The Bentley Mulsanne is known by most for its large size, posh interior, and very comfortable ride. But aside from being a stately luxury sedan, the Mulsanne also features the world’s longest-serving V8 engine – Bentley’s 6.75-liter V8 first introduced in 1959. With the end of the Mulsanne’s production this 2020, it also means the end of Bentley’s great V8.
Bentley has been building the 6.75-liter L-Series V8 for 61 years and was originally introduced in the 1959 S2. The iconic engine has only powered the brand’s flagship models. As such, it is not the same V8 offered in the Continental GT or the Flying Spur. Interestingly, the same engine was also used in some older Rolls-Royce models such as the Corniche and the Silver Spirit.
When it was first introduced, the 6.2-liter L-Series V8 only produced around 180 horsepower, which Bentley found “adequate” at the time. In 1971, capacity was increased to the iconic 6.75-liter displacement it features today. The V8 engine then underwent a major overhaul in 2010, and now manages to develop a maximum of 530 horsepower and 1,100 Nm as seen in the Mulsanne Speed. At the same time, emissions were reduced and fuel efficiency increased.
Throughout its 61 year production, Bentley managed to produce over 36,000 L-Series V8 engines. All 36,000 were hand-built in the engine workshops of Bentley’s Crewe headquarters. As a result, it still one engine alone takes 15 hours to build.
“Our venerable 6¾-litre V8 has powered the flagship Bentley for more than six decades, and so has earned its retirement. I am extremely proud of the generations of skilled craftspeople that have meticulously assembled every one of these engines by hand over the years,” said Peter Bosch, Bentley’s Member of the Board for Manufacturing.
Bentley did not announce a successor for the Mulsanne. As a result, the new Flying Spur will become the British marque’s new flagship model after the final 30 Mulsanne 6.75 Edition by Mulliner units are completed. The same goes for the 6.75-liter V8 as it will be replaced by a 6.0-liter W12 fitted on the new Flying Spur.