2017 Bentley Mulsanne Speed Test Drive Review
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The Mulsanne is the most opulent and expensive car in the Bentley line up and we’ve got the Mulsanne Speed, which is the fastest Mulsanne Bentley makes. It’s a limousine that’s meant to be experienced as a passenger in the back seat, but Bentley insists that driving it is just as much fun as being driven in it. So we got behind the wheel to find out if there is any truth behind that statement.
A change that will be noticed easily on the Mulsanne Speed is the front grille. The grille is wider and lower. This makes a huge difference to the Mulsanne’s appearance. It’s now far more imposing than its predecessor. There’s a lot more Bentliness everywhere….. It feels like Bentley has gone through extensive lengths to make sure people know that they are driving a Bentley Mulsanne and not a Rolls Royce Phantom; for instance, within each headlight lies the name ‘Bentley’, the vents on its fenders near the front wheel arches flaunt the Bentley logo and wait, there’s more; Its taillights are shaped in the Bentley logo too.
Of course, these 'not so subtle' badges all over the car would mean nothing if the car itself didn’t scream class at first glance, and we are glad to inform that the Mulsanne does exactly that. Unlike its competitors, the Mulsanne hasn’t changed much over the years from an exterior point of view and we think this is a good thing. Most luxury car companies these days are so engulfed with sales figures that they keep trying to get up to speed (pun intended) with the latest trends or try to cater to everyone. Though, in the process of doing so forget what got them there in the first place. Bentley however, has managed to stand out from the crowd while continuing to pay homage to its heritage. There’s something to be said about a car, when one can stand in awe for its timeless elegance as opposed to the numerous gadgets and luxuries that it comes with, that’s 'Character'. And Character is unquestionably one thing it has a lot of, whether it comes from the athletic haunches, elongated stepped bonnet, boxy silhouette or everything in between. We are elated that Bentley is one the few companies that stands by its heritage and the Mulsanne is undoubtedly reminiscent of the Bentleys of yesteryear.
Despite being a car, it feels like we’re at the helm of a ship. Allow us to explain; first off, there’s an expanse of large veneered wood panels that drape the dashboard, doors, and the entirety of the center console. Furthermore, the gauges that display fuel levels and engine temperature are located on the center console rather than the driver’s gauge cluster. Other than their placement, what’s unique about these gauges is that all the information is displayed in a U pattern; the start and end of the gauge being from right to left respectively. The same applies to the speed and rev counter. We also like how Bentley paid attention to the fine details, such as fitting an analog clock to the center console where most companies would have gone with a digital one. This goes to show the extent Bentley will go to make sure their customers feel all the more special. To further add to the whole ship like appearance, there’s pure silver trim surrounding the gauges as well. That’s not all, The A/C vents seem to have been sculpted from one solid block of silver and the center console is garnished with silver too. The stalks for turn signals and wipers/washers are also covered in a combination of leather and silver. If we may digress; the center console is equipped with a small push-to-open drawer that can be used to store and charge one mobile phone. We just wish more companies would include this feature in their cars. The whole experience makes us feel like Bentley has really put a lot of thought into designing the Mulsanne’s interior.
We’re going to take you on a journey as a back-seat passenger in the Mulsanne Speed; It’s a beautiful morning and you have a long way to travel to the annual millionaire’s ball. You’re pressed and dressed, walking towards your Mulsanne and the chauffeur is holding the door open for you. You get in and sink into the diamond quilted leather seats while the door is closed for you. The journey begins and you remembered that you missed the latest Game of Thrones episode, so you press a button for the 10-inch android tablet, which rises from the back of the front passenger seat. You probably don’t want your chauffer to be distracted so you decide to use the wireless Bentley headset that sits in the door bin in a Bentley pouch. While watching, you fancy a beverage, so you open the armrest that hides a glass door to the refrigerator. You then push a button that slides the door open, take a crystal-handcrafted flute, a bottle of champagne and pour yourself a cold one.
The night before was quite hectic; you’re a bit tired and need some sleep. Not to worry, the Bentley has you covered; you open the arm rest, use the controls to recline your seat and move the front seat forward to create more room, cool your tush, start a massage and drift into a blissful sleep. Wait, you realize it’s bright outside and the glare is annoying, all you need to do is press the window controls twice to close the curtains on the passenger windows. There’s still a bit of light from the rear window, so you ask your chauffer to close those curtains too.
After a while, your chauffeur wakes you up since you have arrived at your destination. You then open the lit vanity mirror to see if you look great before you leave the car, because who wouldn’t. It’s blisteringly hot outside and you don’t want to ruin your complexion. So what does your chauffer do? He opens the boot and walks you to the entrance of the ball shielded with your very own Bentley umbrella that was in the boot. While walking, it occurs to you that you don’t want to go to the ball, you’d rather be driven back home cocooned in lavish luxury, and since you are part of a very exclusive society, that’s exactly what you decide to do.
Driving & Performance
The Mulsanne Speed weighs 2.6 tons; to move its behemoth weight, the engine needs to be immensely powerful. Enter the 6 3/4 liter twin turbocharged V8 that pumps out 530HP and wait for it, one THOUSAND one hundred newton meters of torque! The engine is completely bespoke and bears the name of the engineer who built it. These large numbers suddenly become a small one; 0-100kph is accomplished in 4.9 seconds. That’s sports car acceleration from a land yacht! While in the driver’s seat, the thought of having all that brute force at your whim is intoxicating. Despite the power, the acceleration is composed rather than violent.
On the road, the Mulsanne Speed commands respect. Throughout our drive we couldn’t spot a single annoying tailgater driving on the freeway and to our surprise even the fast lane hoggers cleared the way for us without having to flicker the high beam; this we could definitely get used to. Just picture the front of the Mulsanne in your rear-view mirror, precisely, even the biggest of car names will give way and that would be normal. The combination of its long bonnet, elevated ride, monstrous size and classic look makes you feel like royalty.
After saying so much about the Mulsanne Speed, there’s only one way to conclude our experience with it. As amazing as it was to bask in the luxury of being in the back seat, all we could think of was ‘when do I get to drive it?’