AFTER TRICKLING out a handful of photos and details of its Mulsanne luxury limousine late last year, Bentley has now revealed more information on the all-new Phantom-fighter.
The Mulsanne will replace the aging Arnage in Bentley's line-up, and will become the new flagship for the British marque. Redesigned from the ground-up, the Mulsanne shares nothing with its predecessor.
Like the Arnage, the Mulsanne's V8 engine displaces 6.75 litres. From there, though, the similarities end.
Variable cam phasing and cylinder shutdown (akin to Holden's AFM system) help reduce fuel consumption, while lightweight internal components, new tuning and flow-optimised intake and exhaust tracts boost power and torque.
The result is a peak power output of 377kW at 4200rpm and an astonishing peak torque figure of 1020Nm, which is fully available from just 1750rpm. The Mulsanne will run from 0-100km/h in just 5.3 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 296km/h.
Fuel economy is claimed to have been improved by 15 percent compared to the Arnage, but precise numbers have yet to be released.
An eight-speed automatic transmission is mated to the new V8, and drivers can manually select gears via a pair of column-mounted paddle shifters.
Unlike the Continental range, the Mulsanne is rear-wheel drive only.
The chassis is entirely new as well, and is both stiffer and lighter than the Arnage's 12 year-old platform. Aluminium has been used in the front fenders, bonnet and doors to bring weight down, while the bootlid is plastic.
Double wishbones connect the front wheels to the chassis, and the Mulsanne's multi-link independent rear has been designed to harness the engine's prodigious torque while providing a comfortable ride.
Other suspension hardware consists of air springs and electronically-adjustable dampers, which can be tuned via a console-mounted rotary knob.
'Sport', 'Comfort' and 'Bentley' (we assume the latter means 'Normal') modes are offered, and drivers can also create their own custom settings for the suspension and steering via the multifunction display.
The suspension also automatically lowers the Mulsanne at high speed to decrease drag and reduce lift, and the standard 20-inch wheels with 265/45R20 tyres ensure there's plenty of grip.
A range of 21-inch wheels are also available.
A pair of two-piece 400mm ventilated discs and huge Bentley-branded calipers are fixed to the front hubs, while 370mm two-piece discs rein in the rear wheels.
Inside, the Mulsanne cossets its occupants in leather, woodwork and polished metal. An eight-inch LCD screen hides behind a wood-trimmed panel in the upper dash, and displays data for the sat-nav system, 60GB hard disk entertainment system and optional TV.
A 14-speaker stereo system with a sutie of auxillary and iPod inputs is standard, while a 20-speaker premium audio package can be optioned.
Both front seats feature 14-way electric adjustment, and the outboard rear seats are 8-way adjustable.
There are 24 colours of leather trim available, and 23 colours for the seatbelt webbing. Nine different wod veneer options are offered for the Mulsanne.
Australian pricing and a local launch date have yet to be announced, but US pricing is expected to start at US$285,000 ($315,000).