This British icon will be seeing its end.

11 years, 700 people, three million hours, and more than 7,300 handcrafted cars later, it seems like Bentley is set to retire its revered Mulsanne badge. 

Sure, the big Bentley was divisive aesthetically and a mere pipe dream for 99 percent of the population, but what the death of the Mulsanne really signifies is the end of a British icon, and the end of an illustrious era by the firm. 

Bentley Mulsanne
The Bentley 8 Litre leading the 2010 Mulsanne. (Image credit: Bentley)

It might’ve been introduced in 2009 as a replacement for the aged Arnage, but the Mulsanne’s lineage could really be traced as far back as the original 8 Litre of 1930. The car, which was the last to be designed and developed by W.O. Bentley himself, was known to be the most luxurious coach-built Bentley of its time. 

When it was first unveiled at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance show, the all-new Mulsanne sported an entirely new platform, a unique exterior and interior design, and chassis, and never failed to turn heads since then. The car is named after the Mulsanne Corner of the Le Mans racing circuit, where Bentley race cars have won six times in the 24 hours racing format, so it’s already got plenty of pedigree running through its veins. 

To call it a recognisable would be an understatement; the icon could be spotted from any distance because of its sheer size and voluminous curves. Every example was hand-built at Bentley’s factory in Crewe, England, and each played a monumental role in pushing the firm up the industry’s upper echelons when it came to fine luxury cars. 

By 2012, the Bentley Mulsanne was elevated further with a little help from the firm’s bespoke (and very pricey) division Mulliner. The Mulliner Driving Specification saw striking new design features that catered to the rich, including a diamond-quilted leather-trimmed cabin and an electrically operated bottle cooler, and set the tone for many other customised Mulsannes to come.

Three years later, the Mulsanne Speed was created to bring the experience of fast, ultra-luxury driving to life for the discerning. Besides an upgraded version of the 6.75-litre V8 engine that offered 530bhp and a tremendous 1,100Nm of torque, the sporty car also saw selectable driver-focused sports suspension and steering, lending a much-needed athleticism to the quintessential British luxury car.

Bentley celebrated the 60-year reign of Queen Elizabeth II with the Mulsanne Diamond Jubilee edition. (Image credit: Bentley)

After several new updates, a brand new variant (the Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase), and a special edition worthy of the Queen herself (the Mulsanne Diamond Jubilee Edition), it seemed only fitting that the car got one last hurrah before being consigned to the history books.

Unfortunately, the hulking sedan isn’t the only icon leaving the firm; Bentley’s venerated 6.75-litre V8 — which has been in production for 60 years and last duty was in the Mulsanne — will also be retired. The powertrain is the longest-ever continuously produced V8 in the world and has managed to survive in the Mulsanne while the other models swapped to Volkswagen-derived V8s and W12s. 


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