By on April 21, 2014

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While the notion of a hybrid car that features a 6.75 liter internal combustion engine might seem a bit oxymoronic to some, rich folks like to demonstrate their environmental bona fides as much as anyone. With so many supercars like the Porsche 918 or the McLaren P1 featuring hybrid powertrains that combine green cred with mind-boggling amounts of total power and torque, high end hybrids have become the automotive version of eating your cake and having it too. Bentley’s new plug in hybrid concept is based on their Mulsanne flagship and they’re featuring it at the 2014 Beijing auto show. It manages to reduce CO2 output by 70% while increasing power by 25% and has a battery-only range of 31 miles (50 km).

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It must be some kind of rule in the automotive world that says that hybrid cars must be visually different from their conventionally powered platform siblings. Bentley does it with copper. On the outside, the character lines, headlamps, radiator shell bezel, badges and brake calipers all get some copper plating and on the inside copper has been applied to the switch bezels, instruments and veneer fascias. Also copper colored is the contrasting baseball style cross-stitching on the Mulliner Driving Specification upholstery, a welcome change from the near-ubiquitous French stitching one finds on leather car upholstery these days.

The latest interior styling trend, quilted leather and what may be the next trend, contrasting cross-stitching.

The latest interior styling trend, quilted leather and what may be the next trend, the contrasting cross-stitching on the armrest.

It’s not entirely clear what the production plans are for the Mulsanne hybrid. Bentley has already announced that its plug in hybrid system will be offered initially in 2017 on the SUV that the company plans to bring to the market in 2016. Since Bentley’s chairman, Dr Wolfgang Schreiber has said that by 2020 at least 90% of Bentley’s production will be available as plug in hybrids, once their first hybrid goes on sale, expect hybrid versions of other Bentleys to follow in rapid order.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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17 Comments on “2014 Beijing Auto Show: Bentley Mulsanne Hybrid Concept...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    First of all that copper looks brilliant, and I love that idea. The dials are beautiful, and remind me of a finely crafted heating element. I love the understated gauche of the Muslanne Copper, it’s what a bentley should be.

    Second, that copper is going to age and turn green like some old roof or a penny, so good luck keeping it from tarnish. Perhaps it can be refurbished later with some polished burl wood around the lower panels.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I like it, I say why can’t a near seven litre V8 also be more fuel efficient?

    • 0 avatar
      redliner

      That’s “six and three quarter liters” to you, sir.

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        Gotta love the Brits. The whole point of the metric system is that everything is base-10 for straightforward decimal computation…and Bentley rolls out a “6 3/4 Litre” engine. And they misspelled Liter too.

        Why do the British drink warm beer? Because everyone else doesn’t.

  • avatar
    gtrslngr

    Gee … like the excessively wealthy that can afford a car like the Mulsanne really give a rats @$& about Hybrid , Green , Saving fuel , Efficiency and the Environment .

    Sorry to rain on yer parade there BentAudi … but the only thing those folks care about is ;

    Prestige
    My cars more expensive than yours
    Blatant displays of wretched excess

    .. as well as making the little guy feel even smaller

    As to the Mulsanne itself ? The only Bentley that still IS a Bentley . And the only Bentley still worth buying IMO .

    So as a Hybrid ? Pass

    The car though ? Yes please . Make mine in two tone ; Champagne Silver and Black

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      One reason that they may care is that some European cities are banning private internal combustion cars from historic city centers.

      That way you can be driven right to the entrance of the Excelsior rather than taking a cab for the last half mile.

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      You may see nothing that makes sense about a hybrid Bentley, but consider that each of them would save as much fuel as two or three small hybrids. The same would apply for hybrid transport trucks, buses, Suburbans, pickups, or any other motor vehicle. Whether or not the goal of a hybrid Bentley is to reduce fuel consumption, it does, and if people must buy such cars, then reducing their impact makes sense to me.

  • avatar
    redliner

    This is brilliant. I love the copper accents. Perhaps some people will buy the hybrid just for the accents, not because of the the electric bits.

    I can’t afford it, but I don’t want to live in a world where it doesn’t exist.

    (on second thought, copper is so expensive people might be stealing switches and grills just for the copper :P)

  • avatar

    For cars this big and heavy, making it an Electric Vehicle makes more sense. The instant torque makes up for the tremendous amount of mass and the prices are already so high that the pricetag isn’t meant for anyone making less than $1 Million per quarter anyway. Just add a gasoline backup generator and then I’ll consider it a “green”-minded, less-wasteful vehicle.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    This is my favorite car ever. I’m okay a hybrid version if it gets the Volkswagen executives more profit out of the Mulsanne and keeps them from replacing the 6.75-liter pushrod V8 with one of the corporate VW Group engines anytime soon. But why have they done the “Hybrid” emblem in a script typeface? That’s really Porsche’s thing. There’s no need to make the brand lines any more blurred than they currently are.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    This just the sort of car an executive of a green company needs. After getting a few hundred million dollars of tax money and failing to make much out of it you can tool down the road in copper plated opulence while reminding your partners how much you still care for Mother Earth.
    And on to the next big thing.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I don’t understand hybridizing performance cars – especially making them plug-ins – but I dig the copper accents on this one.

  • avatar
    Garak

    You get all kinds of benefits from plug-in technology, like lower taxes, parking in EV only spaces or using EV only lanes, and being generally allowed to drive in city centers in the future.


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