What is it? The first completely new car from Bentley in 75 years
The basics: V-8 and all-wheel drive
On sale: Next year, with a public showing and more details at the Frankfurt Auto Show
Price: $300,000 (est.)
The 2011 Bentley Mulsanne has been revealed for the first time at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours.
Bentley uncrated the new vehicle on the lawn at Pebble Beach, just prior to the beginning of the awards ceremony for the annual classic-car event.
Bentley says the new Mulsanne--named for the 90-degree corner at Le Mans--follows the end of production for the Arnage sedan, but is not a direct replacement. While the current Arnage dates back to the days when Bentley and Rolls-Royce were joined under one corporate banner--with Bentley playing the role of junior partner--the new car is a fresh design that's expected to challenge the latest Rolls-Royce Phantom directly, with a pricetag of $300,000 or more.
Inspiration comes from the 8-liter Bentley from 1930-1931, a car which Bentley also displayed at Pebble Beach. The new car bears a passing resemblance to today's Continental Flying Spur but appears more massive, with a more traditional shape to its grille, headlamps and in particular, its D-pillar. Its chamfered fenders echo the other cars in the Bentley lineup, and its visual heft pits it squarely in Phantom and Maybach territory.
The cabin brings with it top-drawer wood, leather and brightware trim, crafted by hand.
Bentley confirms the new car will have a V-8 engine, but promises more details in a month at the 2009 Frankfurt auto show. It does offer that the new engine is a complete redesign of the existing 6.75-liter V-8, replacing every significant part to improve acceleration, performance throughout the range and fuel efficiency and emissions, all to deliver the expected wave of torque.
Sales begin in mid-2010.