only one made. In 1982, the Geneva Motor Show saw the unveiling of the Mulsanne Turbo, a version of the Mulsanne whose main feature is a Garrett AiResearch turbocharger that gave a 50% increase in engine power. On top of this, the Mulsanne Turbo also featured an upgraded interior, using polished walnut veneered fascia, luxury carpets, pure wool headlining, and the best leather available.
It was a very exclusive car, with only 498 short wheelbase versions ever built, and eventually paved the way for the development of the Bentley Turbo R.
Another variant of the Mulsanne is the Mulsanne S, introduced in 1987 in an effort to revitalize the original. It didn’t have the extra engine power of the Turbo, but it featured many of the features that would appear in the Bentley Turbo R, like changes in the headlamps, wheels, suspension, and interior. It lasted for five years, with the last Mulsanne S appearing in 1992.
In 2010, the Mulsanne has made a comeback, coming in the form of the new Bentley Mulsanne. Like its original predecessor, it is made to symbolize the best in being a Bentley vehicle, and was made to be the company’s new flagship model. It is equipped with a powerful 6.75L V8 engine that is clean enough to meet the Euro V emission standards. Along with this, are redesigned modern interior features, exterior features, and cutting-edge engineering.
With this new model, the Mulsanne name is poised to add more to the legacy of Bentley cars for years to come.