Bentley’s Mulsanne limousine could be re-invented in its next generation as an all-electric GT, according to a report by the UK’s Autocar magazine.
The Mulsanne, production of which drew to a close in June last year, was introduced as Bentley’s flagship limousine in 2010, but is now set to be re-introduced before the end of the decade as a halo model of Bentley’s ‘five-in-five’ ‘Beyond 100’ electrification strategy. The luxury British marque aims to introduce a new EV every year as part of a full transition to electric vehicles and neutralizing its carbon footprint by 2030.
One of the first of these new models to be introduced, according to Autocar, is a replacement for the Mulsanne, albeit now as a smaller sedan with an all-electric drivetrain replacing the 6.75-litre twin-turbocharged V8. It’s expected that the new Mulsanne will displace the four-door format for a more dynamic two-door approach, a direction that will allow the Flying Spur to continue as Bentley’s standalone, hallmark limousine, a decision predominantly inspired by healthy sales of the Bentayga – which last year accounted for 40 per cent of the luxury British marque’s global sales – and the growth of the luxury SUV market.
Despite the fundamental change however, the luxury Mulsanne is nevertheless expected to resume its place as ‘electric Bentley’s flagship model upon its arrival.
“We’ve dropped out of the Mulsanne segment and that is something, if we look at the market, that is still attractive to us,” Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark explained to Autocar. “It’s part of our historic strength to work in that segment.”
While many of Bentley’s upcoming electric models are also expected to use the EV-dedicated platform developed by Volkswagen Group sister brand Audi, it is not yet known whether the reinvented Mulsanne will do so: while the likes of the Flying Spur and Continental shared much of their respective underpinnings with Audi and Volkswagen, the Mulsanne did not.
Discussing electric range – a potential sticking point for the luxurious, née ‘heavy’ Bentleys, Mr Hallmark further explained that more than 300 miles (more than 480 km) could be feasible for even the brand’s larger models, given the accelerated progress of the VW Group’s battery development drive. Improvements that could also be retro-fitted to Bentley’s first raft of EVs.
“Before, [our platforms] were developed from group architectures that were developed way before we got to the party,” Mr Hallmark continues. “The effort to modify systems and the suppliers’ requirements has been a major limiter for Bentley in the past. With this generation of car, right from the outset we’ve been involved to ensure the specification that Bentley needs. I can’t emphasize enough how much of a breakthrough this is. It’s a game-changer.”