|Engine||6.75 litre V8|
Announced alongside the Rolls-Royce Silver Spirit in 1980, the replacement for Bentley's T-Series was christened the Mulsanne after the straight at Le Mans, scene of five famous victories for the marque during the 1920s. The Bentley appealed to those who preferred a more discreet mode of transport, with the traditional winged-B radiator shell, badging and wheel trims being the most obvious distinguishing features. Bentley, which had been struggling by the 1970s, began fighting back by the mid-1980s, so much so that a new model was added to the line-up. Pitched at a younger market, the Bentley 8 was essentially a Mulsanne with some of the extraneous luxury features left out and as a result the price was considerably more affordable, encouraging a new generation of owners into Bentley products. The 8 was distinguished by a new radiator using wire-mesh, harking back to the W.O. era, along with stiffer suspension for more sporting handling. Performance reserves from the 6.75-litre V8 engine remained more than ample (output was, as ever, described merely as “adequate”) and the ride superb thanks to fully independent suspension. In 1987, the 8 was revised with new light alloy wheels and improvements to the interior and suspension. The 8 remains a wonderfully relaxed, comfortable and reliable luxury automobile, the driver cocooned in a leather-clad cabin replete with luxury touches only now finding their way into lesser cars.