It’s always hard to say goodbye and to find an appropriate way to say it; but doing so allows the new to progress. After just over sixty years, Bentley is to bid farewell to its workhorse engine: the 6.75 litre V8. During its six decades in production, it’s fair to say that the much loved V8 has been fitted in a good number of car designs coming out of the Bentley factory. From the initial inclusion in the Bentley S2 Continental right up to the current Mulsanne model, the six- and three-quarter litre engine has been there and done that.
Designed, engineered and hand-built in Crewe, England, the Mulsanne’s 6.75 litre engine is now the world’s longest-serving V8 of its type in continuous production. So, for its final journey, it is only right and fitting that a limited-edition car was made to house it.
Equally, after forty years, Bentley is bidding farewell to the Mulsanne itself. The car that has represented the pinnacle of luxury hand crafted automobiles is to give way for an updated model and design. With new goals and intentions towards sustainability and green credentials, Bentley is moving away from engines designed and engineered in the 1960s. Although over time changes were made to the engine to improve fuel efficiency and power output, it is still, at its base, a blueprint from 1960. Likewise, with last year’s futuristic EXP100GT signalling a new era of external and internal car concepts, the time has come to move on from the Mulsanne flagship.
To honour the iconic car and engine, a limited edition of 30 Mulsannes are to be built. The “Mulsanne 6.75 Edition” by Mulliner will be based on the existing 530 bhp, 1100 Nm Mulsanne Speed which is the most driver-focused ultra-luxury sedan ever created. This is the reason why the edition is to be a driver’s car, with the focus on elements that make the driving experience as unique as possible.
Several small and subtle changes to the cabin have been made: The “organ stop” ventilation controls are replaced by designs capped by miniature versions of the engine oil cap; on the seats, a unique 6.75 Edition motif has been stitched, the insignia recreated as a chrome badge for the exterior and the engine bay and the same motif design will be projected by the LED Welcome Lamps when the car’s doors are opened; last, the gauges and clock on the front dashboard will feature schematic cutaway drawings of the engine.
The interior is the very definition of dark subdued elegance. In keeping with the bespoke nature of the car, a colour split will be available in four single tone hides: Imperial Blue, Beluga, Fireglow and Newmarket Tan with silver accents throughout the cabin, complemented by accent hide around the centre console, seats and door inserts. The centre and rear cabin consoles will be finished in silver-painted veneer – with a unique metal commemorative plaque fitted to the front console. Other surfaces, such as the waistrails and fascias are engine spun grand black.
The exterior displays the same attention to light and dark surface treatments. While the customer gets to choose their own paint colour, various other elements are brought to life with bright or dark gloss, while the headlamps and tail lamps will be wrapped in bright chrome. Gloss black brightware accentuates the “Flying B” bonnet mascot, the Mulliner Serenity radiator grille, tail pipe finishers and the bonnet strip. The 21 inch five-spoke Mulsanne Speed wheels will feature a unique bright-machined face with gloss black pockets.
The Bentley Mulsanne 6.75 Edition by Mulliner celebrates the production life of the Mulsanne and will actually be some of the last of that model hand built. For the limited edition, the intake manifold of these handmade final 6.75 litre V8 engines will be finished in black in lieu of the traditional silver. The sign-off will literally come from Bentley’s Chairman and CEO; the car’s engine number plaque, which traditionally would be signed by the craftsman that built the engine, will be signed instead by Adrian Hallmark. A fitting way to bid farewell.