Compared to the Mulsanne it was manufactured alongside, the Bentley Eight was designed to be slightly less opulent. That’s because Bentley wanted to keep the price under £50,000. That’s £156,000 in 2018 dollars, or $197,200 to my fellow Americans. So, even though it was based on the same platform, many of the amenities that came standard on the Mulsanne were stripped out of the Eight. The creation of an all-new model seems like a lot of work just to lower the base price by £6,000 ($7,600), but the Eight wound up a very successful model in the eyes of the low-volume carmaker from Crewe.
Dialling it Back
From the outside of the vehicle, you would be hard-pressed to find any low-rent attributes. At just over 5,300mm long and weighing 2,320kgs, the Bentley Eight is every bit as visually impressive as its more expensive sibling. To easily tell the difference between the two models, we must look to the grille. The Mulsanne’s slatted grille has been abandoned in favour of a mesh unit. And that sportier grille was complemented by a slightly firmer suspension tuning, making for a better-handling car.
Moving the big car along is a 6.75-litre Rolls-Royce engine that was shared with the Mulsanne. In 1986, Bentley added fuel injection to cars manufactured 1986 and later. The exact power figures were not released, but rest assured that the big V8 made “sufficient” power.
Still a Bentley
Even though we are talking about the lower Bentley model, the interior wasn’t exactly a penalty box. Any average person who were to jump inside the Eight back when it was new (or even today, for that matter) would find the interior to be extremely well-appointed. Wood and metal adorn nearly every surface of the dash and console. Meanwhile, the optional lambswool carpeting creates a soft and sumptuous resting place for your feet. Other niceties you will find inside the Eight include power mirrors and seats (on models made after 1987) as well as rear-seat footrests and even ride-height adjustment (after 1990).
Initially, Bentley planned to sell the Eight only within the confines of the UK. So popular was this less-costly model, however, that the British automaker decided to expand sales to the rest of Europe and the United States. By the end of production in 1992, they had sold 1,736 Eights.