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“Carnival In The Middle of Nowhere in France”


Design Walkaround: Bentley Mulsanne

Check the rear cupholders @ 5:43. Yes, I know, I know… but still they’re cool cupholders!


Bentley Wishes You A Happy Chinese New Year

by Gunnar Heinrich ::: img Bentley Motors ::: Bentley Continental GT and the Chinese New Year

CHALK it up to a sign of the times. Bentley honored its Chinese patrons (the PRC is Bentley’s fastest flourishing market) with an artful display on its webpage heralding the Chinese New Year.  The above image  is that of a striking, signal red (rouge for prosperity) or “Dragon Red” (as Bentley’s marketed the new color) Continental GT set off by tall rims with red B-logo center caps. And as you might’ve guessed by the depiction, 2012 is the year of the dragon. Incidentally, the BBC asked a Feng Shui expert to prophesize  what the significance of the dragon means for the world and the global economy. Apparently there’s to be an upturn ahead for the American market.  Does this mean Bentley will have a red, white, and blue edition in time for the Fourth of July?

[Bentley Motors]


Design Detail: Bentley Mulsanne


Cutting a new shape from an old premise.

By Gunnar Heinrich | IMG

BENTLEY’S Mulsanne is growing on me.

While I, along with a quizzical handful of Bentley aficionados, await with baited breath to see what (doubtless plush) interior Crewe has crafted for its latest grand chariot, I’ve been pouring over the exterior shots of this handsome sedan (saloon, if we’re British).

The Mulsanne picks up where the Arnage left off by maintaining the earlier car’s préstance but they’ve adopted cues from a few other uber sedans.

Of course, there’s Rolls-Royce in those lines.  The tall, cliff-face front fenders belong to both marques as they recall the Silver Shadow / T-Series from the 60s and 70s.

And there’s Audi, too. The way the rear door’s line ignores the wheel well’s curvature in its diagonal straight-shot comes direct from a new-wave of German design theory that we’ve seen in every Audi sedan in the past decade (thought the A8 comes first to mind, somehow).

Finally, there’s the trunk (or boot, if you prefer).


The C-pillar descends softly into a high deck-lid. This is another classic Rolls/Bentley feature, albeit lifted for aerodynamics. It’s very modern to the point of being almost generic in its Euro-slickness. There’s practically no definition to the bumper from the rear three quarter profile.

In this respect, it takes what the (Maybach influenced) S-Class and CL-Class have achieved and pushed the envelope further.



Kudos to the ordinarily stolid British manufacturer carrying automotive design theory forward (in stead of backwards). Let’s just see if wears with time. If the short spell since the Mulsanne’s Pebble Beach debut are anything to judge by, chances are it’ll grow on me.



Just How Grand? The Bentley Mulsanne

bentley-mulsanne-automobilesdeluxeLike fishermen beholding a great catch.

By Gunnar Heinrich | IMG Bentley Motors

WHATto make of Crewe’s new Mulsanne recently unveiled at Pebble Beach?

There’s much for there’s much car to behold!

Imposing and regal, the Arnage successor and the noble chariot that carries on the name – “Mulsanne” – first bestowed upon a rally car in the 1930s and then again on a rebadged Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit in the 1980s, is the next “Grand Bentley”.


The new, full-size sedan confirms that Bentley still operates in the upper echelon of the super- luxury market and ready to level with rival Rolls-Royce.

The car does, however, look slightly odd by some angles.


There’s more than a hint of Arthur C. Clarke to those projector beam phaser headlights and just a tad too much Christopher E. Bangle in those flame surfaced flanks.

There are still pearls that the ancien regime can appreciate, however.

For instance, those fat, diagonally reclining C-Pillars which handily hide rear occupants from the paparazzi and descend smoothly into the rear wheel well flanks – separate from the boot line – and finalize into the taillights are classic pre-war and immediate post-war Rolls-Royce/Bentley.


You’ll note that the Queen’s limo features rather similar hindquarters.


Then there’s the iridescent quality to the paint finish. Lustrous and true to Crewe standards of multi-faceted brilliance, it’s never the same color at any one angle but rather a symphonic melody that surprises and pleases in equal share.


That said, I can’t tell whether those large “eyes” and that open gaped front air dam remind me more of a basking shark or a whale shark. In either event, the Mulsanne carries a slightly cartoonish presence that put its under the same kind of scrutiny that Rolls-Royce has received since the Phantom’s debut in 2003.

It’s difficult to follow on a predecessor so breathtakingly elegant and delightfully grand as the Arnage. Nevertheless, the Mulsanne for model year 2010, is the next step firmly planted in the correct direction.



Grand Bentley or Bentley Grand?


By Gunnar Heinrich | IMG Bentley Motors

I’M thinking Bentley’s P.R. should rethink the title for its next concept, “The All-New Grand Bentley”.

At least for the American market. You know how car companies have different names for the same cars sold in different markets?

Mercedes-Benz sells a customer in New York a C350 and in London the same car will be called C350 “Elegance”, “Posh”, or something similarly déclassé. Or how Jag customers who opted for a Vanden Plas on this side of the Pond were buying what Brits had known as a separate marque altogether – Daimler.

And so on.

So, in these United States where we like our ‘Merican English short, to the point, and packing the biggest punch, I’m thinking that Bentley’s Arnage replacement should be referred to as “Bentley Grand”.

Oh, to be sure, even if  we called “the Grand Bentley,” it’d conjure up romantic notions of “The Grand Tour” – stopping off in old world locales with servants at your beck and call.

But most of the marque’s American customers will be new money who will know no such classic references. And a large percentage of these newcommers are going to come from the West Coast and who think of a getaway as a weekend in Vegas and…


I think you’re seeing my point by now. MGM Grand. Money, gambling, flash, sex. Escapism…what happens in Vegas…  Or even just “Grand” – a billfold of ten Benjamins. Flash. Money. Straight and to the point.

Or maybe I was just thinking of marketing that’d appeal to the typical Vette buyer… Sorry! Scratch that…

“The Grand Bentley” will do nicely.



Yassou Bentley! Greek Expansion

acropolisBy Gunnar Heinrich

SINCE opening its first Athenian salon in ’06, Bentley has sold 46 cars in Hellas (one might imagine Yanni and EasyJet’s Stelios being clients). But Athens is a hodgepodge of the ancient and the seedy, and there are access restricting blackout days that go odds/evens for car plates. Plus there were anarchist riots last winter. So, Bentley’s moved to the safely posh suburb of Attiki Odos (like going from Foggy Bottom to Chevy Chase). There, they’ll be happy to service your pre-’03 Rolls-Royce, too, efxaristo poli.


Bentley Helps Keep Austin Weird

austin-batsBy Gunnar Heinrich

AUSTIN, TX is known for a lot of things: bats under bridges, a thriving Bohemian culture, a lively jazz scene and Ann Richards.

But what the Texan capital isn’t really known for is its predilections for Bentleys. Well, that’s about to change (somewhat)…


Bentley Reacts To Declining Pound

bentley-spoked-wheelBy Gunnar Heinrich

CURRENCY trading is a curious thing. When George Soros decided to short the Pound in ’92, the value of Sterling plummeted. The Hungarian investor made $1 Billion while the UK public became poorer overnight. Lord knows what Rolls-owned Bentley did back then, but today they’re every bit as anxious about Sterling’s value as indicated in the following statement.