Bentley Mulsanne History
2013 Bentley MulsanneEnlarge Photo
Shopping for a new Bentley Mulsanne? MSRP: $296,000
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The Bentley Mulsanne is a flagship sedan at its most extreme: stately, powerful, elegant, luxurious, the Mulsanne's only true competitor is the Rolls-Royce Phantom. With abundant equipment and almost infiniti personalization options, the Mulsanne is built for those who already have everything else.
For more information on the current model, read our brief review of the 2013 Bentley Mulsanne.
Named for the famous Mulsanne Straight at the legendary Le Mans racing circuit, the Bentley Mulsanne was all-new for 2011, reviving a nameplate that went unused from 1992-2010.
This time, the Bentley Mulsanne is powered by a 505-horsepower, 6.75-liter twin-turbocharged V-8. The engine makes an impressive 752 pound-feet of torque, just off idle, and can whoosh this big luxury sedan to 60 mph, with its ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, in just 5.1 seconds—and to a top speed of 184 mph. And to save fuel, the engine shuts off four of its cylinders under a light load. The Mulsanne is composed in tight turns, although you do get a sense of the car's 5,700-pound curb weight. Brakes for this hefty sedan are entirely capable of stopping it confidently from triple-digit speeds, however, thanks to huge 15.75-inch front discs. And wheels include large 20- and 21-inch designs.
With classic proportions, including a long hood, short front overhand, and relatively short trunk, the Mulsanne plays some visual tricks, appearing a bit shorter than its actual 18'-4” length. The Mulsanne isn't quite limousine-like in back (buyers will no doubt be split about whether to drive themselves or be driven), but it's luxurious for two rear passengers or comfortable enough for three. And while some of the button surfaces are plastic, the rest of the interior is wood, hide, and metal, with controls beautifully damped.
As you might expect for one of the world's most expensive sedans, nearly everything in the Mulsanne can be customized and custom-ordered, under a so-called 'bespoke' process. As it is, the $285,000 entry price tag only serves as a jumping point, with most cars getting extensive customization. Among the baseline choices are nine wood trims—all real veneers, bonded to solid oak, maple, or cherry—and a wide range of leather colors and various metal trims. Also on offer on the outside are several potential two-tone paint schemes.
The interior manages to feature all the expected modern electronics, without tainting the old-world wood-and-leather experience too much. Standard features on the Mulsanne include Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio, and full iPod integration, as well as heated 14-way front seats and a multi-media, screen-based control system with navigation and voice control. A rear entertainment system with dual screens, a heated steering wheel, and ventilated seats are among many additional options.
Recently, Bentley has made improvements to the Mulsanne with two new packages, the Comfort Specification and the Entertainment Specification.
Bentley plans a long-wheelbase version of the Mulsanne. Although it's likely that this model will arrive in 2013 or 2014, the automaker hasn't yet revealed the model year or actual specs. A convertible variant has also been discussed, though production plans and dates remain unclear.