By Richard Cree
How do you improve on perfection? That was the challenge Bentley set themselves when they came to upgrade the company’s flagship, the Mulsanne. The somewhat prosaic answer is to create something more refined, with a more powerful engine, improve impeccable steering and handling and throw in some clever gadgets, including reclining rear seats. And this is exactly what the Bentley wizards did.
When reviewing the previous Mulsanne, the biggest dilemma was whether to drive it or luxuriate in the rear. This issue is resolved here – a driver opts for the Mulsanne Speed (which offers more power and precision) and if you’re more at home in the rear, you opt for the extended wheelbase model. With the right specification, this includes those reclining “airline” seats, some freakishly complex folding tables, which involve 671 moving parts, and a fridge for the champagne (a $10,000 optional extra). In between there’s a standard model – called “Consummate” – which does a bit of both better than most competitors.
Driving the Speed along unrestricted German autobahns, the incredible refinement at frighteningly quick speeds is enough to make such speed not at all frightening. For all its muscular presence, it handles with so much responsiveness, refinement and immediacy, it feels like a much smaller car.
The 6.75-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 delivers a 0-60mph time of 4.8 seconds, with a top speed of 190mph. This upgrade brings crisp new lines to an already grand exterior. New LED headlights, stylish wheel options and a striking new front grille are delightful additions. A $28,000 entertainment specification includes Apple’s CarPlay and Google Maps, as well as two 10-in tablets in the rear.
Whatever you want from a car – something fun to drive, a mobile office, or somewhere to sleep – there are few better options than the new Mulsanne.