When it goes on sale next summer—for around $300,000— the 2011 Bentley Mulsanne will occupy the top position in the luxury automaker’s lineup, a spot formerly held by the now-retired Arnage-series sedan. With an all-new 6.75-liter V-8 engine, the stately Mulsanne, which was named for the four-mile straight at Le Mans, delivers racecarlike power: A jaw-dropping 738 ft lbs of torque is available at 1,700 rpm, and the engine sends 500 hp to the rear wheels at redline.
In styling the Mulsanne’s exterior, the company’s engineers took inspiration from the 8-liter Bentley of 1930. Despite this sentimental nod to yesteryear, the car’s overall design—which includes roughly 7,000 original parts—is firmly fixed in the present. The design team used aerospace technology to make the car lighter and stiffer, and crafted an 8-speed Tiptronic transmission and air-suspension system to improve drivability. The interior is equally impressive. A single piece of sculpted wood stretches across the entire dashboard. And in the backseat, Bentley’s signature folding picnic tables and bottle coolers await those who prefer to be driven.
Bentley Motors, 800.777.6923, www.bentleymotors.com