The Mulsanne is Bentley's flagship sedan. With a wheelbase of 128.6 inches and an overall length of 219.5 inches, the Mulsanne offers a significant amount of interior and capacious trunk space.
The front end is dominated by the marque's trademark mesh grille, as well as two large round headlamps and LED daytime running lights mounted lower. It has a long nose and short deck and a retractable Bentley mascot is optional. Buyers have their choice of more than 130 standard exterior colors and 24 interior hide colors.
The Mulsanne features a V8 engine with Bentley's traditional 6.75 liters, and its twin-turbocharged and produces 505 horsepower and an impressive 752 ft-lb of torque. Cylinder deactivation technology helps the monster engine deliver a combined 13 mpg. The engine is paired with a ZF 8-speed automatic transmission controlled with paddle shifters. And although the Mulsanne is relatively heavy at 5,919 pounds, the powerplant offers 0-60 mph times of under 5.5 seconds.
Mulsanne Speed models come with the same engine tuned to make 530 hp and 811 lb-feet of torque and the wheels are upgraded to 21".
Although it shares some of its mechanical and electrical components with other Audi and Volkswagen products, the Mulsanne is still a hand-built Bentley from Crewe and its interior is top-notch, with high-end leather and wood surfaces used throughout. Bentley says the interior takes 165 hours to assemble, with the heated steering wheel cover taking nearly five hours to complete by hand. The MMI interface, entertainment system, air suspension system and transmission are all Audi A8 units.
A host of airbags are standard, including front units and dual side airbags for both front and rear passengers. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes are also part of the package, as well as traction control, stability control, tire pressure monitors and braking assist.
Options are extensive. They include an Entertainment Specification that includes a high-end NAIM audio system, on-board Wi-Fi, adjustable iPad/picnic tables, DVD player and wireless headphones. The Mulliner Driving Specification includes special trimmed vents, quilted door panels, sport-tuned suspension, drilled alloy pedals and 21-inch alloy wheels. The Mulsanne can be customized with a wide variety of wood veneers, personalized embroidery and curtains.
There are few cars that make the kind of impact that a Bentley can. Since 1919, the brand has been producing a certain kind of car for a certain kind of buyer, a buyer who, on average, owns six additional cars -- and we're not talking about beaters found for cheap on Craigslist.
In those nearly 100 years, the brand has expanded and its cars have evolved, but given the importance of tradition here that evolution has been of the gradual sort. That continues with this, the 2017 Bentley Mulsanne, said to be "The Ultimate Statement of Bentley Craftsmanship." Those touches that weren't broken remain unfixed, but some subtle tweaks to refinement and a bit of an injection of technology help to keep this most Bentley of Bentleys current in many ways. Though it still remains charmingly anachronistic in others.
Spotting the difference between the new, refreshed Mulsanne and the outgoing model will take a keen eye and an obsessive love for the brand. It's the headlights that you'll want to focus on first. The LED-powered units are all-new and marvelously detailed, appearing far more like a fine piece of crystal decoration than a functional piece of automotive equipment required by law.
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