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Bentley Mulsanne unveiled


...and buyers are already scrambling to get their orders in for what will be one of the automotive world's most super-exclusive, super-expensive status symbols.

The Mulsanne, Bentley's peak luxury sedan, was unveiled this week at the Pebble Beach Concours D'Elegance and it is unlikely there will be much change out of three-quarters of a million dollars when it officially goes on sale in Australia next year.

"I couldn't possibly comment on price at this stage but there has been huge interest in this car ever since it became known that the Arnage would be replaced," Bentley Motors' regional manager Ed Stiebig says.

"The Mulsanne is a very distinctive, very bold design harking back to the history of Bentley yet on a completely modern platform and packed with the latest in technology."

The flagship grand tourer is inspired by what many consider to be the crowning achievement of company founder W.O. Bentley, the 8-litre built in 1930. To emphasis that point the Mulsanne was unveiled on the Pebble Beach centre stage next to W.O.'s own carefully preserved 8-litre.

Conceived, styled and engineered entirely at Bentley's headquarters in Crewe, England, the Mulsanne, with its completely new and unique platform, goes into production next year in a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility within the Crewe factory.

However, precious few details of the new car were revealed along with its styling.

"There will be a lot more technical details revealed when the Mulsanne goes on show at Frankfurt (Motor Show in September)," Striebig says. "As only the fifth all-new Bentley to be engineered in the company's 90 year history it is an ideal opportunity to engineer in all the latest technology that may have previously been unavailable."

Dr Franz-Josef Paefgen, chairman and chief executive of Bentley Motors, says the challenge set for engineers on the new car was to create a car to stand at the pinnacle of British luxury motoring.

"They have responded to this challenge with real passion and the result is a luxury grand tourer that sets new standards in terms of comfort, effortless performance and hand-crafted refinement the very qualities for which Bentley is renowned," Dr Paefgen says.

Lead designer for the Mulsanne project, Dirk van Braeckel, says the styling was inspired by the tradition of grand touring Bentleys. "From the very first hand sketches in the styling studio ... we have sought to evolve this story for a new generation of Bentley enthusiasts," van Braeckel says.

The Bentley Mulsanne will begin product early next year with the first Australian cars expected to be delivered in around 12 months. "Given the global scramble for limited supply I think it would be fair to say that whatever numbers we can secure for Australia will be less than demand," Striebig says.