1982 Bentley Mulsanne Review Aug 9, 2016 by Cedric (Driver Weekly)
The Bentley Mulsanne first appeared at the 1980 Birmingham Motor Show. The new model helped to restore the company’s aging lineup and reinvigorated the brand after years of releasing rebadged Rolls-Royces. While the new car was still similar to the Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit upon which it was based, in time, it recaptured the sporty heritage of the nameplate. After all, the Mulsanne was named after the famous run at Le Mans where Bentley had achieved six incredible victories. By 1982, the Mulsanne was more than just a new grille with the arrival of the turbocharged edition that was worth the price.
The 1982 Mulsanne Turbo was the culmination of years of hard work. Rolls-Royce had wanted a Bentley with higher power during the 1970s, floating the idea of a turbocharged 6.75 L V8 Camargue. Unfortunately, the Camargue was built in limited numbers by the traditional coachbuilder, and production wouldn’t have been able to keep pace with demand. The idea of a turbocharged Bentley was revived with the arrival of the Mulsanne in 1980. The engineers went to work and installed two turbochargers, one for each of the cylinder banks in the V8. The result was 450 pound-feet of torque and 300 brake horsepower. The turbocharged model hit 60 mph in only 7 seconds, a full 3 seconds faster than the standard version, and 100 mph in 17.9 seconds, compared to over 30 for the non-turbocharged version. The top speed was limited to 135 mph, not because of the engine, but because of the tires available at the time. In addition to the turbocharged engine, the new edition got an uprated gearbox, stronger CV joints, and more substantial drive shafts to compensate for the increase in force. There were also some cosmetic changes, including a new wheel design. Naturally, the car received Turbo badging along the front wings and trunk lid to ensure everyone knew this model was more powerful.
The Mulsanne Turbo had a significant impact on sales of the 1982 Bentley. Thanks to the Turbo, the number of Bentleys leaving Crewe increased from 5 percent to nearly 50 percent in just a few years. The Turbo version cost £6,500 more than the standard variation of the Bentley, but that didn’t deter sales. Official figures say that 2,039 Mulsannes were produced, and 653 are left today, meaning you may have trouble finding an accessible model.
The success of the turbocharged Bentley and revitalized sales saw the release of the Bentley Eight in 1984. This model was the sister vehicle to the Mulsanne introduced in 1982. This was the entry-level version of its supercharged sister, with a mesh radiator grille, steel wheels, cloth seats, and front spoiler. With this edition, it was suddenly an option to buy a Bentley without spending more than you would on a top-of-the-line Mercedes-Benz. In the following years, Bentley would capitalize on their success and continue to expand their range of new luxury performance vehicles. Either of these vehicles is an excellent choice for an avid collector, representing the company’s rejuvenation with a significant following and easily accessible parts and support to this day.