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Future models - Bentley - Mulsanne

Mulsanne to continue Bentley V8 tradition

Bent 8 Bentley: The new Bentley Mulsanne will go on sale in Australia in the third quarter of 2010.

Fully reworked 6.75-litre twin-turbo V8 to power Bentley’s new Mulsanne flagship

Bentley logo6 Apr 2010

By MARTON PETTENDY

BENTLEY has announced that its all-new Mulsanne limousine will follow the tradition of previous top-shelf sedans from the British brand by being powered by a twin-turbocharged 6.75-litre petrol V8.

The Volkswagen-owned luxury marque says the more powerful 377kW/1020Nm hand-built V8, mated to a new eight-speed automatic transmission, will allow the Mulsanne to accelerate to 100km/h in a sportscar-like 5.3 seconds.

Still, that’s not as quick as the new Bentley flagship’s most direct rival in Rolls-Royce’s upcoming Ghost, which runs a BMW-developed 420kW/780Nm 6.6-litre direct-injection twin-turbocharged petrol V12 and is claimed to accomplish the 0-100 sprint in just 4.9 seconds.

Confirmation that a “completely re-engineered” version of the outgoing Arnage flagship’s twin-turbo “6¾” V8 – a configuration that celebrated its 50th anniversary last year – arrives in the latest instalment of Bentley’s slow-release launch campaign for the Mulsanne, which debuted publicly at Pebble Beach last August.

The news disproves earlier reports the Mulsanne would come with a detuned version of the quad-turbo W16 engine from sister company Bugatti’s Veyron supercar, or even a 6.0-litre turbo-diesel from Audi’s Q7 V12 TDI.

While first Australian deliveries of the Ghost, the price of which was recently reduced to $645,000 driveaway, begin around June, the Mulsanne enters production by mid-2010 ahead of a third-quarter local release.

It will cost £220,000 ($A365,476) in the UK, but could cost double that by the time it arrives here. The final iteration of the Arnage sedan it replaces was priced at 628,637 plus on-road costs in Australia, while the most expensive Supersports versions of Bentley’s entry-level Continental are priced at more than $500,000 and the Arnage-based Azure convertible was last sold at nearly $750,000.

54 center imageBentley says its latest V8 comprises more than 300 new or significantly re-engineered components and gains camshaft phasing and variable displacement technologies to reduce fuel consumption and emissions by 15 per cent, improve engine idle quality and deliver 5kW more peak power and 20Nm of extra peak torque – the latter at a lazier 1750rpm.

No official efficiency figures are given, but the Arnage and Azure’s previous 6.75-litre V8 – an engine configuration also seen in the original Mulsanne, as well as the Brooklands, Turbo R and S2 Continental – offered ‘only’ 373kW and 1000Nm, but drank premium unleaded at a rate of up to 19.5L/100km.

Every new V8 takes almost 30 hours to produce at the company’s Crewe headquarters in England and will continue to be fitted with a plaque personally signed by its builder.

According to Bentley, every Mulsanne V8 is hand-assembled before being balanced and tested and over an 80-minute cycle in the engine workshop, including a ‘hot testing’ process that varies engine load from idle to maximum revs to simulate real-world driving conditions.

“Our new V8 takes nearly 30 hours to build and we never release an engine to our colleagues in the main build hall until we are literally prepared to put our name to it,” said Bentley’s senior engine production manager Phil Cooper.

“Every element of the engine’s performance is analysed and recorded before it is sent through to the build hall.”

New lightweight components include pistons, connecting rods and a forged crankshaft, in an effort to reduce reciprocating mass and internal friction for improved engine response, while a new fuel-saving system closes the valves in half of the engine’s eight cylinders while cruising.

A new body construction facility especially for the Arnage successor, which will be available with a choice of 114 exterior colours, 21 carpet colours, nine wood veneers and 24 interior leather hides.

Bentley says it has already received enough interest in its all-new range-topper to exceed its production targets for 2010, following more than 1000 private viewings of the Mulsanne by potential buyers in the UK, Europe and the US.

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