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Here's Why the Bentley Mulsanne Is Worth $375,000

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Used 2016 Bentley Mulsanne
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$182,888
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author photo by Doug DeMuro February 2017

I recently had the opportunity to drive a brand-new 2017 Bentley Mulsanne, which is a full-size luxury sedan with a V8 engine, leather seats and a $375,000 sticker price. Yes, $375,000. This vehicle costs twice as much as the average American home.

This opportunity came about thanks to the wonderful people at Bentley Tysons Corner, in Northern Virginia, who offered me the opportunity to choose a couple cars from their inventory to review. So I browsed things for a minute, and then I decided I wanted to check out the sedan that costs as much as 14 Toyota Camrys.

Now, before I get started with all this, I know what you're going to say. And that is: There's no possible way for a vehicle to justify a sticker price that could also buy 3,900 years of Netflix. Well, after you read this column and watch this video, you might just change your mind.

I'll start with the equipment. It will not surprise you to learn that the Bentley Mulsanne has some.

For example, a base-level Honda Accord offers a stereo system with four speakers throughout the entire car. The Bentley Mulsanne has three speakers in each rear door. It also has a speaker near the rear passenger's head that's completely cloaked in leather. Other excellent back-seat details: The rear passenger can control the front passenger seat for additional leg room. There are rear climate-control vents for your head, chest and feet, just like in front -- and both rear passengers have a separate climate zone, so they can set their own temperature. And the Mulsanne's rear passengers get tray tables, pop-up rear screens, reclining seats with a massage function, and little lights that turn on and off when you run your hand across them.

It isn't all about the rear seats, though: The Mulsanne is loaded with cool features everywhere. For example, have you ever seen a car that allows you to control the brightness of the blind spot monitoring displays in the mirror? The Mulsanne does that. It also lets you adjust your "footwell temperature" separately from the climate-control system. You can use the infotainment system to alter the Mulsanne's mood lighting. And there's a little camera system in front that shows you what's coming from each side, just in case you can't see past the Mulsanne's long hood to make a right turn on red.

Speaking of that long hood, let's talk about the Mulsanne's engine: It's a 6.75-liter twin-turbocharged V8 with 530 horsepower. That means Bentley's cheaper Flying Spur sedan has more cylinders (it offers a W12) and more power (626 hp). But the purpose behind the Mulsanne's powertrain is twofold. Number one, it's the traditional engine Bentley has used in its cars for decades, which appeals to some of their more traditional buyers. And number two ... it makes 810 lb-ft of torque. That's a huge number, but it's even more amazing when you think about it this way: The turbodiesel engine in the RAM 3500 HD -- which is designed to tow 30,000 pounds -- has just 50 lb-ft more than the Mulsanne.

Although I'm not sure about the Mulsanne's towing capacity, I am certain of this: This. Thing. Moves. Bentley claims zero to 60 in 5 seconds, which seems entirely plausible -- even though the Mulsanne weighs 6,000 pounds. Consider that for a second: zero to 60 in 5 seconds for a vehicle that weighs a half-ton more than a Chevy Tahoe.

So the Mulsanne is loaded with equipment, and it's gorgeous to look at, and it's tremendously fast, but none of those things are really why it's worth $375,000. It's worth $375,000 because of the details.

Here's what I discovered when I was driving the Mulsanne: It makes the Mercedes S-Class seem both loud and rough. I've never had a harsh road's bumps and potholes soaked up quite as masterfully as I did in the Mulsanne. I've never in my life sat at an intersection, at a red light, in such complete and utter silence as I did in the Mulsanne -- silence from the Mulsanne's engine and silence from every single other vehicle or distraction around me. People spend days and weeks hiking over rough mountain trails to "find solitude." They could just climb inside a Mulsanne.

So here's the reality on the Mulsanne's sticker price: Mercedes S-Class buyers will laugh at Mulsanne buyers, because these crazy Bentley people are paying three times as much as for an S-Class -- even though, on paper, it doesn't seem like the Bentley offers three times the benefits.

But this car isn't about what's "on paper." Mulsanne buyers will, in turn, laugh at S-Class buyers, because Mulsanne buyers had an S-Class when they were 30. They've had nine S-Classes. And now they want something even more stately, even more refined, even quieter, even more comfortable, with even more little touches that Mercedes just can't offer. The S-Class is an excellent car that embodies the very definition of "luxury" for 99 percent of car buyers. The Mulsanne, as you've probably figured out by now, is for the one percent.

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Used 2016 Bentley Mulsanne
Used 2016 Bentley Mulsanne
$182,888
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Here's Why the Bentley Mulsanne Is Worth $375,000 - Autotrader