The top-end manufacturer bucking the trend at Detroit

British ultra-luxury marque Bentley has debuted its new flagship model to North America at the Detroit Auto Show, reaffirming its commitment to the event.

The brand unveiled the Mulsanne, priced at $285,000 (€196,551), on January 11 as the only ultra-luxury manufacturer to have a press conference on the North American International Auto Show's schedule. Bentley is also the only manufacturer in its class to have a stand-alone display at this year's show. Many of the brand's top-end competitors such as Lamborghini, Ferrari and Rolls-Royce have opted to display their vehicles in "The Gallery," a separate display held at the MGM Grand Detroit. Bentley, though, maintains that the main show in the Cobo Center is an important opportunity.

"The Detroit Motor Show remains an important stop for Bentley on the annual calendar of international motoring events," said Christophe Georges, President & Chief Operating Officer for Bentley Motors Inc. "Bentley has a busy year ahead and displaying our Mulsanne and Series 51 Continental GTC among Detroit's automotive insiders, influencers and customers is central to our launch strategy."

The Mulsanne will be delivered in the US from Q3 2010, with a customizable range of 114 paint colors, 21 carpet colors, nine wood veneers and 24 interior leather hides. Bentley claims that the hand-built 6.75L V8 engine will deliver a significant reduction in fuel consumption and CO2 output compared to its predecessors. For owners opting for the premium audio system, the Mulsanne will include the "world's most powerful system fitted to a production vehicle," with a 20-channel 2,200-watt output.

Luxury unveilings have been in short supply at NAIAS so far this year. Many of the major manufacturers have opted to stay small, although Mercedes-Benz also staged the world premiere of its new executive, the E-Class Cabriolet, priced from around €47,719 ($69,192) in Europe. The Cabriolet is the fourth and final edition to the luxury E-class family, and is expected to be in European and US dealership showrooms from March 27.

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