Bentley Mulsanne saloon
Price £229,360 - £252,000
- Beautifully made, hand-crafted cabin
- Capable on twisty roads
- Long-distance cruising ability
- Asking price
- Massive size
- Driver controls lack delicacy
At a glance
"The Bentley Mulsanne's beautiful interior is a masterclass in British luxury, featuring genuine wood trim, glass switchgear and super-soft leather"
The Bentley Mulsanne is the British marque's flagship saloon, and it offers buyers opulent luxury mixed with scintillating performance. It's powered by an effortlessly smooth and hugely powerful 6.75-litre twin-turbocharged V8 that produces over 1,000Nm of torque and 505bhp. The Mulsanne's very high price reflects the quality of the hand-crafted cabin, where passengers are spoilt with electrically adjustable front and rear seats, super-soft leather upholstery, wool carpets, traditional wooden dash and door trim, independent air-conditioning and whisper-quiet noise levels. Buyers also have an almost endless choice of interior colours and finishes, with nine different types of leather available in 24 different colours. The Mulsanne is fitted with an eight-speed automatic gearbox that also comes with manual shift paddles, and it's equally happy on twisty roads as it is cruising in silence on the motorway.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Requires deep pockets
Bentley has added a cylinder deactivation system to the big V8 engine, so the Mulsanne runs on four cylinders when it's cruising gently. The system cuts in and out so smoothly as to be unnoticeable, but the claimed fuel economy figure of 17mpg is still far from frugal. The Mulsanne sits in the highest road tax bracket, meaning an annual bill of £505, while servicing costs will be astranomical, too. However, if you can afford to buy a Mulsanne in the first place, you can easily afford to keep it on the road.
Engines, drive & performance
Driving the Mulsanne is an event in itself
Driving the Bentley Mulsanne is a unique experience and offeres a fantastic sense of occasion. You sit high up in total comfort, but the big saloon is surprisingly agile, with accurate steering and effortless acceleration. The Mulsanne is capable of 184mph flat-out, and can also accelerate from 0-62mph in 5.1 seconds, which is on a par with some high-performance sports cars. The automatic gearbox provides seamless shifts, and is best left in fully automatic mode, as the steering wheel-mounted gearshifters add little extra enjoyment to the experience.
Interior & comfort
One of most comfortable cars on sale
No matter what speed you drive at, there's almost no perceptible road noise inside the Mulsanne, such is the level of sound deadening. The doors are even fitted with acoustic glazing and electric privacy blinds in the rear. The air-suspension automatically adjusts to provide a comfortable ride on all types of road surface, while the front and rear electronically adjustable seats are trimmed in sumptuous leather. The rear armrest cleverly houses a control panel for the rear climate control settings, but although leg and headroom is very generous, the high rear transmission tunnel does affect the Mulsanne's ability to carry five people in total comfort. Extra-thick wool carpets feel very luxurious underfoot.
Practicality & boot space
Overall size is sometimes an issue
Despite the acres of interior space and cavernous boot, living with the Mulsanne does have its drawbacks. Its sheer size makes driving in busy towns and on narrow roads quite daunting. We doubt many owners will have any need to reverse-park their Mulsanne, but should the need arise, due care and attention is required. The automatic gear selector takes some getting used to, especially when going from forward to reverse. Finally, the Mulsanne is certainly not subtle, so expect onlookers to stop and stare wherever you go.
Reliability & safety
Very few cars are built this well
Bentley is owned by the Volkswagen Group, and the parent company has ensured that all new Bentleys are highly reliable. The Mulsanne boasts exceptional fit and finish, as every car is hand-built. In the event of an accident, side-impact bars feature in the doors. Also, the sheer weight (2.5 tonnes) and size of the car make it a very safe option. Electronic tyre-pressure monitors inform the driver of any sudden loss in pressure. Front, rear, head and chest airbags are also fitted.
Price, value for money & options
Incredibly expensive to buy and run
At nearly a quarter of a million pounds, the Bentley Mulsanne is massively expensive, but it's still cheaper than some of its main rivals. It slots in above flagship versions of the BMW 7 Series, Mercedes S-Class and Rolls-Royce Ghost, but isn't as expensive as the Rolls-Royce Phantom. The Mulsanne is a high-performance saloon with a truly hand-crafted feel. The huge list of standard equipment includes adaptive cruise control, parking distance control, voice control, a 60GB multimedia hard drive, sat nav and four-zone air-conditioning.