A link to an earlier era of automotive opulence will come to an end this spring when the current Bentley Mulsanne finally goes out of production. To mark that historic event, Bentley will close out assembly of its outgoing flagship with 30 exclusive Mulsanne 6.75 Editions, handcrafted by the marque's Mulliner coachbuilding division at Bentley's Crewe facility. Until a replacement for the Mulsanne surfaces, the recently introduced all-new Flying Spur will top the Bentley lineup. Bentley will offer hybrid versions of all of its nameplates by 2023.
The Mulsanne, first introduced in 1980, is the last remnant of the times when Bentley was part of Rolls-Royce, before that automaker was bought by BMW and Bentley was acquired by Volkswagen Group. It's also powered by the longest-serving V-8 engine in continuous production in the world. Now at 6 ¾ liters of displacement, the Bentley V-8 is in its 60th year of production, and the 6.75 Edition's branding is a tribute to that powerplant, which first appeared in the 1959 Bentley S2.
Based on the 530-horsepower, $342,300 Mulsanne Speed, the 6.75 Edition features a number of subtle references to the brand's longstanding engine. The dashboard clock and minor gauges have faces decorated with cutaway schematic drawings of the V-8, interior ventilation controls are styled after the motor's oil cap, and the 6.75 Edition logo is embroidered on the seats. Chrome badges of that logo also adorn both the exterior and the engine compartment, and the same logo is projected onto the pavement by the Mulsanne's LED “Welcome Lamps.” The engine compartment has been further embellished with a black, rather than stock silver colored, intake manifold. The engine number badge, usually signed by the craftsman who assembled it in Bentley's one-man-one-engine assembly process, is instead autographed by Adrian Hallmark, Bentley's chairman and CEO.
To set it apart from more plebian Mulsannes (as if any Mulsanne can be truthfully described as anything less than patrician), much of the exterior chrome has been replaced with gloss black brightwork, with the exception of the bright chrome trim that surrounds the headlights and tail lamps. The Flying B hood ornament, Mulliner “Serenity” front grilles, and exhaust tips have all been tinted dark. That chiaroscuro play of light and darkness is continued on the 21-inch, five-spoke Mulsanne Speed alloy wheels, whose bright-machined surfaces contrast with gloss black pockets.
The interior is also unique from conventional Mulsannes. The full-leather interior is available in four colors, Imperial Blue, Beluga, Fireglow and Newmarket Tan, with contrasting silver piping, accents, and bindings. Front and rear center consoles are trimmed with a silver finished wood veneer, and the front console gets a 6.75 Edition commemorative plaque. The front fascia's trim is in gloss black, as are the side waist rails running under the doors, which also have contrasting engine-turned inserts of dark anodized aluminum.
Concerning the Mulanne's final edition, Chris Craft, who heads sales, marketing, and aftersales for Bentley Motors, said in a statement, “The Mulsanne has played a pivotal role in maintaining Bentley’s position as global leader of the luxury limousine segment. The flagship of our model range, its longevity is a testament to our ongoing commitment to hand-building the finest motor cars in the world. The new Mulsanne 6.75 Edition is the culmination of that achievement.”
Citing increased demand for its other models, Craft indicated that Bentley employees currently working on the Mulsanne will be assigned to other duties. No pricing information or delivery dates have been announced, but, as the saying goes, if you have to ask the price...