Archive for Bentley

2017 Bentley Mulsanne: A Trilogy of Luxury

Posted in Bentley, Editorials, Extreme Luxury, Luxury Sedans with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 10, 2016 by 99MilesPerHour

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“Big Ben’s” rise to ultimate success reads like a modern-day “Cinderfella” story. Poor little understudy, Bentley…was always in the shadows. As its wicked step sibling – Rolls Royce – rode off on its high horse stealing the publicity and limelight…Bentley was left behind to clean the stables. The once formidable track star – which negotiated the chicanes and the Mulsanne Straight winning numerous events in the grueling 24 hours of LeMans – was reduced to a badge engineered clone. Today’s Bentley…the all-new Bentley – is now at home behind gated estates AND is parked right beside Rolls Royce at the country club sharing the spotlight equally.

Bentley has catapulted from being a humble Rolls Royce throwback…straight to eminent immortality. The flagship of the fleet is the iconic Bentley Mulsanne. It has swiftly established its reputation in the ultra-luxury car segment being part limousine and part performance saloon. The ultra-exclusive Bentley Mulsanne is one of the world’s fastest four-door saloons. “Big Ben” is back with a vengeance and a thirst for adventure. It has carved its own niche as a new breed of luxury with three distinctive models: Mulsanne, Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase, and Mulsanne Speed. This is a unique Trilogy of Luxury – each offers its own poised dignity which is a hallmark of the brand.

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Alluring new beauty

The Mulsanne totally disregards status quo. Since its inception, it has created its own unique manner of exclusivity in a niche no other motorcar can fill. For 2017, the Bentley Mulsanne features refined new beauty. Its coachwork has been re-tooled for a familiar yet dramatically new appearance. The long, low, wind-cheating architecture draws from its retrospective heritage. The bodywork is etched with a symphony of lines that appear never beginning and never-ending forcing the eyes to roam its entirety in a single appraisal.

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Its facelift creates even more exquisite beauty. Mulsanne represents the pinnacle of elegance in ultra-luxury motoring. Its new refinement begins with a restyled front end ensemble. Everything in front of the “A” pillars has been refreshed adding graceful definition. Mulsanne’s signature styling has been retained yet tastefully updated.

The elegant redesign echoes classic Bentley styling cues. The bold new attributes features all-new front wings and bonnet. Its classic grille work has changed from the previous matrix design to a distinctive wider framed design with dominant vertical stainless-steel vanes. Its familiar LED projector headlamps proudly features the Bentley name. The grille work repeats below the impact-resistant bumper with symmetrical vents for the air induction system.

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Subtle refinement adds panache to the rear end ensemble. Newly designed taillamps highlight Mulsanne’s sculpted look. The previous ellipse style taillamps are replaced with a dramatic LED design which reveals the famous “B” motif. The discreetly modified profile gives Mulsanne a prominent, more upright appeal. Understated dual stainless-steel exhaust ports adds the finishing touch of class.

Superb engineering

The familiar silhouette has undergone a subtle enhancement. Its chiseled new definition adds unique character. Its shoulders are squared off to augment a sweeping new elegance. The side strake vents sports an integrated “B” into its stainless-steel charm. Mulsanne’s beauty is composed of a galvanized steel bodyshell with its front wings, hood and doors made from aluminium. The SMC (Sheet Molding Compound) composite bootlid has an integrated antenna.

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Mulsanne is built like no other. Bentley’s process of hand-brazing yields perfect joins around intricate curves. The bonnet, boot lid, doors, and front wings are crafted using the “Superform Process.” This patented system creates complex panels from a single sheet of product to eliminate body seams and welds. This feature not only eliminates areas for corrosion but also aids aerodynamic efficiency. Each Mulsanne is a consummate blend of design excellence, advanced engineering, and of course… exemplary fit and finish.

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Luxury and innovation

Mulsanne is a showcase of Bentley superlatives. Evolution plays an important role in the continual strive for excellence. The company flagship is one of the world’s most spacious and splendidly appointed saloons. It offers more than inert luxury; it cossets its passengers in technological sophistication. Intelligent electronics and controls assist the driver and elevates passenger comfort.

Advanced chassis refinement with more efficient air springs and hydraulically damped sub-frames eliminates noise 4 decibels more than the previous model. Noise absorbing technology in the tires results in a 50% decrease in peak rolling noise. Mulsanne’s formidable V8 does its part by reducing noise another 25 decibels using a closed loop system to cancel vibration.

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The most elegant occasion seldom surpass the splendor of the journey in the Bentley Mulsanne that took you there. The epochal Bentley brand is epitomized by the luxury and distinction of the Mulsanne. Its world-class attributes are further exemplified offering three unique expressions of this elite flagship. Each shares the unparalleled opulence that is the essence of the brand.

Mulsanne…Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase…and Mulsanne Speed all create a delightful agony of choice. Whatever model is chosen, rest assured…it will move over the road with an effortless feeling of mastery that confirms its place as the ultimate statement of Bentley engineering. They are three of the most ambitious four-door luxury saloons the world has to offer –

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Mulsanne standard wheelbase is contemporary luxury that methodically repeals the laws governing saloons in its class. This is high performance cloaked in absolute respectability. It cossets its occupants in an exclusive world of supple natural grain leather and rich handcrafted veneers. Most every power assist imaginable is standard fare to augment comfort and convenience.

The Mulsanne received cabin updates for the 2017 model year. Redesigned seats, door trim, armrests, and unique glass switch gear makes it even more opulent. In addition to 24 exquisite hide colors, Mulsanne features an all-new infotainment system and navigation technology. State of the art audio and visual equipment is available to tailor the entertainment system to the owner’s requisites. The Bentley Mulsanne can serve with equal distinction as a high performance touring saloon or the varying roles demanded of a family sedan.

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Luxury with an emphasis on the rear passenger compartment is important to those who prefer to be driven about in style. Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase is 9.8” longer than the standard saloon. This means…rear seat passengers have more legroom and room for special appointments.

Limousine-style seating makes use of the extra inches by incorporating power assisted leg rests into the base of the aircraft inspired lounge seats. These extend outward pivoting as recliners. They make the special world of Mulsanne even more so. This extra exclusive cabin is a 2+2 configuration with front and rear center consoles.

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The exclusivity is augmented with options to make the Mulsanne EWB saloon a highly bespoke masterpiece. Electric rear seat curtains may be requested with a black or champagne lining for the ultimate in privacy. Both rear seats can be ordered with deployable folding tables. A large glass sun roof over the rear cabin may be operated by passengers or the driver. It tilts and slides with an Alcantara sun blind to control light entering the cabin. The extra special accoutrements focused upon the rear seat passenger compartment sets this personal limousine apart from the standard saloon. Bentley Mulsanne is the quintessential flagship replete with an elegant flair all its own. The Mulsanne EWB saloon is luxury and elegance on the grand Bentley scale…in the grand Bentley manner –

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…welcome to elite sophistication

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Rear seat passengers benefit from the all-new “Bentley Entertainment Tablet.” A pair of 10.2” Android devices with 4G Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capability are integrated into the front seat backs and deploy at the touch of a button. The Android powered tablets feature Bentley-specific interface with access to over one million Android Apps.

They may also be used away from the car. Each tablet has 32GB on-board storage capability. The system interfaces with the car’s navigation system. Audio/Visual streaming capability is included as part of the Mulsanne’s inter-connectivity along with internet browsing. With a motorcar as highly bespoke as Mulsanne, the client may design their own exclusive suite of infotainment to interface with home or office systems.

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Mulsanne EWB is the epitome of executive-class luxury

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The famous 1929 “Blue Train” Bentley

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Introducing one of the fastest production limos in the world

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The formidable Mulsanne Speed

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The return of the silent sports car…

Mulsanne nomenclature adorned a new breed of Bentley supercars beginning the 1981 model year. Bentley Mulsanne was marketed as “The return of the silent sports car.” This spectacular motorcar revived the Grand Touring tradition with high style and a prolific presence few cars can compete… 

It targets the driver who demands luxury with extraordinary performance combined with European handling and finesse. This is the ultimate statement of Bentley sporting philosophy. The Mulsanne is named after a portion of the tracks at LeMans where drivers reach their highest speeds known as “The Mulsanne Straight.”

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The 2014 Mulsanne Speed blew the doors off its competition

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This is the ride for executives who work…quickly – 

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The illustrious Mulsanne Speed became the most spirited contemporary Bentley model joining the ranks for the 2014 model year. Mulsanne Speed for 2017 is a pulse-invigorating performance saloon that offers substantially more than performance. Talented artisans handcraft rare veneers, high quality natural grain hides, and plush pile carpets into a cabin of unsurpassed comfort and distinction.

Mulsanne Speed remains true to form being a fast sporting machine built in the classic European tradition. Performance, impressive road capabilities, silence, and superb comfort come together in the newest of a historic and elegant line of motorcars that have made Bentley the definitive choice among enthusiasts for well over half a century.

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Mulsanne Speed has its own prominent character

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Here’s a grand touring saloon that does 0-60 in 4.8 seconds

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Mulsanne Speed is one of the most tastefully appointed sporting saloons in the world. A coined finish to door handles, knurled gear shift lever, and “organ stop” ventilation controls gives the cabin its own unique personality. The drilled alloy foot pedals proves the Mulsanne Speed’s pedigree as the ultimate grand tourer. The cabin is as luxurious as it is sporting –

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1929 Bentley 6.5 litre

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The heart and soul of this British masterpiece beats the 6.75 litre light alloy 16-valve OHV twin-turbocharged V8 engine. High revs at low rpm is a Bentley hallmark. This legendary powerplant cranks an astounding 530 hp @ 4,000 rpm packing a prolific punch with 1,100 Nm of peak torque @ 1,750 rpm for the Mulsanne Speed. Mulsanne and Mulsanne EWB offers equally impressive performance pumping 505 hp @ 4,000 rpm with an astounding 1,020 Nm of peak torque at 1,750 rpm.

Its chassis is equally aggressive to accommodate this masterful motorcar. Advanced technology delivers one of the world’s most refined rides with effortless comfort via selectable sports suspension to fine tune the ride to the driver’s preference. This luxury brute is highly capable of performance that would shame a sports car. Longitudinal acceleration for the Mulsanne Speed is rated as 0-60 mph in a mere 4.8 seconds with a top speed in the 190 mph range. While Mulsanne and Mulsanne EWB has longitudinal acceleration rated as 0-60 mph in just 5.1 seconds with a top speed in the 184 mph range.

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High performance is nothing new to any Bentley. From its humble beginnings with its creator W.O. Bentley who initiated the legend to the notorious Bentley Boys that earned consecutive wins from 1927 to 1930 at the grueling 24 hours of LeMans – Bentley EARNED its respect.

Bentley has always been a tad bit more spirited than its Rolls Royce counterpart. It was considered the sporting version of Rolls Royce for the owner who wished to maintain a low profile. Walter Owen Bentley’s motto was “To build a good car, a fast car, and the best in its class.” His cars raced climbing hills at Brooklands…scorching the tracks at the Indy 500, and those famous wins kickin’ up a little dust at LeMans.

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The famous Calais-Méditerranée Express race

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1 of 30 Bentley Arnage Blue Train Limited Editions

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Aside from Mulsanne’s luxurious appeal, there is also a practical sense. Its powerful V8 engine is geared for today’s world. “Big Ben” is the unexpected economy car. The Mulsanne uses technology to reduce overall fuel economy via cylinder deactivation to allow the car to cruise on four cylinders under light vehicle loads.

Cam phasing is also big news in the auto industry. Cam phasers help to increase fuel efficiency by decreasing the power needed to turn the engine over and keep the camshafts in optimal positions at all times. The engine is mated to the energy-efficient 8-speed ZF automatic transmission as part of Mulsanne’s electronic network aimed at reducing fuel consumption. (ahem…if one can afford the car, obviously fuel economy is insignificant…right?)

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Note the styling continuity, the previous Mulsanne saloon remains as tasteful and elegant as the current model. This only proves that good taste is never rendered redundant.

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1973 Bentley T saloon

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“Big Ben” is a highly intuitive luxury saloon equipped with a thinking suspension. It uses an air cushioned system with Continuous Damping Control (CDC) to refine the ride at lower speeds for comfort. It automatically lowers the car’s ride height at higher speeds to aid stability while enhancing vehicle downforce.

Drive Dynamics Control System allows the driver to program the ride operated by a rotary switch mounted next to the gear shift lever. The driver may choose from Bentley, Sport, or Comfort. And if this isn’t sufficient…there is a 4th selection. Custom mode enables the driver to select bespoke settings through Mulsanne’s multimedia system to further fine tune this luxury limo to suit their individual exigencies.

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Mulsanne is a continual source of unparalleled excellence with comfort and convenience beyond the realm of ordinary luxury motorcars. For example…Mulsanne’s “High Beam Assist” automatically dips its high beam headlamps when oncoming vehicles approach to avoid dazzling the eyes of motorists at night.

This electronic system adapts the shape of the light beam according to vehicle speed operating in 4 modes from which to select: Town, Country, Motorway, and High Beam. An ingenious “Blind Spot Warning System” detects vehicles behind the car in its blind spots to predict the possibility of collision. It flashes lights in the door mirrors. Another of Mulsanne’s collision mitigation features is Advanced Automatic Stability Control (ASC) to maintain optimum vehicle poise when needed.

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…The opulent Mulliner Touch

Bespoke is a sine qua non for Mulsanne. Each Bentley is handcrafted to reflect the requisites of its owner. The ultra-exclusive world of Mulsanne is further exemplified by Bentley through an extensive personal commissioning program. Mulliner is the in-house coachbuilder to design an automotive masterpiece that is as uniquely individual as one’s own finger prints. The majestic Mulliner personal commissioning service is limited only by one’s imagination…

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The Mulliner touch immediately escalates Mulsanne to new heights in exclusivity and supremacy which becomes the pinnacle of Bentley luxury and elegance. One such example has been created for George Bamford of Bamford Watch Department. Bamford specializes in the bespoke customization of elegant timepieces.

The Bamford X Bentley Mulliner Mulsanne Speed was designed in an elegant monotone of chic dark hues which is a true reflection of his very own savoir-faire. His signature panache coordinates black and dark tinted elements with a Beluga finish to all interior and exterior bright ware.

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Once the Mulliner magic has been cast, the motorcar becomes a highly collectible heirloom. Apart from custom handcrafted four-door saloons and limousines, Mulliner has created two-door fixedhead and drophead coupé models. Only those who know the bona-fide meaning of success can fully comprehend the true nobility of a Mulliner masterwork.

Before the spit between Bentley and Rolls Royce, HJ Mulliner, and Mulliner Park Ward handcrafted all two-door models exclusively. Bentley and Rolls Royce were at the time, built primarily as four-door saloons. The coupé models had to be coachbuilt. The elusive Corniche models became the dernier cri in grand touring coupés.

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Mulliner creates exclusivity, pedigree, and élan. Each masterwork becomes a crowning achievement in all of motordom. The pleasure of owning such a magnificent example of automotive art is reveling in the fact that no other motorcar will be exactly the same… 

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Mulsanne “L” one of only 2 built between 1984 & 1988

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1997 Bentley Turbo R 400 Mulliner Park Ward Newport Edition 

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note the impeccable fit and finish

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1963 Bentley Continental S3 Flying Spur by Mulliner

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1960 Bentley Mulliner coachbuilt coupé

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Here’s the world’s only Bentley badged Camargue

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1959 Bentley S1 standard saloon

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1964 Bentley S3 standard saloon

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The eloquent 1977 Bentley T2 standard saloon

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…do I give you the business or what?

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…The finale – this is the end of a magnificent era in luxury motoring. Here is the last time a body shell would be shared between these two legends. The Bentley Arnage and the Rolls Royce Silver Seraph is the end of the line. After these two icons rolled out of the assembly hall at Crewe…there became a distinct difference. “Just in fun…the fight begun, before long a web of hate was spun! Bentley pretended…same as Rolls Royce – but friends again they’d never be…so they scandalized, and criticized, and then they learned how to despise – “

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Bentley Arnage exhibits understated preeminence

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Arnage is the summit of unpretentious glamour

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…Epilogue

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Bentley 8 litre

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“Big Ben” stands alone today and is no longer foreshadowed by you-know-who! It’s a masterpiece that could only come from the master craftsmen. No car in years has so captured the admiration of the ultra-luxury market segment as the Bentley Mulsanne. Whatever the occasion…there is no more magnificent manner in which to arrive. This is luxury on the grand Bentley scale…unique even among other Bentley models.

The Mulsanne is rich in power assists, conveniences, appointments, and lavishly elegant interiors. The famed 6.75 litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine has one of the largest displacements in the industry. Mulsanne, Mulsanne EWB, and Mulsanne Speed each possess a distinctive character of its own. Whichever sumptuous saloon you select, rest assured…you own the world’s standard of excellence in luxury motoring. Stunning elegance, extraordinary power, and exceptional handling characteristics are just a few of the outstanding attributes one may expect from a Bentley Mulsanne – (applause…applause)

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Many thanks to my friends at Bentley Crewe http://www.bentleymotors.com/. Special thanks to my buddy Rodd Sala at Park Ward Motors Museum http://www.parkwardmotorsmuseum.com/. Hello to one of the finest Luxury Car dealers in the world Balmoral UK http://www.balmoraluk.com/. And I can’t thank Daniel Schmitt Classic Cars enough http://www.schmitt.com/. Thanks again for making this special tribute to the 2017 Bentley Mulsanne and Bentley history possible.

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…welcome once again to Greg’s World

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Greg’s World IS NotoriousLuxury  © 2016–2018

Bentley Mulsanne Grand Limousine by Mulliner

Posted in Bentley, Editorials, Extreme Luxury, Notorious with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2016 by 99MilesPerHour

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The iconic Bentley motorcar needs no dramatic rhetorical preface. It’s the ultra-luxury saloon for the enthusiast or connoisseur who desires to maintain a low profile. Each is a highly bespoke automotive masterpiece. The elite Bentley Mulsanne is the company flagship designed for discerning clientele that demands high-performance without sacrificing luxury. So…what about the aristocrat that wants even more? Enter stage right…Mulsanne Grand Limousine. This contemporary coachbuilt saloon is Bentley’s magnum opus –

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Bespoke…is Bentley, the two are synonymous. This is why one will never see two exactly alike. Natural materials and the skill of the coachbuilder yields a superlative among superlatives. Mulliner, Bentley’s in-house personal commissioning division works with the client to create a motorcar of distinction that is as unique as one’s own fingerprints.

The Mulsanne Grand Limousine is handbuilt by Mulliner in the grand tradition of this eminent coachbuilder. Unlike traditional “stretch” conversions, Mulliner designed the Grand Limousine to preserve the Mulsanne’s aesthetic purity. This is the longest manufacturer-built limousine in the world. Here’s another one-up for “Big Ben” against you-know-who…

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This resplendent custom crafted limousine retains its beauty as a Mulsanne saloon. Its added dimensions are cleverly built into the architecture. The 39.4” extension to the Mulsanne’s length is discretely added into the bodyshell using a custom crafted panel at the “B” pillars. The rear doors are enlarged to accommodate easier entry and exit to the passenger cabin.

Headroom has been increased by a 3.1” addition into the roof structure. The long, low, sweeping silhouette of the Mulsanne adapted beautifully to the transformation. Nothing appears added-on or out-of-place. The achievement of Mulliner’s coachcrafting makes the Mulsanne Grand Limousine look balanced and well-proportioned with poised dignity from any angle.

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Technology unobtrusively makes itself available to the posh rear passenger suite. The elegant inner world of the Mulsanne Grand Limousine spans beyond polished metal, supple hides, and hand finished veneers. There are many bespoke digital features to bring all the amenities of home to this very special saloon. There’s an intercom system to communicate with the driver. A unique electrochromic “Smart Glass” partition separating the rear suite from the driver’s compartment converts from transparent to opaque at the touch of a button.

The HVAC heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system designed and built by Mulliner enables each rear seat occupant to control their own temperature setting. With the highly bespoke nature of this distinguished saloon, there are myriad on-board computer and communication configurations available to fashion a rolling boardroom for the executive who must work while traveling.

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As far as comfort and convenience…the rear passenger suite houses four of the most desirable seats in the entire industry. The Mulsanne Grand Limousine rivals the luxury of a guest suite at the Burj Al Arab – the rear suite evokes serenity from the outside world with the richness of materials, contrast of color, and harmony of surfaces to provide tactile and visual stimulation. Ultra-exclusive aviation-inspired seating allows passengers to converse face to face. Each lounge seat is electrically controlled to adjust to each occupant’s desired setting; they are also heated and cooled.

There are crystal flutes and a wine bottle cooler located between the front facing seats. Between the rear facing seats is a soft drink cabinet with bespoke crystal tumblers. Mulliner Coachbuilders offers the exercise of choice. This decadently luxurious new offering is available to suit its owner. In order to create a new benchmark for the brand, Mulliner widened choices to infinity making the process of commissioning a most rewarding experience…just as Henry Jervis Mulliner (1870-1967), founder of the esteemed coachbuilding firm, intended it to be –

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The Mulsanne Grand Limousine is powered as no other limousine on the road today. Mulliner re-engineered the powertrain, transmission, chassis, and suspension to accommodate the longest ultra-luxury manufacturer-built saloon in the world. The formidable 6.8 litre aluminium twin-turbocharged V8 engine produces 530 hp with an astounding 1,100 Nm of peak torque to move this magnificent motorcar with aplomb. The chassis and suspension components are refined to withstand the added weight and high torque output of the high performance powerplant.

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The Mulliner coachbuilt Mulsanne Grand Limousine is a splendid highly bespoke motorcar. The pleasure of owning such a magnificent example of Mulliner automotive art is reveling in the fact that no other ultra-luxury saloon on the planet will ever be exactly the same…not even another Mulsanne Grand Limousine. For decades, Bentley is renowned for engineering and design excellence, exemplary craftsmanship, and quality led by a visionary approach.

These are the qualities one is entitled to expect of a Bentley motorcar. From the iconic flying “B” mascot engraved with the words “Coachbuilt by Mulliner” through the extraordinary coachcrafted bodywork…the Mulsanne Grand Limousine is the epitome of grandeur and elegance escalating the Bentley brand to new heights in exclusivity and supremacy in ultra-luxury motoring…a new era has begun –

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Photos courtesy Bentley Media

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2002 Bentley State Limousine for Queen Elizabeth II

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Welcome to Greg’s World of NotoriousLuxury…

Bentley Grand Convertible Concept

Posted in Bentley, Editorials, Exotic Exotics, Notorious with tags , , , , , on October 20, 2016 by 99MilesPerHour

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The pinnacle of open air motoring is a consummate blend of spirited performance, advanced engineering, exemplary fit & finish…and of course – sultry good looks. The ultimate expression of open grand tourers is the Bentley Grand Convertible. This elegant concept model is based upon the ultra-luxurious Bentley Mulsanne saloon.

It predicts the future of handcrafted convertibles built in the grand Bentley tradition of resplendence. Should the Grand Convertible go into production, it will be hand-built at a highly restricted pace to retain exclusivity. The Grand Convertible is the most sophisticated open grand tourer ever created by Bentley –

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The Grand Convertible is a showcase of Bentley superlatives. An elegant 2+2 seating configuration augments its sporty character. Exquisite diamond quilting is used for the naturally tanned hides covering the seats and door panels. Book-matched mirror finish dark stained walnut veneers are patiently crafted by hand to span the fascia, door capping garnish rails, and tonneau lavishly. It is unique in every aspect…rich and rare –

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The Bentley Grand Convertible is endowed with exhilarating performance just as its Mulsanne counterpart. The legendary aluminium 6.8 litre twin-turbocharged V8 engine eminently qualifies the Grand convertible to cruise the horizon with an astounding 530 hp range of power. It packs a prolific punch with 1,100 Nm of torque.

Enormous power, effortless performance combined with luxury and elegance…makes it the grandest of the open grand tourers. Here’s “Big Ben” in its most avant-garde configuration. Rhapsodizing over the wind in your hair and the open road ahead is inarguably the most convincing factors to own this resplendent example of Bentley engineering prowess.

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Should the Grand Convertible enter production phase…it will be an automatic contender for the most desirable car in the world status. After all…it’s an ultra-luxury sporting machine by Bentley – first and foremost. It will incorporate every significant technological advancement introduced by the epochal flagship – the incomparable Bentley Mulsanne luxury saloon. Only a fortunate few will savor its indulgences first hand…the world waits with bated breath –

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Bentley Azure T drophead coupé

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Photos courtesy Bentley Media

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Welcome to Greg’s World of NotoriousLuxury

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The Bentley Grand Convertible is NotoriousLuxury

Symbol – When The Best Isn’t Good Enough…

Posted in Bentley, Ecstasy, Editorials, Extreme Luxury, Grande Marque, Luxury Sedans, Rolls Royce, Rolls Royce Historical, Symbol with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2015 by 99MilesPerHour

…Always completely avant-garde

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…Nil fato relinquemus

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When one seeks exclusivity…

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If you are a connoisseur…it’s Imperial Oscietra or Royal Beluga (North of the Caspian) caviar, Château Lafite Rothschild 1957, no…a Château Margaux 2009 or maybe a Vosne-Romanée just for show… and of course a limited edition Cohiba Behike or a Gurkha Black Dragon.

Then… an “out of the box” Rolls Royce or Bentley is not intriguing. When the best just isn’t good enough and exclusivity in a motorcar is sought…only a custom coachbuilt version is the remedy. HJ Mulliner and Park Ward design studios created luxury motorcars of absolute distinction. They are two of the most eminent coachbuilders in automotive history. Every Rolls Royce and Bentley motorcar they have transformed have all become cherished bespoke automotive masterworks.

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1965 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud Flying Spur

A superb motorcar is desirable…but even more desirable, is a superb motorcar offered in so many exquisite variations. They are precisely matched to the client’s requisites and personal taste. One need not think in terms of “only” a Rolls Royce or Bentley…but think in terms of their “particular” Rolls Royce or Bentley. Each coachbuilt motorcar is an instant collectible. Classic automobiles have become an extremely lucrative investment – a coachcrafted classic is one of a kind automotive art – dealers have experienced a positive surge in demand.

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The custom coachbuilder’s primary focus is to create an automobile of unsurpassed luxury and elegance. This gives the client a refreshing degree of freedom to contrive a one of a kind vehicle to suit their fancy. This type of client isn’t intrigued with the ephemerality of annual styling changes and artificial novelty. They desire a timeless automobile design…like no other. The singular character of a unique, coachbuilt automobile reflects this clarity and intensity of purpose. The vast diversity of the craft is by no means a divergence in standards.

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1960 Bentley S2 HJ Mulliner Coupe

When the best isn’t good enough…Mulliner Park Ward studios in London offered distinctive coachbuilding for Rolls Royce and Bentley chassis. An extra special body style for these fine automobiles is the two-door Fixedhead and Drophead coupe. A coupe version had to be specially hand-crafted in a highly bespoke manner. Rolls Royce and Bentley motorcars are usually built in four-door saloon body styles. Mulliner Park Ward created automotive masterpieces for Rolls Royce and Bentley models when the marque was built as body on frame design.

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RR and Bentley Corniche

Bentley and Rolls Royce are chic…not to mention glamorous automobiles. A first time buyer gets a kick out of either – the new owner is excited… just because. After this, something more elaborate is sought. Before monocoque construction began for the two brands in the mid-1960s, coachbuilders could purchase a chassis and create a virtual rolling masterpiece for the client. The artisans with HJ Mulliner and Park Ward are the most revered coachbuilders and purveyors in the art of vehicle personalization. This elite sophistication is among the last of the genuine coachcrafters…they have vanished into a world where this trade no longer exists – 

Park Ward was established in 1919 in the UK and bodied a variety of automobiles in the 1920s. Rolls Royce purchased Park Ward in 1939. The coachbuilder was already in contract with W.O. Bentley in the 1920s supplying bodyshells. After Rolls Royce took over Bentley in 1931, they acquired patents and techniques for coachwork which were firsts to the industry. Park Ward developed a special design for all-steel saloons. The patented technique uses “Silentbloc” rubber bushings to reduce road noise, road shock, and vibration before it intrudes the passenger cell. These bodies were used for Bentley and Rolls Royce models.

HJ Mulliner, also an eminent British coachbuilder in the UK, was established in 1897 building carriages. As the ‘horse-less carriage’ emerged, they hand-crafted bodies for various high-end automobile makers. Mulliner custom bodied a Silver Ghost for the Honorable Charles Stewart Rolls. By the 1930s, Mulliner’s entire production output was fitted to Rolls Royce and Bentley chassis. Rolls Royce acquired HJ Mulliner in 1959.

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The company was merged with Park Ward in 1961 to form the formidable Mulliner Park Ward (MPW) association. Mulliner is now the in-house personal commissioning department exclusively for Bentley Motors Limited. Mulliner no longer creates bespoke coach-crafting  working with Bentley, they are more of a “trim level” designer.

It is William MacDonald Park, Charles Ward, and Henry Jervis Mulliner that laid the foundation for one of the most prodigious custom coachbuilders in automotive history. Their names will live forever in association with the finest automobiles in the world – These are by no means “ditch and dash” motorcars –

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1961 Bentley Continental MPW aluminium Drophead coupe

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Two of Mulliner Park Ward’s investment grade motorcars are based upon the hand-built aluminium-bodied Bentley Continental “S” chassis.  Here’s an interesting fact to consider, up to this period, Rolls Royce motorcars ‘inspired’ Bentley motorcar design…This is the beautiful exception to the rule.

The Rolls Royce variant of this aluminum-bodied design is built upon the Silver Cloud chassis but based upon the Bentley Continental version. Aluminium is a favorite medium among coachbuilders because it is lightweight and extremely versatile with contours as you may see. The lightweight aluminium bodyshells not only makes them faster than their steel-bodied counterparts, but also increases their aerodynamics.

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1965 Rolls Royce MPW aluminium Fixedhead coupe

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Mulliner Park Ward designed and blue printed many different two-door Fixedhead and Drophead coupe body styles. Bentley badged versions include the aluminium-bodied Continentals and Bentley “T” models. The Rolls Royce variants are bodied as Silver Cloud MPW, Silver Shadow MPW, and…lest we forget, the iconic and unforgettable Corniche models.

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Rolls Royce Corniche Coachbuilt Drophead coupe

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Bentley Corniche Coachbuilt Drophead coupe

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1967 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow MPW Fixedhead coupe

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Mulliner Park Ward is one of the first coachbuilders to modify the Silver Shadow four-door saloon into a two-door configuration. James young built a version of the Shadow as a coupe at a highly restricted pace not exceeding 26 vehicles. It appears a bit strange and austere when placed side by side with the Mulliner Park Ward version.

The MPW version sculpted the waist rail to include a graceful “cupid’s bow’ into the bodywork. The Silver Shadow MPW was renamed Corniche in 1971 and in 1985 Continental for Bentley models. The Corniche is one of the longest running and most prominent production series in the history of the brand. A Corniche remains among the most popular ultra-luxury motorcars on the planet –

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Contrast of the MPW with the James Young versions

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1966 Silver Shadow James Young Fixedhead coupe

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This James Young version was retro-fitted with Series II bumpers

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Rolls Royce Corniche Coachbuilt Drophead coupe

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Bentley Corniche Coachbuilt Drophead coupe

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1965 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud Mulliner Flying Spur

HJ Mulliner created aluminium bodied four-door saloons as Continental Flying Spurs. Rolls Royce and Bentley chassis were used to build bespoke standards of excellence. The Continental Flying Spur saloons were hand-crafted from 1957 until 1966. Coachbuilt vehicles such as these serve as a measure by which all luxury automobiles are judged. These elegant saloons have a near limousine spaciousness and atmosphere. This unique four-door body style uses a different roof style augmented by thinner “C” pillars and a ‘6-window’ design.

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The Flying Spur is further distinguished by a lower overall silhouette. It has a lower waist rail, more sculpted rear quarter panels, a higher rear deck lid, and modified tail lamps. The coachbuilder retained the identities of each brand. The epochal Spirit of Ecstasy and flamboyant Flying “B” atop the signature radiator grilles pronounce each distinctively. Understated, yet exquisite – the Mulliner Continental Flying Spurs are highly sought – they command six figures today and are still appreciating positively. Rolls Royce does not acknowledge its body style as “Continental” with brand nomenclature. It is simply known as the Silver Cloud Flying Spur.

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1963 Bentley Continental Flying Spur 1

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Mulliner Park Ward could refresh the client’s existing vehicle. Custom coachbuilders not only practiced their trade on a brand new chassis, but also restored or modified an existing vehicle completely to client specification. The Bentley Continental S2 featured is bodied as a 1960 vintage with an S3 face lift. After all…who knows a coachbuilt vehicle better than the artisans themselves that created it…right?

This talented coachbuilder could be commissioned to perform any service a collectible motorcar required. Whether it be a simple re-dye to the leather hides…restoration or custom wood veneer services…new lambswool Wilton hand-tufted carpeting, or a major 100% frame-off restoration – Mulliner Park Ward expedited services second to none. Notable coachbuilders competing in the art as eminent as MPW are Thrupp & Maberly, Hooper & Company, Freestone & Webb, and James Young/Jack Barclay LTD. They all worked magic with Rolls Royce and Bentley motorcars.

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Freestone & Web

Rolls Royce “Honeymoon Express” by Freestone & Webb

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Your lifestyle is unique…your motorcar should be as well. When one drives a Rolls Royce or Bentley, they seek more than a mere luxury automobile. When the best isn’t good enough, there are alternatives. Automobile trends become even more transient as the styles change. A classic coachbuilt motorcar is not only rewarding to own but is also a lucrative investment.

They are distinctive by design and are the absolute epitome of exclusivity and supremacy – these classic motorcars became legends in their own time. HJ Mulliner and Park Ward are illustrious artisans who created automotive history. Every MPW transformation appreciates positively in value and prestige. A coach-crafted motorcar is built painstakingly meticulous, slowly and precisely as required to meet the highly bespoke expectations of the client. A classic custom crafted Rolls Royce or Bentley is rich with character and presence that will always remain unique because each is a one of a kind masterpiece –

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These automotive masterpieces are extremely rare. A Special thanks goes out to the caretakers of the world: Rodd Sala at Park Ward Motors Museum, Vantage Motorworks Inc, JD Classics, Daniel Donovan Classics UK, Balmoral UK, and Daniel Schmitt & Co for the use of these lovely photographs from their archives.

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1967 MPW Fixedhead coupe 1

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The new Bentley Mulsanne saloon

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The new Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead coupe

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NotoriousLuxury…”Nil fato relinquemus”

The Bentley Speed Trilogy Of Performance: EXP 10 Speed 6, Mulsanne Speed, And Continental GT Speed

Posted in Bentley, Editorials, Exotic & FAST, Exotic Sports Cars, Extreme Luxury, Grande Marque with tags , , , , , on May 19, 2015 by 99MilesPerHour

“Big Ben” in his most aggressive state…

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As an automotive journalist and connoisseur of fine automobiles, I seek perfection to share with my audience. Bentley, with its legendary high-performance and understated luxury is a sterling example of the finest hand-crafted automobile in the world.

From the notorious victories at LeMans with the famed Bentley Boys, to the sublime refinement of today’s versions…Bentley is the pinnacle of excellence in motorcars. The Bentley Speed tradition combines outstanding performance unmatched by rivals in its class. The cast includes a dazzling array of performers. “Speed” is part of Bentley’s DNA.

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The Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 is an avant-garde combination of motorsport-influence and a peek into the future of the brand. The ultimate Flagship offers a dramatic version for those who prefer a more formal approach with the Mulsanne Speed saloon.

The motorsport-inspired Continental GT Speed is available for those who enjoy a luxury sport car with panache. It is most evident …forward thinking, understated luxury, and high-performance are available to suit individual tastes…the new Bentley Motors proves it indomitably – Big Ben continues to rule with authority…

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The Mulsanne Speed saloon…the fastest limousine in captivity

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The Continental GT Speed…the ultimate sporting machine

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The Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 is history in the making. It was introduced at the Geneva International Motor Show March 3, 2015. This luxury motorsport-influenced two-seater represents a vision into the brand’s future and could possibly be a design predictor for production models. The flowing lines of the bold athletic architecture is augmented by its chiseled, powerful in-motion look.

Its styling hints at an aircraft fuselage with wings. Performance goals are not only to challenge its competitors but also to define a new benchmark in the already impressive Bentley portfolio. Its running buddies will be supercars such as the Aston Martin Vanquish, and the Ferrari F12berlinetta.

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This exquisite concept is a dynamic new design which synthesizes past, present and future styling cues. The Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 is an exciting new edition of the Bentley philosophy. It is a compilation of technology and exemplary British hand-crafting.

It will employ the 3-D metal printing process which uses lasers and computers. This new science can create most any shape or geometric feature. It brings to life a new realm of detail and is used in the grill mesh, exhaust ports, door handles, and side vents. This technique will also be used to create cabin accents. The Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 is the British interpretation of a luxury high-performance, high-tech two-seater. (Tally-ho!)

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The Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 could possibly be powered by a form of hybrid engine. It could also use a 4.0 litre twin-turbocharged V8 producing 500 hp based upon the highly successful Bentley Continental GT powerplant. Since this is a new direction for the brand, we will have to wait with bated-breath for the actual specifications regarding this highly impressive all-new luxury sport car.

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Here’s a glimpse into Bentley’s future…

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The Mulsanne Speed combines authentic Bentley values with 21st century engineering and technology. Determination to exceed and set new standards of engineering excellence is impetus to the brand. The Bentley strive for perfection is evident in the Mulsanne Speed. Its 6.75 litre twin-turbocharged V8 is tuned to deliver high-revs at low rpms which has always been a Bentley signature.

The foremost objective is to generate the feeling of relaxed control with minimum demands on the driver. The Bentley Mulsanne Speed is rated as the fastest production ultra-luxury saloon in the world. It is the quintessential Flagship with the legs of a sporting machine –

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The Bentley Mulsanne Speed is designed for the driver who seeks performance without compromising luxury. This luxurious four-door saloon is powered by Bentley’s 6.75 litre 16-valve, 412 CID twin-turbocharged V8. The engine has been re-engineered for both Mulsanne and Mulsanne Speed models. It has a redesigned combustion system using a new combustion chamber, inlet ports, fuel injectors, and spark plugs.

This modified combustion system yields a new compression ratio and promotes a more efficient combustion process. This, combined with new variable valve timing and optimized turbocharger controls pushes torque output to record levels. The engine is mated to the ZF 8HP90 8-speed automatic transmission equipped with Quickshift, Block Shifting, and steering wheel paddle shifters for manual shift mode – 

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The Bentley Mulsanne Speed offers unique precision handling and earth-shattering responsiveness. Its unusually high-spirited performance isn’t normally associated with a saloon of such stature. The 6.75 litre twin-turbocharged V8 produces an astounding 530 hp @ 4,200 rpm and packs a prolific punch delivering 1,100 Nm of peak torque @ 1,750 rpm.

Now, take a deep breath and fasten your seat belt…This 5,900+ pound luxury saloon moves with aplomb. Longitudinal acceleration is rated as: 0-60 mph in 4.6 seconds, 0-100 mph in 11.4 seconds, 0-110 mph in 14 seconds, and 0-120 mph in just 16.9 seconds. OK…I’ll be brazen and go further…

This elegant grand tourer goes even faster: 0-130 mph in 20.3 seconds, 0-140 mph in 25 seconds, 0-150 mph in 30.6 seconds, 0-160 mph in 39.9 seconds…and (drum roll)…0-180 mph in 93 seconds. Being even more rudely elegant…it does the 1/4 mile @ 107 mph in a mere 13.2 seconds. The factory rates its top speed at a jaw-dropping 190 mph! (Pip-pip cheerio and all that jazz, right?)

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Mulsane Speed 4This simply amazing V8 engine makes it “the unexpected economy car.” The Bentley Mulsanne Speed is a high-performance luxury saloon geared for today. Its exclusive engine management system is calibrated to allow the V8 engine to run as a “V4” while cruising at low speeds with light loads. The highly efficient cylinder deactivation system has been re-tuned for smoother transitions between V4 and V8 operation for greater refinement. New gearbox control logic and engine hardware improvement aids its new level of efficiency as well.

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The personal tailoring system transforms the Mulsanne Speed from a docile refined limousine to a high-performance luxury brute. Engine refinement and a recalibrated gearbox are only a fraction of this car’s fine tuning. Its chassis system may be tuned to suit the owner’s driving style. Bentley, Comfort, Sport, and Custom modes are available to further calibrate the Mulsanne Speed experience.

Bentley and Comfort modes provides the more traditionally luxurious-focused ride. The Sport suspension mode is a more driver-focused version; it stiffens the air suspension and adjusts steering dynamics. The Custom setting allows the driver to individually match steering, chassis, and engine tune to his/her personal preference. 

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The major objective for Bentley designers is to create a relaxing experience for both driver and passengers. The driver’s seat for instance…is positioned placing it where the driver is in total command. The road ahead is clearly visible. There’s a precise alignment between the steering wheel, pedals, and seat, which ensures a more elegant driving experience. A Bentley is designed for ease of use. All pertinent functions are directly in hand. Controls for secondary functions are discretely in the background making sure any distractions are kept to an absolute minimum.

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The Mulsanne is one of the most tastefully appointed saloons in the world. A coined finish to door handles, knurled gear shift lever, and “organ stop” ventilation controls gives the cabin a unique sporting appeal. The drilled alloy foot pedals proves the Mulsanne Speed’s pedigree as the ultimate grand tourer. The cabin is as luxurious as it is sporting –

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Of course, there’s the Mulliner Driving Specification featuring an interior of hand-stitched leather and an array of options in which to make your Mulsanne Speed…your very own. Embroidered Bentley motifs are tastefully applied to the seats…from carbon fibre door and dash panels to exquisite hand-crafted wood veneers, a Bentley Mulsanne Speed is a highly bespoke automobile. There’s an exciting new technical veneer option available that uses a Piano Black with hand-crafted carbon fibre inlays. There is also a new Tamo Ash veneer to choose. Mulliner can match any color that’s appealing to you from your favorite shade of wall covering to that extra special linen blazer…sky’s the limit to coin a phrase.  

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How about a rear seat executive suite?

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New Piano Black veneers with carbon fibre inlays  

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The Bentley Mulsanne Speed rides upon a long 128.6” wheelbase, is 75.8” wide and has the luxury length of 219.5” which makes it a large and most comfortable saloon. Its four-wheel independent suspension rides on a cushion of air. Its self-leveling is totally automatic with Continuous Damping Control. It has double wishbones up front and a multi-link set-up at the rear.

ZF Servotronic speed-sensitive power rack and pinion steering aids its effortless overall operation. Its power four-wheel disc braking system has 6-piston calipers fitted to the front axle and single-piston sliding calipers fitted to the rear axle. From the prominent Bi-Xenon projector headlamps to the floating ellipse-style taillamps the Bentley Mulsanne Speed is the definitive luxury sporting limousine. (Can you tell I am Mulsanne-biased? The dealer had to pry me out of the driver’s seat when I test drove it for this story!)

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Another impressive thoroughbred is the Bentley Continental GT Speed. It is the latest edition in the evolution of the formidable Continental series. This elegant grand tourer is also one of Bentley’s fastest production models. It is equipped with a 6.0 litre 32-valve twin-turbocharged W12 engine. Its design is two V-6 cylinder banks joined at the crankshaft thus creating the “W” configuration – 

It delivers a potent 626 hp @ 6,000 rpm with an enormous 820 Nm of peak torque @ 1,700 rpm. The engine feeds power to a permanent all-wheel drive ZF 8HP90 8-speed automatic transmission with Quickshift and manual shift mode. The Continental GT Speed’s chassis is lowered with a stiffened suspension for its aggressive high-performance spirit – 

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Longitudinal acceleration is rated as 0-60 mph in 3.6 seconds, 0-100 mph in 8.8 seconds, 0-110 mph in 10.6 seconds, 0-120 mph in 12.9 seconds, and 0-200 mph in 89.1 seconds. Its factory rated top speed is 206 mph. It can do the ¼ mile @ 116 mph in 12 seconds. This luxury sport model delivers a surfeit of power for the enthusiast who enjoys a gran turismo – 

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The Bentley Continental GT Speed is the hand-crafted luxury sport car available for those who dare be different. The iconic fast back design calls for the open road. The compact size and shorter wheelbase aids stability around curves. Its sleek silhouette has a wind-cheating drag coefficient of just 0.33 adding to its excellent driving attributes.

It is one of the sportiest rides to drive out of Crewe. This is the totally driver-focused Bentley.  Want even more excitement…try the Continental GT Speed cabrio. There’s nothing like the exhilaration of open air motoring…Bentley style. It’s for the young at heart and is truly going to win your heart. One test drive will prove the point…aggressively – 

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The Mulliner Driving Specification is most provocative for the Continental GT Speed. It gains a tightened, “small-diamond” quilting pattern reminiscent of a tailored British jacket. Driver controls are all-new, with an optional, more ergonomic sports-orientated steering wheel with larger gear-shift paddles incorporating tactile knurled metal embellishments.

Bright elements across the console are updated, the driver’s instrument panel receives new dials and graphics for a refreshed, more contemporary look, and the beauty of the new interior is now illuminated by LEDs. The center console also features a new black gear lever surround, unifying the style of all driver controls. A luxurious cabin of Alcantara is a distinctive alternative to the glove soft leather. A new softer aniline leather is also available for further indulgence…that’s what Big Ben is all about –

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Bentley Continental GT Speed

4.5 litre Bentley Blower

Bentley has always been the high-spirited road-going vehicle and race track champion. Its high revs at low rpm are what made it famous at LeMans. The Bentley Boys took home many victories driving them.  Bentley has a reputation for success. Why do you think John Steed (The Avengers) drove a vintage Bentley? He knew a good thing! The sheer exhilaration of driving a race car clad in street clothes is the secret Bentley owners hid for many years. A Bentley can be compared to a Chateau Lafite Rothschild (one of Steed’s favorite pleasures also)…it just gets better with age.

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Inspiration for the Bentley Speed versions dates back to the 1920s. The Bentley 3.0 litre was built from 1921-1929. The Red Label Speed could reach speeds of 90 mph. This is one of the most durable and one of the fastest automobiles built for its day. It is a 3.0 litre Bentley that won the 24 Hours de LeMans in 1924 with Bentley Boys Frank Clement and John Duff. It won again in 1927 in Super Sports form with Bentley Boys Sammy Davis and Dudley Benjafield. Bentleys won consecutive wins at LeMans from 1927 through 1930 with Bentley Boys at the wheel. A Bentley 4.5 litre won in 1928 with Bentley Boy Woolf Barnato, the Bentley Speed 6 won in 1929 and 1930 with Barnato as driver. (Simply smashing…old chap)

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1929 Bentley Speed 6

Bentley Flying B

1973 Bentley T

1973 Bentley T2 courtesy Park Ward Motors Museum

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1973 Bentley T 2

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The new breed Bentleys are just as eloquent, even more so with their high-tech cutting edge design. There is a Bentley to satisfy the most discerning driver. So, while we wait to see what form the Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 will develop into, there are still alternatives.

There is the luxurious high-performance limousine, the Mulsanne Speed – for the driver that desires a more formal four-door saloon. And, for the driver that seeks luxury sport excitement – the Continental GT Speed is the car. But don’t take my word for it…drive one today, I’ll guarantee the fact that you will not want to drive home in your present car – 

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The End

Photos courtesy Bentley Media Club

Bentley: The Legend of Big Ben

Posted in Bentley, Editorials, Exotic Exotics with tags , , , , , , , , on November 11, 2014 by 99MilesPerHour

The legend of Big Ben continues

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From rags to riches describes the Bentley brand. The story reads as though it was a soap opera. Bentley, a once formidable thoroughbred was purchased and the brand was forced into a virtual subservience. The legend of Big Ben continues. While the snooty Rolls Royce rode off on its high horse…Big Ben was left cleaning the stables. It’s a classic fairy tale; Cinderfella suffered numerous indignities but managed to land on his feet. Not many are aware of his plight.

Did you ever wonder how the formidable Bentley brand ended up wearing hand-me-down architecture from “you-know-who?” It’s more of a tear-jerker than “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane.” There’s more drama than “The Valley of the Dolls.” It has more suspense than “The Stepford Wives.” It seems…Rolls Royce was the “Perfect Stranger…” Rolls Royce isn’t the Flo Ziegfeld of the auto industry as you may have thought – And now, here’s the true story of how Big Ben became the bastard at the Rolls Royce family reunion…

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Once upon a time in a town called Cricklewood near London in the UK there lived a man whose vision led him to build some of the fastest and most durable cars in the land. His name is Walter Owen Bentley who simply went by W.O. He always wanted to design and build his own range of automobiles that would bear his name. W.O. was in partnership with his brother Horace Milner Bentley selling French DFP automobiles. It was a trip to the DFP factory in 1913 when W.O. glanced at an aluminium paper weight and had a brainstorm of crafting internal engine pistons out of this lightweight material instead of cast iron. The first Bentley aluminium pistons were installed in aero engines for the Sopwith Camel during WWI.

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On August in 1919, Bentley Motors LTD was registered. Ex-Royal Flying Corps, Officer Clive Gallop designed a 4-valve per cylinder engine, and a running version of W.O.’s Bentley became reality by December of 1919. The company began taking orders for the cars delivery for June 1920. Their development took a tad bit longer and weren’t ready until September 1921. These vehicles were so awesome that their durability earned widespread acclaim. The Bentley began making its debut at such places as the tracks at the famous Brooklands.

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The NOTORIOUS Bentley’s first major event was the Indy 500 in 1922. The car finished in 13th place with an average speed of 75 mph. But it gets better…let’s fast forward to 1925. Enter the famous Bentley Boys! They were a group of wealthy British motorists that demonstrated the prowess of W.O. Bentley and his cars. One of the group, Woolf Barnato got a 3.0 litre Bentley in 1925 and began winning numerous races at Brooklands.

Bentley Motors LTD had become struggling financially. Influenced by the 1924 LeMans win by Bentley Boys John Duff and Frank Clement, Woolf Barnato agreed to finance the company. He invested a little more than 100,000 pounds into the company with a financial reorganization carried out, gaining control of the entity thus becoming the CEO in the process. With subsequent financial injections into the company in 1927, 1928, and 1929, W.O. was able to design the next generation of Bentley automobiles.

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The Bentley Boys continued to exploit the Bentley’s indomitable spirit and durability. Woolf Barnato, Sir Henry “Tim” Birkin, George Duller, aviator Glen Kidston, automobile journalist S.C.H. “Sammy Davis, and Dr. Dudley Benjafield are the Bentley Boys that brought the Bentley brand into formidable high-performance notoriety. These spirited and talented young men had a zest for life garnering four consecutive wins at LeMans from 1927 until 1930. Kudos to Tim Birkin for developing the light weight “Bentley Blower” in 1929; however, this car was raced before W.O. had a chance to perfect it. Its refinement was positively executed to make the Bentley Blower a formidable opponent.

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Here is the illustrious timeline for Big Ben during his infancy: from 1921-1929 it was the heyday for the trusty 3.0 litre, from 1926-1930 the larger 4.5 litre and the Bentley Blower were the stars, 1926-1930 the 6.5 litre, it was 1928-1930 the 6.5 litre Speed Six took the roads by storm, 1930-1931 the 8.0 litre roamed the tracks, and in 1931 it was the 4.0 litre on the prowl. The 3.0 litre was the original but displacement had to be increased to accommodate the larger bodies installed on the chassis. The most notable from that genre was the 4.5 litre Bentley Blower with its supercharger peeking forward at the bottom of its grille.

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“Tiger” Tim Birkin

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The 4.5 litre was popular in the media. It was used in early James Bond novels before the films. The quintessential “bad boy” John Steed (Patrick McNee) drove one of these in the cult British detective series “The Avengers” in the 1960s.

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Another famous race from the early years was The Blue Train Races. Woolf Barnato wagered  £100 that he could beat “Le Train Bleu” which was going to travel from Cannes to Calais in France, and be sitting at his club in London before the train could reach Calais. He and his Mulliner-bodied Bentley battled inclement weather; uneven pavement, public highways…even blowing out a tire having to use his only spare, but managed to get to a packet steamer to take him to Dover England. Woolf was sitting at his favorite club on prestigious St. James Street in London just as Le Train Bleu pulled into the station at Calais – proving how swift the Bentley was and verifying the notorious reliability of this eminent grand tourer.

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The Great Depression and The Wall Street Crash of 1929 presented a challenge for the brand. People weren’t purchasing luxury items because self-preservation was more important. In 1931 on a fatal day in July, Woolf Barnato defaulted on two mortgage payments. Bentley Motors LTD went into receivership. According to The Times, dated Saturday, October 24, 1931… Napier & Son, aero builders, had reached an agreement to take over Bentley Motors LTD which was in voluntary liquidation…

The plot thickens 

Napier & Son worked an agreeable deal with the receiver to purchase the company. The final deal was to close in November of 1931…when out of nowhere, a competitor by the name of British Central Equitable Trust swooped in like vultures with a counter proposal which out-bid Napier in a sealed bid auction. Are you ready for the shocker? One guess who British Central Equitable Trust is? They were a front for Rolls Royce Limited who purchased the brand for a sum of £125,000! With that apparent shock and that being said, Woolf Barnato received £42,000 for his shares in Bentley Motors LTD. He had already purchased a sizable stake in Rolls Royce not long before the Bentley Motors LTD liquidation. By 1934 Barnato was appointed to the board of the new Bentley Motors Limited.

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Oh what a tangled web we weave… 

The total obliteration of Bentley Motors LTD and its founder was the outcome of a highly personal vendetta involving W.O. Bentley and Ernest Hives. The two engineers had a rivalry that began when W.O. was the official liaison between the Government and aero engine manufacturers. And add the fact that Woolf Barnato had already purchased shares in Rolls Royce – the entity that would eventually buy the Bentley brand – and his ‘default’ on the crucial mortgage payments that sent the brand spiraling into financial doom. Rolls Royce acquired Bentley using an entity by the name of British Central Equitable Trust. W.O. himself, didn’t know the identity of this organization until the deal was finalized…

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The new Bentley Motors LTD (1931) was formed. The Cricklewood factory was closed and sold with production of the Bentley brand ceased for two years. W.O. was unhappy with his position at Rolls Royce. He left when his contract expired at the end of April in 1935; he resigned to join Lagonda, a British luxury car marque that was established in 1906. The connivery and deceit combined with W.O.’s financial situation resulted in one of the greatest thoroughbreds ever, to be stifled and silenced.

All Bentleys from 1931 until 2004 wore hand-me-down architecture; therefore, they were merely badge engineered Rolls Royces. The Bentley gave the Phantom a run for its money in the 1930s…Rolls Royce took advantage of economics and the financial limitations of W.O. Bentley to gain control of the entity. I truly believe that if W.O. had been more cost conscious and he had found better financial backing, the Bentley would have been equally as exclusive, if not more than Rolls Royce.

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1973 Bentley T saloon

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A rude awakening… 

We now fast-forward to contemporary issues. The Bentley brand had sales fallen badly during the 1970s and early 1980s. Less than 5 percent of Rolls Royce Motors Limited carried the Bentley badge. Vickers plc purchased Rolls Royce in 1980. Under Vickers, the Bentley now regained its high-performance heritage with the introduction of the Bentley Mulsanne for 1981. The sporting image stirred a renewed interest in the Bentley brand. By 1986, Big Ben reached 40 percent of the Bentley/Rolls Royce, 40/60 percent production totals.

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In 1997, Vickers decided to sell Rolls Royce Motors. This instigated a back-biting brawl between Volkswagen AG and BMW AG. BMW had provided the engines; the V8 for the Bentley Arnage and the V12 for the Rolls Royce Silver Seraph beginning the 1998 model year. After a tumultuous and highly publicized battle both reached an amicable agreement, VW had control of the Bentley brand and BMW had control of the Rolls Royce brand. The most mind-boggling aspect of this was the fact that Volkswagen AG built both Rolls Royce and Bentley automobiles from 1997 until 2002 with the end of production for the Rolls Royce Silver Seraph. 

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“Just in fun…the fight begun – before long a web of hate was spun…Rolls Royce pretended…same with Bentley…but friends again they’d never be – so they scandalized…and criticized and soon they learned how to despise…”

From 2003 forward, Volkswagen AG maintained the Bentley brand, while still building the Arnage as the Flagship until 2010 when they introduced the Mulsanne to give the Rolls Royce stiff competition in the ultra-luxury car segment. BMW launched the new Rolls Royce Phantom in 2003 under the new legal entity of Rolls Royce Motor Cars Limited. RR constructed a new facility in Goodwood, West Sussex, in England where the new Rolls Royce models would be built. Bentley under Volkswagen AG retained the Crewe facility. VW spent over $845 million dollars to renovate the facility to process the new generation of Bentley motorcars and to increase the production capacity.

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Now, fast-forward to the present day. Big Ben landed on his feet quite well. The brand now has an interesting array of models from which to choose. The Mulsanne is the most sumptuous Bentley in the model hierarchy. It remains the Flagship and is giving the Rolls Royce fierce competition just as it did back in the 1930s. In fact, many believe that Volkswagen AG got the better deal retaining the Bentley brand because it sells twice as many cars as Rolls Royce.

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The Bentley brand has a comprehensive array of automobiles. It has a car for every enthusiast. The ferocious Bentley Continental is just as formidable as it was at one time. The Continental Supersports ISR set a record as the fastest production cabrio on ice in the world. Bentley has infiltrated the motorsport arena as well. Under the leadership of Volkswagen AG, the Bentley brand received new life. Its dignity has been revived, its performance is once again formidable…it retained its high revs at low rpm status as a Bentley hallmark. The venerable brand has regained its stature in the automotive world. Rolls Royce is no longer throwing it shade. The two brands are once again rivals and share a rare arena where other brands dare to venture…

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2015 Bentley Continental GT Speed

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2015 Bentley Flying Spur saloon

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Walter Owen Bentley had a vision. His emphasis was on precision hand-crafting that involved exemplary fit and finish. The use of aluminium in key automotive components was his brain child and quickly spread throughout the auto industry. The extremely lightweight material dominates the contemporary Bentley models. W.O. left an indelible impression upon the industry. His valuable insight developed principles of which today’s Bentley is built upon. 

Excellence without compromise, impeccable craftsmanship, and engineering with cutting-edge technology makes Big Ben an omnipotent presence in the ultra-luxury automobile arena. It is out from under the imperious shadow of “you-know-who” and has become synonymous with the good life. W.O. would be proud to see the results of his genius. Big Ben survived the connivery and deceit, not to mention The Great Depression to become one of the world’s foremost automotive brands. NotoriousLuxury salutes Big Ben…long may he reign and the brand lived happily ever after giving Rolls Royce “the blues…”

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The limited edition 2009 Bentley Brooklands

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Bentley enters the world of motorsports

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Extremely rare Bentley Mulsanne L 1984-1985 only 2 were built

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Photos courtesy Bentley Media

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Special thanks to Daniel Schmitt

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Bentley Turbo R 400

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The only Bentley badged Camargue in existence

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1964 Bentley Series III

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Special thanks to Balmoral UK

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1963 Bentley Mulliner Flying Spur

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Special thanks to Park Ward Motors Museum

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The legend of Big Ben will continue…

2014 Bentley Flying Spur V8

Posted in Bentley, Editorials, Exotic Exotics with tags , , , , , on August 14, 2014 by 99MilesPerHour

…The legend of “Big Ben” continues…

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…And then came the Bentley Flying Spur V8. Big Ben got relentless with its new life. First a 12-cylinder saloon luxurious enough to qualify as a limousine. Now, an 8-cylinder saloon luxurious enough to qualify as a limousine. The 2014 Bentley Flying Spur V8 is maintaining the Bentley pre-eminence in the world of luxury saloons. The latest manifestation of Bentley Art is a range of motorcars offering an incomparable blend of craftsmanship, advanced technology, comfort, and refinement. The Flying Spur V8 is from a line of distinguished predecessors, this new Bentley model combines the latest technical thinking with that which is tried, tested, and true…

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The Flying Spur V8 is from a tradition of craftsmanship and painstaking attention to detail.  Artisans, stylists, and engineers look to the future incorporating cutting-edge technology in their relentless quest for perfection. No Bentley has ever sprung forth from a blinding flash of inspiration; it emerges over a number of years through evolution, meticulous engineering, and hand-crafting. The company’s approach to building motorcars that require the best that brain, hand, and eye can create…is the philosophy of the artisans who believe there is only one way: the right way to expedite the mission, anything else is highly unacceptable-

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The power comes from the potent 4.0 litre 244 CID 32-valve twin-turbocharged V8 engine. It is equipped with four overhead camshafts, cam phasing, and two parallel twin-scroll turbochargers with indirect intercooling. The engine block, cylinder heads, and pistons are aluminium alloy. It has a forged steel crankshaft and connecting rods. The engine produces 500 hp @ 6,000 rpm with 660 Nm of peak torque @ 1,750 rpm. It sprints from 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds, 0-100 mph in 11.2 seconds with a top speed of 183 mph. It can do the ¼ mile @ 104 mph in 13.6 seconds.

This sophisticated powerplant uses Cylinder Deactivation. Four cylinders, valves, and fuel deactivation during light loads are all shut off to conserve petrol. The engine returns to all eight cylinders when required…instantly. The engine is mated to the ZF 8HP90 AL951 8-speed automatic with Quickshift, Block Shifting, and steering wheel mounted paddle-shift. Block shifting allows combined downshifts.

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The Flying Spur V8 rolls with permanent all-wheel drive. The reassuring stability and traction of its computer controlled air suspension maximizes road impact absorption and road noise isolation. The ZF 8-speed transmission and all-wheel drive yields smooth imperceptible shifts. For the enthusiast that enjoys complete control can switch to electronic paddle-shift mode. This twin-turbocharged luxury saloon has a 40:60 rear bias torque split that intuitively changes depending upon available traction.

Its sophisticated suspension compliments the drivetrain. Built as monocoque construction, the air suspension has Continuous Damping Control and four-position driver-selectable settings from “Comfort to Sport.” Two-mode ESP (Electronic Stability Program) enhances brake and throttle regulation with increased cornering control. The ESP may be manually disengaged.

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 The four-wheel independent suspension uses four-link double wishbones with anti-roll bar to the front and a trapezoidal multi-link with anti-roll bar to the rear. The Flying Spur V8 rides a long 120.7” wheelbase, has the luxury length of 208”, and is 77.8” wide.

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Perhaps the key pleasure of driving the Bentley Flying Spur V8 is its undemanding nature. The power assisted steering; cruise control; the smooth transmission; the carefully contoured seating; the unique sophisticated multi-zone Climate control with bull’s eye air vents and organ stop controls; all help the driver and passengers to cover long distances and to arrive feeling refreshed and as comfortable as the journey’s start. The long descent of a winding Alpine pass or high-speed Autobahn or Autoroute may be undertaken with confidence.

Aesthetic and useful features make the Flying Spur V8 the most practical answer for the business professional who must work while travelling. They will undoubtedly enjoy the irresistible pleasure of driving such a motorcar. The RSE Specification is all about multi-media systems, features and accessories. It includes a Wi-Fi router and connectivity unit with a 64 GB hard drive in the boot. For each rear seat a 10” monitor, DVD player, SD card slot, USB port, 12v charging system, and wireless headphones. Bluetooth telephone connection with privacy headset is available. This highly bespoke automobile can be tailored to the owner’s requirements…

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Bentley Media

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Subtle styling differentiates the Flying Spur V8 from its flagship W12 sibling. The “figure eight” chromed exhaust finishers signify the alternative powertrain, while the famous Bentley winged badge receives the usual red center to denote the V8 engine. The front bumper grilles are finished in black, with a black “wing” insert.

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Signature Flying Spur V8 features include a monotone interior color split with Dark Eucalyptus wood veneer, full bench rear seating with folding center armrest, single front armrest, 19” Classic alloy wheels in a painted finish and a choice of seven exterior paint finishes.

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The Flying Spur V8 Mulliner with the formidable Mulliner Driving Specification is for those who aren’t satisfied with status-quo…and want something as unique as their fingerprints. The door panels and seat cushions have a luxurious diamond quilting which is a Mulliner patent. This bespoke process produces perforations in exact diamond shapes with non-perforated tram lines in between. Its intricacy makes a definite statement of distinction.

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The 4 + 1 rear seat system includes fully adjustable seating with lumbar support. The cabin is further augmented by drilled alloy foot pedals, indented leather headlining, ‘jewel’ fuel and oil filler caps, and embroidered Bentley wings on all head restraints. The standard veneer range is extended to include luxurious Dark Stained Burr Walnut and Piano Black finishes. The full range of 17 hide colors and four additional color splits is available. This Specification includes 20” five-spoke painted alloy wheels.

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For $208,000 USD this can be parked in your driveway. The 2014 Flying Spur V8 is built in the formidable Bentley hand-crafted tradition. This new luxury saloon has the legs of a sports car. It is nimble and quick…it sprints form 0-60 mph in an astonishing 4.9 seconds. The sophisticated 4.0 litre alloy 32-valve twin-turbocharged V8 engine is equipped with Cylinder Deactivation to increase fuel economy. The Flying Spur V8 like its stable mate the Flying Spur V12 cossets its passengers in first class luxury. This highly bespoke vehicle can be ordered to exacting requirements. The 2014 Bentley Flying Spur V8 is luxurious enough to qualify as a limousine.

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The formidable Bentley Flying Spur W12

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Bentley Mulsanne L

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Photos courtesy Rodd Sala Park Ward Motors Museum

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Photos courtesy of Bentley Press Club