Bentley to replace Mulsanne with flagship SUV – report
A replacement for the Bentley Mulsanne will no longer be a sedan, but rather a flagship capping an extended range of SUVs, Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark has hinted to Autocar. This will complement the Bentayga, the firm’s first SUV nameplate and which has accounted for 47% of all Bentley sales in 2019, the magazine reported.
“Our ambition is to fill the Mulsanne price space. it will not be a sports car, because we will not build sports cars. The clear indication is that luxury car buyers see SUVs as being far more attractive, and that is where we see the potential. I can definitely see gaps for more derivatives of the Bentayga and other opportunities within the SUV space,” Hallmark said.
The handing over of the flagship torch to an SUV form is also due to falling demand for traditional sedans, which meant that there is no longer a ‘rational case’ for the engineering of a new model in the vein of the current Mulsanne, said Bentley’s CEO.
“If we only see potential for 400 to 600 (units) a year, it makes the business case extremely tough. The cost of developing these cars with the technology and requirements to meet emissions and crash regulations means they are no less expensive to develop than a car that you can sell 5,000 units of,” Hallmark explained.
The CEO noted that global sales of four-door models from the British luxury marque 20 years ago were around ‘1,500 to 2,000 a year combined’, referring to when the Bentley Arnage was on sale at the same time as the externally similar Rolls-Royce Silver Seraph, with which it shared its exterior bodywork and platform. Now, the full-size flagship sedans represent less than 1,000 sales for the marque, he said.
The Mulsanne line was given its final salute with the debut of the 6.75 Edition by Mulliner in January, a 30-unit limited run model with powertrain based on that of the Mulsanne Speed with 530 hp at 4,000 rpm and 1,100 Nm of torque at 1,700 rpm. With the conclusion of the Mulsanne’s production run, the Flying Spur assumes the role of Bentley’s flagship model.
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