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The new Bentley Mulsanne is a luxury car produced by Bentley Motors Limited in the United Kingdom. The name is derived from Bentley’s historical racing pedigree, which included five victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans — the Mulsanne Straight being the stretch of the Le Mans racing circuit where cars reach their highest speeds.
Bentley has brought back the Mulsanne nameplate that was last used in 1992, and this model replaces the Bentley Arnage. The new Mulsanne was unveiled at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, on 16 August 2009. Coupe and convertible variants are expected to follow at some point as replacements for the Arnage-based Brooklands and Azure respectively.
Like the Arnage, the Mulsanne retains the 6.75 L (6750 cc/411 in³) OHV V8 engine, modified to meet Euro V emissions regulations. The engine is lighter and features cylinder de-activation and variable cam phasing to improve fuel efficiency. Unlike the less expensive Bentley Continental Flying Spur and Bentley Continental GT, the Mulsanne shares fewer components with other marques in the Volkswagen Group.
The Mulsanne is the first flagship car to be independently designed by Bentley Motors in nearly 80 years; the last being W.O. Bentley’s 8 litre model in 1930. Afterward, most Bentleys shared platforms with Rolls-Royce cars.
The first vehicle produced, with chassis number one, was sold in August 2009 at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance auction for 0,000.
Features include stainless steel knobs on the dashboard that control the vent plungers are electronic micro switches that control electric servos. The feedback remains that of a metal rod to control the damper. Other features include the large wheels with small sidewalled tyres, which give an echo of the ride qualities of the 1920s Bentleys.
Each car takes twelve weeks to produce. Customers have a choice of 114 paint colours, 21 carpet colours, nine wood veneers, and 24 interior leather hides, as well as specify a custom colour scheme. The rear seating area may be configured to accommodate either 2 or 3 passengers. Optional is a Naim 2200 watt audio system with MP3, Bluetooth, and an MMI capability.
At the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show, the Executive Interior Concept (EIC) contains many technologies commonly found in offices to assist executives while on the road. The rear passenger area features three LCD screens powered by an Apple Mac mini located in the trunk, with additional iPads in fold out trays connected through Bluetooth keyboards. Additional features include in-car wifi, iPods with docking stations, and integration of the many devices to the car’s Naim audio system.