Why Bentley Decided to Send Off the Mulsanne: Say Goodbye!

Bentley Mulsanne Speed (2019) 1 photo
Photo: Florin Profir
Last week's Geneva Motor Show Online offered us a glimpse into the future of Bentley, thanks to the Balaclar speedster developed by the now-stronger Mulliner arm. Then again, 2020 is also the year that marks the retirement of the Mulsanne. So, why is Crewe putting its flagship sedan to sleep?
As many of us suspected, the decision was driven by the market's choice - if we look at the 2019 financial report the British carmaker delivered back in January, we'll notice the Mulsanne is missing.

It's not like the Brits didn't move any Mulsannes last year. It's just that, as head honcho Adrian Hallmark recently told Top Gear, the lavish foor-door only managed to convince around 500 customers in 2019.

And while the CEO has been quick to point out the said number is still greater than the sales figure of the Rolls-Royce Phantom, it still indicates a definitive shift - back in the days when the Arnage sat at the top of the Flying B range, that yearly number used to sit at 1,200 units.

For the record, Bentley's overall sales totaled 11,006 vehicles last year, with almost 50 percent of that being accounted for by the Bentayga. So this is yet another match lost to the SUVs, the same segment that kept stunning four-door concepts like the Lamborghini Estoque or Bugatti 16C Galibier from reaching production.

When answering the obvious question about a replacement, Hallmark mentioned that the said shift in the market means the business case behind a next-gen Mulsanne simply isn't solid enough, especially since the 6.75-liter V8 setting the lavish four-door apart from the rest of the range and the VW Group altogether is now more than six decades old - there's only so much engineers can do for the pushrod V8 in terms of preserving its character while meeting the ever-stricter emission regulations.

The CEO admitted that the considerably sharper and more luxurious Flying Spur, which is now in its third generation, can't completely fill the shoes of its departing big brother. However, the said assets, along with the more reasonable pricing (well, at least in luxury car terms) allow the Flying Spur to outsell the Mulsanne six to one.

So that's that, folks, we'll just have to settle for the 30 examples of the 2020 Bentley Mulsanne 6.75 Edition, which is the last hurrah for this motoring icon.

I was fortunate enough to spend a day with a Mulsanne Speed in 2019, which also happened to be the marque's centenary year. And the conclusion was clear: driving the big Bentley, or even being chauffeured in one, brings one back to a different era, so the main asset of this vehicle is the way in which it delivers a classic car experience in a modern package.

Oh, and there's also the fact that it can serve as a locomotive - the short film below explains everything...

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About the author: Andrei Tutu
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In his quest to bring you the most impressive automotive creations, Andrei relies on learning as a superpower. There's quite a bit of room in the garage that is this aficionado's heart, so factory-condition classics and widebody contraptions with turbos poking through the hood can peacefully coexist.
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