The Bentley Mulsanne was designed to epitomise the ethos associated with this famed British manufacturer of luxury cars.
Originally released in 1980, the Mulsanne's name refers to a particular part of the track which makes up the 24 Hour Le Mans race at which it was particularly successful during the 1920s and '30s.
As these competitive racing associations suggest, the Mulsanne was intended to be fast and nimble while still retaining the interior opulence and ride comfort for which Bentley saloons are known.
A 6.75 litre V8 engine from Rolls-Royce was fitted to the first Mulsanne while a 3 speed automatic gearbox was a standard feature on all models of this first generation.
Two years after the launch a turbo charger was added to the Mulsanne, giving it a significant power boost. This model was on sale until 1985, at which point the dedicated Bentley Turbo R model range was introduced to replace it.
Seven years into its life the Mulsanne got a slight rebranding and updating with the arrival of the Mulsanne S.
This was essentially a non-turbo edition of the newer Turbo R and it borrowed various interior and exterior elements, remaining in production until 1992.
While the Mulsanne as a marque was killed off at this stage, this car remained the basis for all Bentleys well into the 1990s and was itself created using the Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit platform.
Bentley resurrected the Mulsanne in 2010 when it fleshed out its range with a new flagship vehicle.
A twin-turbocharged 6.75 litre engine and eight speed auto gearbox gives this new model excellent performance credentials to match its namesake.
The attention to detail which Bentley applies to each of its models is still on show here, since those who order a new Mulsanne will have to wait for three months while it is put together.
While the contemporary Mulsanne is packed with modern technology, many of the design cues and styling choices have been made in order to help it hark back to previous models produced by Bentley.
One advantage of this modern iteration is that fuel efficiency and emissions regulations mean that it is greener and less thirsty than the first Mulsanne. This is of course all relative, because it remains a powerful beast.
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