Frankfurt Motor Show: New Bentley Mulsanne in the metal

Will Powell

Autoblog's Will Powell reports from the Frankfurt Motor Show

This is the replacement for the Arnage, the last pre-VW era Bentley. The Mulsanne is certainly more distinctive than the smaller Continental Flying Spur saloon, which looks a bit like and oversized Skoda Superb.

Notably, the front of the new car has twin headlights, with the smaller ones outside the larger ones - the opposite of normal design practice. Bentley says the look is, "inspired by the Le Mans era" of the 1920s and it certainly makes the car stand out.

Rather than an evolution of the outgoing Arnage, the luxury British marque was keen to point out that the Mulsanne is a "clean-slate design." Even the platform is new and has been specially developed for this car and each will take 400 hours to assemble at the Crewe factory.

What's not new is the engine. It's Bentley's 6.75-litre V8 whose lineage can be traced back to 1959 -but modern twin-turbochargers give it a whopping 505bhp.

The interior is distinguished by a remarkable acreage of polished wood, meant to give the car 'the feel of a living room' (presumably a wood-panelled one). There are wooden panels running continuously around the whole interior, including a panel under the rear window and a strip in the B-pillar between the front and rear doors.

The Mulsanne goes on sale at the start of next year and will cost a distinctly recession-unfriendly £200,000.