Bentley has just unveiled the replacement for the Arnage, the Bentley Mulsanne, at the Pebble Beach Concours in California.
The new car will go on sale next year as the range-topping Bentley.
The Mulsanne is described by Bentley as “neither an evolution or revision of Arnage.” It is a clean sheet design, and nothing on the car’s exterior is shared with any other Bentley apart from the door mirror, which comes from the ethanol-powered SuperSports.
Every panel is unique to the Mulsanne – even the door handles have been developed for the car – and it features many handmade parts, including the fillet of metal below the rear window, constructed from three pieces of metal and brazed by hand.
Bentley’s head of exterior design Raul Piris, who has worked at the firm’s Crewe HQ since 1999, said this allowed them to produce a car that looks expensive, and more modern than the Arnage.
“The Mulsanne combines the technological feel of the Continental models with the prestige of the Arnage,” he said. “But we wanted to preserve the Arnage’s exclusivity, and avoid duplicating the Continental’s look. The Mulsanne needs to express a higher level of a coachbuilt look, and be more bespoke.”
The unusual quad headlamps are a further development of the round headlamp theme that has featured on every Bentley built in the firms’ 90-year history. They are, according to Piris, inspired by the lighting arrangement from the 1955 Continental Flying Spur S1.
Under the bonnet is a heavily updated version of the Arnage’s L-series 6.75-litre V8, which can trace its origins back to the firm’s first V8 from 1959. Bentley’s engineers have made many changes to the engine to make it suitable for the car and to pass modern emissions legislation.
Lighter, more efficient components such as the water pump and many new internal components help to cut the engine’s mass and improve fuel consumption. The engine is also said to be fitted with new fuel-saving technology, which could include cylinder deactivation.
The engine also has improved torque delivery, with much more available lower down the rev range. Bentley isn’t yet revealing how much torque or power this engine has, although it’s unlikely to much more than the current unit’s 738lb ft.
The Mulsanne comes with 21-inch alloy wheels with 265/40 Pirelli P Zero tyres. Bentley hasn’t confirmed the car’s top speed but these tyres are rated to 186mph so, unlike the Flying Spur, it’s unlikely this car will be capable of topping 200mph.