Bentley Motors have revived the name Bentley Eight on a new model designed, so their press release says, to appeal to “young entrepreneurs who want top quality comfort, classic styling and the enjoyment of driving with a sense of performance”. The car, similar in most respects to the normally aspirated Mulsanne, costs £49,497, £5,743 less than the Mulsanne and £12,246 less than the Mulsane Turbo.
While a car at such a price is of merely academic interest to most of us, the reasons for a model with such firm associations with the great days of the marque, before it became a badge-engineered Rolls-Royce, are much more intriguing. The introduction of the Eight is part of a move to re-establish Bentley with a new identity in a longer term plan to move Bentley models away from their Rolls-Royce counterparts.
So far this plan has largely centred around model names, “Corniche”, for example, being dropped in favour of “Continental”, but it would seem that we might be in for a few pleasant surprises from Crewe in the future. We shall watch with interest. . . .