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Bentley has unveiled the Mulsanne, the company's new flagship, at Pebble Beach Concours D'Elegance in California.

The Mulsanne is inspired by founder W. O. Bentley's crowning achievement in 1930, the 8-litre. That masterpiece was the last big Bentley built from the ground up - until now.

Conceived, styled and engineered at Bentley's headquarters in Crewe, England, the Mulsanne goes into production next year.

Bentley Motors chief executive Dr Franz-Josef Paefgen said: "The challenge we set our engineers was to create a new grand Bentley that would stand as the pinnacle of British luxury motoring, offering the world's most exclusive driving experience".

"They have responded to this challenge with real passion and the result is a luxury grand tourer that sets new standards in terms of comfort, effortless performance and hand-crafted refinement."

The return of the Mulsanne name underlines the company's racing pedigree; the famed Le Mans circuit was the scene of six Bentley triumphs.