Bentley has shown the first full pictures of the replacement for its hand-built Arnage model, the Mulsanne. The new car's name calls to mind the Mulsanne Straight at Le Mans, the scene of many famous Bentley racing victories.

The company is emphasising the fact that this is the first true ground-up Bentley design for several decades; the cheaper Continental range shares parts with the most expensive Volkswagens and Audis, while the Arnage and its predecessors were based on Rolls-Royce models before Rolls-Royce and Bentley went their separate ways in 1998. On the basis of these photos, it looks as though the Mulsanne's designers, led by Dirk van Braeckel, have pulled off the difficult trick of producing a car that is modern but which still looks like a proper Bentley.

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Full details of the Mulsanne will be released at the Frankfurt Motor Show next month.

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