Bentley hasn't let us sample the Mulsanne yet, but we're seen it a few times now. We can tell you it will cost at least $285,000 to park one in your garage. And you'll have to wait until fall to take delivery, even if you've already got the $285,000 socked away.
With a new chassis built from a combination of high-strength steel and lightweight aluminum, the new Mulsanne gets its power from a reworked version of the venerable Bentley L410 V-8. That engine's basic design may date back roughly half a century, but according to Bentley, every component, save the twin turbochargers, is brand new. The result is lighter, more powerful, and more fuel efficient than the version it replaces, sending 505 hp and 752 lb.-ft. of torque back to the Mulsanne's rear wheels through a ZF-built eight-speed automatic transmission - all while reducing emissions and consumption by 15% versus the current Arnage.
Of course, improved economy does not correlate to reduced luxury. The Mulsanne's interior is said to be among the most luxurious the automaker has ever produced, with rich wood, leather, stainless steel, and glass trim. Rear passenger room is generous and a host of ultra-modern technology touches can be found. The optional Naim-designed 20-speaker, 2200-watt stereo system is, Bentley says, the most powerful automotive system in the world.
Alongside the Mulsanne sat Bentley's Series 51 Continental GTC, also making its North American debut. The Series 51 is offered to allow customers a selection of predesigned interior and exterior styling features, designed by Bentley design chief Dirk van Braeckel and his Crewe-based design team. Identifying 'Series 51' badges find their way to the car's front fenders. A host of personalization options remain available, including two-tone paint schemes with contrasting interior colors.
Series 51 specification is available on each model in the Continental range, including the GT, GT Speed, GTC, and GTC Speed. The Detroit show car is a Continental GTC that features Imperial Blue leather interior with Linen seat and door inserts and Saddle contrast stitching and piping. Also featured are 20-in., 14-spoke polished Diamond wheels with dark center caps along with Dark and Bright 'Engine Spin' aluminum options. Series 51 models start at $192,750 in GT configuration.