The Bentley Mulsanne is a seriously imposing saloon, with a huge powerful V8 engine and beautifully crafted interior. Its huge size can make it daunting to drive in town, though.
The Bentley Mulsanne is Bentley’s range-topping luxury saloon that rivals other luxury behemoths such as the Rolls-Royce Phantom, Mercedes S-Class Maybach and Aston Martin Rapide S. It’s also likely to tempt buyers of luxurious SUVs like the Range Rover SVAutobiography and Bentley’s own Bentayga.
There are three models in the range – the ‘basic’ Mulsanne, the long wheelbase Mulsanne ELB and the performance-focused Mulsanne Speed. Whichever you choose, all come with a lavish interior complete with palatial quantities of wood, leather and polished metal. The ELB’s has even more rear-seat room than the standard car, while the Mulsanne Speed comes with sportier seats and some carbon fibre trim inserts.
Generally speaking, the Mulsanne’s interior is, as you’d expect, a perfect illustration of craftsmanship and excess. It takes 150 hours to trim the seats by hand and the attention to detail is astonishing – for instance, more than 5,000 stitches are required simply for the Bentley logo on each seat.
The dashboard is a bit button-heavy, but the cabin provides you with a cocoon of leather, wood, and sheepskin that only a Rolls-Royce can compete with. You can choose from 140 exterior colours, 12 different veneers and 24 hide colours, so it’s unlikely two Mulsannes will be the same.
The Mulsanne feels more Rolls-Royce than the typical Bentley - you’d rather spend time in the back of it than do the driving yourself.
The Mulsanne’s infotainment system is touchscreen-based so it’s not as easy to use as the one in the S-Class Maybach. If you go for the ELB model you get two 10-inch tablets hidden in the backs of the front seats which appear at the push of a button. They are Android-based – giving you access to millions of apps and the ability to stream video or music.
The Speed model corners surprisingly flat with the adaptive dampers set to Sport and there is some feel and weight to the steering. However, it’s on the motorway where all three Mulsannes shine, with their silent cabins and comfort over lumps and bumps, although the sheer dimensions of the Mulsanne with its long bonnet and poor rear visibility take some getting used to in town.
The Mulsanne’s huge 6.75-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 produces a stonking 505bhp – more than enough, even in a car weighing more than 2.5 tonnes. The 0-62mph sprint in 5.3 seconds and pushing the Bentley on to a top speed of more than 180mph.
The Speed model packs 530hp – enough for a 0-62mph sprint in 4.8 seconds, which is quicker than a Porsche Boxster. The Mulsanne’s V8 also has clever cylinder deactivation tech, but the official fuel economy of 19mpg will be difficult to achieve, even with a conservative right foot.
But let’s be honest, anybody in the market for a Bentley Mulsanne won’t be worrying about fuel economy anyway. What they’re after is luxury and exclusivity, and the Mulsanne offers that in spades, even if it is starting to feel long in the tooth in terms of infotainment.