Here’s what you need to know about the latest Mulsanne.
And Then There Were Three
Just as the Bentley Continental family tree has blossomed into a vast breadth of models, the Mulsanne family is expanding as well, now covering three variants—the base Mulsanne, the Speed, and a new Extended Wheelbase model. The extra space between the tires translates to an extra 9.8 inches of rear legroom, and likely an echo.
A Facelift and a Tuck
Bentley is quick to say that everything forward of the car’s A-pillars has been completely redesigned, but one look resolves any doubt. The new Mulsanne’s styling is harder cut than its rounded predecessor, from the 3-inch wider grille to the full one-piece bumper, and the now evenly-aligned quad headlamps. It’s a similar story at the rear, where the car features a new bumper and taillamps.
Another jaw-dropping Bentley production figure, you say? Fine. Every Mulsanne is polished with lamb’s wool for 12 hours before its exterior sheen is deemed adequate.
There’s still a traditional 6 3/4 liter V8 under the bonnet, which summons 505 hp (530 hp in the Speed) and a bone-breaking 752 lb.-ft. of torque (811 lb.-ft.), but Bentley has tweaked its recipe in how that punch is delivered. Now, the eight-speed ZF automatic has been recalibrated and features an “S” mode which keeps engine RPM above 2,000 and both turbochargers spooling.
New air-suspension modifications reinforce those sporting pretensions, all while new active engine mounts and improved sound deadening keep the cabin quiet at breakneck pace. The Mulsanne Sport will do zero to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, and waft all the way up to 190 mph.
An Interior Worthy of Royalty
Inside, the Bentley Mulsanne gets new seats, door trimmings, switchgear, and a cleanly updated wooden dashboard, which now houses a new 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system and its 60 gigabytes of solid state media storage. In the rear, passengers have access to a pair of 10.2-inch Android-powered tablets, which rise from the front seatbacks. And to the delight of wealthy audiophiles, the Mulsanne packs a colossal 2,200-watt sound system with a total of 20 speakers.
Arriving Summer 2016
Bentley has yet to reveal official pricing on the new 2017 model (expect $300,000 and up), though the firm has said that first deliveries will begin summer of this year. The flagship super-sedan makes its official debut next week at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show.