What Is It?
The 2017 Bentley Mulsanne is the company’s flagship sedan. And when a car is the flagship of a luxury marque like Bentley, that means it’s ultra-luxurious. The company has introduced three new versions: the regular Mulsanne, the Mulsanne Speed and the Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase. There’s another variant, the Mulsanne Grand Limousine by Mulliner, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
Besides some styling tweaks (check out how the new front bumper, radiator shell and hood all flow together), the Mulsanne now takes on board newer technologies such as LED lighting, blind spot monitoring, forward-collision mitigation and a touchscreen-based infotainment system with 60 GB of music storage. It even offers Android tablets with a Bentley-specific interface that can be used in the car and elsewhere.
This model features wood, leather and exquisite craftsmanship. Bentley says that it takes 400 hours to build a Mulsanne and 150 of those (more than two working weeks) are devoted to the interior.
At the heart of the range is Bentley’s formidable 6.75-liter, twin-turbo V8 engine. In the regular Mulsanne, it provides 505 horsepower and a mighty 752 lb-ft of torque. In the sportier Speed model, the engine hits 530 hp and 811 lb-ft.
The Extended Wheelbase model uses its extra 9.8 inches of rear legroom to slot in aircraft-style seats — first class, of course. Anyone who requires more space and luxury should investigate the opulent Grand Limousine. Mulliner is Bentley’s in-house bespoke coachbuilder. It takes the Mulsanne, stretches it by 3 feet and adds 3 inches to the height. In the rear section, there are four seats: two pairs facing each other. The divider between this and the front section is a smart glass that becomes opaque at the touch of a button. This model features an intercom for communication.
Bentley’s sportier sedan side gets a boost with a more powerful V8 under the hood of the Flying Spur (Bentley’s less expensive yet still lavish 4-door). The Flying Spur V8 S coaxes 521 hp and 590 lb-ft of torque from its twin-turbocharged 4.0-liter engine. That gives it a 21-hp advantage over the regular V8 version and makes it competitive with the W12 model, whose heavier engine isn’t so conducive to driving fun.
In addition to as much abundance as any human could reasonably desire, the V8 S also has its air suspension and traction control systems retuned to have some enthusiast appeal. But it does so without ruffling any passenger’s feathers. Remember, Bentley used to be a major motorsport player in the mid-20th century, especially at the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans race. The Mulsanne is named after a section of that track.
The 2017 Bentley Mulsanne range starts at approximately $307,000 and then heads off toward the stratosphere. Pricing for the Flying Spur V8 S has yet to be announced.
When Can You Get It?
You can get all of the above in Summer 2016.
Add It to Your Shopping List Because..
While most other luxury cars are dull enough to justify employing someone else to do the driving, a Bentley has that extra ability to entertain. We’re not talking about carving up and down a tight canyon road while the passengers in the back spill their champagne. But in the right places at the right times, you’ll be glad you made this choice.
Other Cars to Consider
2016 Mercedes-Benz Maybach S600 — With a starting price that’s just under $200,000, this model could be considered a bargain, despite its gloriously plush appointments. There’s always the “mansion away from mansion” Pullman limousine version for a cool half a million.
2016 Rolls-Royce Phantom — The Phantom is going to be replaced by a newer model soon. In the meantime, this model is supremely luxurious and expensive.
2016 Land Rover Range Rover SV Autobiography — The SV Autobiography combines personalized luxury and extra rear passenger space with off-road capability.