BENTLEY MULSANNE TAKES HOME PRESTIGIOUS GULF CONNOISSEUR AWARD
The new Bentley Mulsanne has won the ‘Best Limousine for the Red Carpet' prize at the glittering Gulf Connoisseur Awards ceremony, held at the Armani Hotel in Dubai. Bentley's new flagship car was chosen as the winner over the Maybach 57 and the Rolls Royce Phantom.
The Gulf Connoisseur Awards are decided by a panel of six judges, and set out to recognise the very best in outstanding luxury products. The panel chooses from a small group of nominations in each of the various categories, which range from jewellery and fashion to private jets and exotic destinations.
'Bentley is really happy to receive this award from Gulf Connoisseur,' said Chris Buxton, Bentley Director for Middle East, Africa and India. 'The car has been incredibly well received since its launch earlier this year and this is further confirmation of our efforts in producing the very best in luxury motoring.'
The new Mulsanne, designed and engineered at Crewe from the ground-up, reaffirms the marque's intent to create a new flagship Bentley with refined performance, unparalleled levels of interior luxury and coach building skills to the fore.
'In the category of Limousines for the Red Carpet, the new Mulsanne from Bentley has proved to be a powerful and elegant driver's car,' said K.N.Ned, Sales & Marketing Director, Gulf Connoisseur. 'The all-new Bentley flagship sets new standards in terms of comfort, effortless performance and hand-crafted refinement. No other carmaker can offer such a blend of performance and refinement in a single vehicle.'
Bentley has already received a large amount of orders for the new Mulsanne in the ÚAE, with the 2011 model already sold out. The new car will be available in the country from December 2010.
Source - Bentley
BENTLEY MULSANNE TESTING AND SIGN-OFF
The Mulsanne build story concludes with a range of exhaustive real world tests and checks that underline Bentley's total commitment to the quality of its new flagship.
Whilst quality checks are fundamental to every stage of the Mulsanne's build, it is at the penultimate sign-off stage ‘Checkpoint 7' that the complete car is given the most rigorous examination possible. Every Mulsanne must pass through 503 individual checks conducted by Donna Morrey and her inspectors from the Quality team.
The inspection lasts a full two hours and features all of the functional measures you'd expect of a modern automotive plant but with key two critical differences; Bentley reviews every single Mulsanne, without exception, and the inspection team sets the most exacting standards of quality which are commensurate with a flagship model at the pinnacle of the ultra-luxury segment.
'New colleagues are sometimes surprised by the lengths we go to and have been honest enough to admit that what we consider an issue would not register at another facility.' Donna Morrey explains.
Whilst checking that every function works (first time, every time and on every car) Donna's team is also tasked with looking beyond the merely operational. In her own words the team will also act as the ‘hands and eyes of the customer' and a skilled inspector has a natural empathy for the car and how it should look and feel. Morrey adds:
'This element is not an exact science. However, it is a crucial skill that we value greatly and it is particularly relevant for a car like the Mulsanne which features so much craftsmanship and character. For example, we will run a hand across a particular surface in the cabin to ensure it feels right and that it delivers the tactile experience the craftsman wanted to create.'
After testing on the shake rig and rolling road, every Mulsanne completes a rigorous on-road evaluation. Jason Davies and his colleagues have an in-depth knowledge of the roads surrounding Bentley's headquarters and the 21-mile route has been chosen to assess the Mulsanne's engine performance, ride quality and cabin refinement. Morrey comments:
'Jason and his team have one of the most enviable jobs at the factory but their work involves something far more important than completing some basic checks and enjoying a drive. Each Mulsanne is driven on a wide range of carefully selected roads offering variations in camber and surface quality. Road types range from narrow English country lanes to fast dual carriageways, allowing the car to be comprehensively evaluated.'
Once the car returns to the Pyms Lane factory it enters a special test facility that simulates monsoon-like weather conditions to ensure that it is completely watertight before heading for the very final sign-off stage – ‘Checkpoint 8'. Here, the car progresses through a long line of ultra-bright overhead and side lights (nicknamed the ‘shipping lane') which enables the Quality team to inspect every surface in the most minute detail.
During the critical pre-production stage senior Bentley managers from right across the business join the vehicle review at ‘Checkpoint 8' to examine the culmination of their efforts, despite having previously completed hundreds of their own checks.
'The way all the teams come together to view the pre-production models demonstrates just how much genuine pride goes into the building of these very first cars,' Morrey notes.Source - Bentley
BENTLEY MULSANNE CREATING THE NEW FLAGSHIP
Bentley's unique ability to combine hand craftsmanship with new technology and modern, precision manufacturing techniques permeates every aspect of the build process for the new Mulsanne which enters full production this summer.
The 98-strong team of Bentley manufacturing specialists responsible for bringing together the painted body, hand crafted leather hides and wood veneers, the 6 ¾ litre V8 engine and myriad electrical components, employ skills passed down through generations of Crewe car makers. They're also masters of new techniques such as the handling of the extremely delicate fibre optic cables and a highly-sophisticated electronic alignment system to ensure perfect installation of the wiring harness. Hundreds of exacting quality tests are conducted throughout the build process utilising some of the automotive industry's most advanced software.
Once the Mulsanne's painted body shell enters the ‘build hall', work begins on positioning the electrical loom (which is pre-heated to ensure the cabling is as flexible as possible) and fitting the fuel tank. Several specialist teams will also start working on building major sub-assemblies such as the dashboard and doors prior to installation.
Each car is given a unique electronic ‘Bentley passport number' which ensures that its complete build specification is available to production operatives at the tap of a button. This passport is far more sophisticated than a specification sheet able to accommodate the extensive standard and optional feature specification of the new Mulsanne. The customer may select from a range of over 100 paint colours alone.
In the dashboard sub-assembly area the fusion of hand-assembly techniques and high technology components is striking. Six team members are responsible for the installation and testing of the complex electrical controls using touch-screen computers. They are supported by two other colleagues who are tasked with hand-fitting the leather top-roll to the dashboard.
'The leather covered dashboard top-roll is one of the most visible areas of the cabin. Two members of the team take responsibility for ensuring a perfect bond between the top roll and dashboard unit and a special material has been developed to protect the leather at every stage of the process,'explains Gary Webster, Mulsanne Production Manager.
Further down the line the new 6 ¾ litre V8 engine and 8-speed transmission are ‘married' to the car. It takes the team approximately 20 minutes to bring the body and powertrain together, position the suspension and guide the sub frames into their locations. It will then take another 80 minutes to secure the powertrain and make all the connections before the ancillary components such as exhaust, front end module and radshell can be fitted.
As the Mulsanne progresses down the final assembly line, each team works with meticulous care to ensure that the car remains in absolutely pristine condition. As Gary Webster explains:
'Working on the Mulsanne requires an array of skills that goes well beyond just the accurate fitment of the parts. The way you move around the exterior and interior of the Mulsanne is critical because materials like the highly-polished brightware, veneers and leather need such careful handling.
A range of made-to-order protective shields are fitted to the car and our team have an in-depth understanding of the best places to apply pressure. Every member of the build team is respectful of the value and importance of the car they're making.'
One of the most involved processes is building the sumptuous cabin ‘from top to bottom'. The team start with the headlining and systematically work their way down to the floor, fitting the windows, ‘ring of wood' waistrail, seats, and doors.
By the time the Mulsanne nears the end of the assembly line it will have undergone over 2,000 checks (one section manager alone will need to complete up to 100 checks before releasing the car to the next stage). It will then be fuelled and ready to be driven onto the shake rig and rolling road test areas. Gary Webster adds:
'Although the Mulsanne is built and ready to be driven, it is still not ready to be delivered to the customer. Our colleagues in the quality team will now road test every single car and prepare it for the final checkpoint area where everyone who has built the car will come together for a final round of inspections.'Source - Bentley