The Bentley Mulsanne is reaching the end of its production life. We take a trip down memory lane to take a look at the history of one of the most legendary luxury performance sedans to come out of Crewe.
The Bentley Mulsanne, which is still the current flagship model of the Bentley lineup - and along with the Rolls Royce Phantom - is the most expensive sedan you can buy today. However, the legendary performance luxury sedan has now reached the end of its journey, for now.
The recent generation Mulsanne has now completed 10 years of production and it will be phased out and the Flying Spur, which is essentially the four-door version of the Continental GT, will become the new flagship model for Bentley Motors.
Now, the Mulsanne goes further back in time than the current model. The current generation Mulsanne was in production from 2010 up until this year, but the previous generation Mulsanne was around from 1980 to 1992. And to understand why this car was called the Mulsanne we have to go even further back in time.
Mr W O Bentley was a huge racing fanatic and he wanted to make the best sports cars on the planet, and as it turns out, he was pretty good at building engines. So good, that between 1924 and 1930, the famed Bentley boys won the 24 Hours of Le Mans five-time. The part of the racetrack during that time was called the Mulsanne Straight and it was this 6km stretch that allowed drivers to max out their vehicles speed and the Bentleys would always dominate. Since 1990 though, two chicanes have been added to the straight.
So, when Bentley launched their new T Series in 1980, they named it the Mulsanne to pay homage to their legendary motorsport heritage. And wallah, one of the most iconic luxury performance sedans was welcomed to the world.
Creation of a legend
The original Mulsanne came with the 6.75-litre V8 Rolls Royce engine mated a three-speed automatic transmission. The car was also based on the Rolls Royce Silver Spirit. The Mulsanne Turbo launched in 1982 was set to give Bentley its own character back from Rolls Royce ownership, and so it came with 50 per cent more power over the normally aspirated Mulsanne so that it would be more driver focused.
The Turbo R model came out just a few years later and that model produced a rather large output of 300bhp with almost 600Nm of torque. The Mulsanne was now competing with the likes of the Aston Martin and the Ferrari. The Mulsanne of that era sold just over 2000 units until production came to an end in 1994.
Fast forward to 2010 and the legendary Arnage was now coming to its production end, and so Bentley decided to reintroduce the Mulsanne. Again, it came with the legendary 6.75-lite V8, but with a twin-turbo and mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission. It was also the first car to be independently designed by Bentley Motors in over 80 years.
The Mulsanne Speed was introduced in 2014, and the power output for this luxury performance sedan was now rated at 530bhp and 1,100Nm of torque - enough to put it at the top with some of the best performance cars in the world. This massive car weighed over 2 and a half tons but could sprint from 0-100km/h in just 4.5 seconds.
Of course, the interiors of the Mulsanne have always been as luxurious as ever. With its high price tag, you obviously get what you pay for and all Bentley cars have been the epitome of luxury and fine craftsmanship. The Mulsanne got even fancier when it came with an extended wheelbase variant in 2016.
End of an Era
Unfortunately, the 6.75-litre V8 engine in the Mulsanne, which is the longest continuously produced V8 engine since 1959, can no longer be updated to meet the increasing strictness of the new EU emission norms, and so, time is now up for this legendary performance luxury sedan. The perfect sendoff is on order though, as Bentley introduced the ‘Mulsanne 6.75 Edition by Mulliner’. Only 30 units of this car will be produced and now that the factory in Crewe has reopened since the coronavirus lockdown started, the final units will be built and sent off.
There will however be no replacement for the Mulsanne as of now, and the new Flying Spur will become the flagship model for Bentley. But, the Mulsanne will certainly go down in the history books as being one of the coolest and best driving luxury sedans to have ever been built and we just might see it make a comeback somewhere in the future.