Speed / May 2016

A Yacht On Wheels: The Bentley Mulsanne Part I - The Preview

The 2016 iteration of Bentley’s uber-limousine, the Mulsanne, stole the 86th Geneva Motor Show – so what is it that’s got luxury motoring mavens of all inclinations in such a…

Bentley has called it “the most relaxing automotive environment in the world” - a pretty bold claim given the heights luxury marques are current scaling when it comes to offering sybaritic experiences to luxury car consumers. But the latest iteration of the flagship Mulsanne exudes such pedigree and finesse – not to mention poised-to-pounce whoopee factor and technological brilliance – that it’s hard to keep the journo’s inner cynic at bay when previewing it.

This category redefining mega-sedan comes in three versions. The bog standard edition – a phrase I use with more than a smattering of peeved envy – is pretty much like a high-powered land yacht, conceived by the sensuously marinated denizens of the ancient city of Sybaris. The extended wheelbase version – surely created with one eye on parts of the world where owners’ own feet won’t ever touch the pedals – has been designed with the rear-seat passenger in mind, offering as it does a 250 mm of rear legroom, airline-style extending leg rests and a rear compartment sunroof.

The urban tarmac-shredder is clearly being targeted with the new Speed edition, whose 530 bhp, 1,100 Nm of torque and top speed of 190 mph will delight the oily rag sniffers (and historians – this vehicle being named after the 'Mulsanne Straight' stretch at Le Mans). Floor it from stationary and the rise from funereal to fly-annihilating to license-losing speeds takes place in a few exhilarating seconds — 4.8 to crack the first 60 mph, to be exact, although we don’t recommend it: despite its vast proportions, this is a vehicle which makes you fear that a single slip of your right big toe could send you volleying through buildings like a hapless Looney Tunes canid.

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