Could Bentley's Grandest Sedan Return as an Electric Car?

The Mulsanne is dead. Long live the Mulsanne?

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Bentley may have broken a few brains recently when the brand announced that it would switch over to an all-electric vehicle lineup by the year 2030. After all, the storied brand currently offers exactly zero EVs — just a single plug-in hybrid SUV. More PHEVs are expected to arrive as soon as next year, but that still won't bring the brand any closer to achieving its noble gasoline-is-verboten goal of a decade hence.

No, for the first production Bentley EV, we'll have to wait until 2025 — a seemingly lengthy wait for a brand that's so committed to electrification and has access to the Volkswagen Group's already-impressive lineup of electric platforms. Why might we be stuck waiting so long?

Well, according to a new report from Autocar, the inaugural Bentley EV will be based on the new VW Group EV architecture dubbed "Project: Artemis" — a new ground-up platform designed to to take a Tesla-like approach of integrating vehicular systems more directly than in the company's existing cars, enabling greater efficiency and simplicity, among other advantages.

An earlier Reuters report suggested the end result of Artemis could be a new super-SUV reportedly known as "Landjet" that would come in Bentley, Audi and Porsche versions. Autocar's new report contradicts that, claiming Crewe's first foray into EVs will be a "high-riding saloon" — a sedan that presumably, like the Polestar 2, stands taller than the average four-door to make room for bountiful batteries mounted below.

This turn of events brings an interesting thought to mind: could Bentley use this new EV as an opportunity to dust off the Mulsanne name?

The Mulsanne, which was retired this year, was the latest in a long line of massive Bentley sedans that served as the brand's flagship models. Bigger, more expensive and more imperious than the likes of the Flying Spur, the car was retired due to both flagging sales and its increasingly out-of-touch 6.8-liter turbocharged V8, an engine with roots dating back more than six decades.

A new large-and-in-charge EV sedan would, in turn, seem like the perfect candidate to resurrect the name (or, lacking that, one of the other names that's graced grand old Bentleys of yore, like Arnage or Brooklands). Doing so would be a way to show that the carmaker isn't abandoning its heritage in the name of advancement; rather, it's simply finding a way to bring the brand into the future.

And Bentley CEO Adrian Hallmark doesn't seem opposed to the idea of dusting off legacy names for future models, according to Autocar. "We love our current names. Maybe they’ll continue," he said. "But we’ll always follow customers, segments and values and find a name that fits."


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