As the successor to the Arnage, the Bentley Mulsanne serves as the current flagship of the Bentley range of vehicles. With production beginning in 2010, the Mulsanne is the top-tier Bentley to be designed completely in-house since the 1930s. The name of the car itself, referencing a famed corner at Circuit de la Sarthe, shows that Bentley had its sights set on injecting plenty of performance into its big luxury saloon.
As of 2016, the Mulsanne is available in three flavours: the basic Mulsanne, Mulsanne Speed, and Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase. Compared to the base model, the Speed offers a bump in power along with a sportier suspension, while the Extended Wheelbase model features an extra 250 mm of rear legroom – plenty of space to stretch out for a nap while being chauffeured to your next appointment. No matter which car they choose, buyers are presented with a mind-boggling number of options, ranging from basics like paint colour and type of leather to a folding picnic table and Champagne bottle coolers in the rear of the car.
A thoroughly updated version of the 6.75-litre V8 was chosen for duty in the Mulsanne. Featuring cylinder deactivation, variable cam phasing, and lightweight materials, the Mulsanne’s V8 produces 505 bhp and 752 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers jump up to 530 bhp and a ground-punishing 811 lb-ft, in Speed trim. The sole transmission option is an 8-speed automatic, manufactured by ZF. The rated top speed for the base Mulsanne is a lofty 184 mph, while the Speed tops out at 190. Keeping things calm and serene, even at ludicrous speeds, is an electronically-controlled air suspension.
Intended to entertain rear-seat occupants as much as to excite drivers, the Mulsanne features a host of luxurious interior amenities. Optional is the world’s most powerful automotive sound system, the so-called Naim for Bentley Premium Audio system, featuring 20 speakers and a 2,200-watt amplifier. The carpet is hand-made and can be crafted to each owners’ specifications. Ethically-sourced wood veneers are hand-finished, and Bentley’s skilled craftsmen ensure that the pattern of the grain is perfectly symmetrical on each side of the car, avoiding potential embarrassment for their well-heeled customers. Of course, the full list of features and options is much too long to cover fully here, but this small taste should give you an idea of just how insanely luxurious is Mulsanne is.