Bentley Mulsanne and Eight (1980 – 1992) Review

Bentley Mulsanne and Eight (1980 – 1992) At A Glance


+Good value, luxurious, still imposing, great parts and specialist support

-Effectively a facelifted T2/Silver Shadow and less stylish, dear to run in relation to its bargain price

When it was launched at the Birmingham Motor Show in 1980, most people expected that the Mulsanne would continue in Rolls-Royce's shadow - being offered as an identical sister car for those who didn't want a Flying Lady on their grille. And initially, this was the case - it was a badge-engineered Silver Spirit named after the famous Le Mans straight.

Alterations over the Silver Spirit included a black radiator insert and sports seats. But after four years in production, the Mulsanne began to take on an identity of its own - helped massively by the launch of the Turbo version in 1982. The sister Eight was introduced as an entry level model, gaining twin circular ones, and a mesh radiator grille, front spoiler, cloth seats and steel wheels. All of a sudden, it was possible to buy a Bentley for the same price as a top of the range Mercedes-Benz.

And the arrival of the Eight, alongside the Mulsanne Turbo was enough to set the car apart from the Rolls-Royce, and help kick start a revival of interest in Bentley as a standalone marque. The 1987 Mulsanne S was a good example of this - it took the normally aspirated saloon and married it with the Turbo R's suspension settings to create a very appealing addition to the range.