New look for 2016 Bentley Mulsanne

The new Bentley Mulsanne range grows with the introduction of a long-wheelbase version

The new Bentley Mulsanne range has made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show and features three distinct models and new technology designed to offer the last word in comfort.

The ‘standard’ Mulsanne and the more sporting Mulsanne Speed will be joined by the Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase, which, as its name suggests, places more focus on interior space and comfort.

Although the new model is immediately recognisable as a Mulsanne, its front end has been completely redesigned, while the interior features all-new seats and door trim, plus unique glass switches.

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The Mulsanne Speed also carries a number of features to set it apart, including dark chrome trims, special 21-inch alloy wheels and ‘rifled’ exhausts.

Bentley boss Wolfgang Durheimer said: “The three distinct handcrafted models now available each offer customers something different. The Mulsanne, with its understated elegance and sporting purpose, remains the consummate luxury limousine; the Mulsanne Speed is the pinnacle of luxury and performance thanks to its immense power, torque and refinement; and now the Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase – with its extraordinary airline-style seats and rear-passenger bias – becomes the new benchmark in automotive comfort.”

New Bentley Mulsanne interior

The interior of each Mulsanne takes more than 150 hours to create, such is the amount of handcrafting involved. The seats have been redesigned and feature soft-touch leather and are available in fluted or quilted finishes in one of 24 different colours.

There are also 40 pieces of wood veneer inside, available in 13 different finishes, as well as Bentley’s trademark polished steel controls.

The Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase is longer than the standard car, with 25cm extra room between the front and rear wheels. The two rear seats have airline-style power-operated leg rests, while a folding table and electric curtains are available as options. A large sunroof is also fitted.

Mulliner Driving Specification is fitted as standard to the Mulsanne Speed, which includes diamond-quilted seats, a knurled gearstick and optional carbon-fibre trim inserts.

Technology

The new Mulsanne has a new infotainment system, with what Bentley describes as “class-leading” technology. It’s based around an eight-inch touchscreen display and a 60GB solid-state hard drive.

Other equipment fitted across the range includes adaptive headlights that can change the shape of their beam to avoid dazzling other motorists, automatic emergency braking and the world’s most powerful manufacturer-fitted stereo. The optional Naim for Bentley Premium Audio has 18 speakers and a 2,200-watt amplifier.

Rear-seat passengers can use an Android-based Bentley tablet, allowing music streaming through the car’s 4G WiFi connection.

Engines and drive

The Bentley Mulsanne is powered by the firm’s iconic 6.75-litre V8 petrol engine. In the standard Mulsanne, it develops 505bhp, which is transmitted to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. Despite the big saloon taking just 5.1 second to accelerate from 0-62mph, it’s capable of a creditable 19.3mpg thanks to systems such as cylinder deactivation, which can ‘pause’ part of the engine when not needed to save fuel. Even so, it emits 342g/km of carbon dioxide, so road tax is £505 a year.

The Mulsanne Speed is powered by a more potent version of that engine, developing 530bhp to reduce the 0-62mph time to just 4.8 seconds and increase top speed from 184 to 190mph. The car’s gearbox has been reprogrammed to ensure the engine is turning at more than 2,000rpm more often so the turbochargers are effective immediately.

The Mulsanne has a number of new chassis components designed to keep the car as quiet as possible on the move. There’s even noise-absorption technology in the tyres to reduce road noise by up to four decibels.

Drive Dynamics Control is standard. This features a rotary switch that lets you choose from three modes to create a more sporting or relaxed drive. The system can tweak the car’s adjustable air-suspension, which can also raise or lower the ride height as required.

The Mulsanne Speed has more driver-focused steering and sport suspension settings for improved body control and greater steering feedback when travelling at speed.

Price and release date

Although prices and an on-sale date are yet to be confirmed, we expect an increase in price over the current model. The standard Mulsanne is likely to cost around £240,000, while the Mulsanne Speed is likely to increase to nearer £260,000.

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