Few motoring brands carry as much in the way of heritage as Bentley. Often seen as the sporting alternative to a Rolls Royce, this long lived company has been responsible for some of the most luxurious and desirable cars in history. Bentley has been through many different owners – including Rolls Royce – in its lifetime and is now part of the VW group, but don’t let that cloud your opinion of the mighty Bentley Mulsanne. The name itself is enough to raise a smile from any motorsport fan, being the name of the legendary straight at Le Mans, but this is a car that has much more to offer than legend. This is a car of quite colossal performance, incredible quality and fantastic appeal. Recently we wrote of the Rolls Royce Ghost and how it lays a claim to be the best car in the world, but could the Mulsanne be better?
Quality And Style – Bentley Assurance
Bentley has always been a brand that shouted out speed, quality and style. The Mulsanne offers all three, and more. This is the first Bentley not to share a Rolls Royce platform for several decades, and is important in that respect. For many, it may be the best Bentley ever built. The current Mulsanne is a spectacular looking vehicle – as one would expect – and is highly specified. The engine is the classic 6.75 litre V8 seen in the Arnage and other models, and produces sufficient power to allow for quite stunning performance, but more of that later. The question we need to ask now is this: who would buy the Mulsanne, and why?
A Bentley has, by nature, attracted a very different customer to those who prefer a Rolls Royce. The latter is likely to be bought by someone who wants to travel, in absolute luxury, in the back, leaving the driving duty to someone else. The Bentley, on the other hand, is a driver’s car. Yes, it is big, but it is engineered to provide a driving experience that is hard to beat. Nothing is left to chance inside, and the car is replete with a stunning leather interior that is as good as it gets. Quality is paramount and it shows.
Amazing Performance – Stunning Ride
Given the size of this car you might expect it to offer supremely comfortable if somewhat wallow performance, but it delivers anything but. Clever steering geometry means the Mulsanne handles superbly and precisely, and feels like a car half its colossal size. It is the engine, however, that gets the most attention. The V8 produces 505bhp using twin turbochargers, and is wonderful to listen to at speed. Not that the car makes much noise when on the go, for it is engineered for comfort as is the rival Rolls Royce. That 505bhp allows for a 184mph (296kp/h) and acceleration from a standstill to 62mph (100km/h) in 5.3 seconds. These figures are Ferrari territory, and simply should not be found on something of this size.
The sporting credentials of this machine are a nod to the firms motorsport heritage – Bentleys won at Le Mans in 1924, four times from 1927 to 1930, and – more recently – in 2003 – and much else strives to keep that heritage to the fore. This is a truly wonderful car, and one that is worthy of the name. But would you buy one, and could you afford it?
Exclusive And Impressive – The Bentley Gets You Noticed
This is not a car for shrinking violets; draw up in your local car park in one of these and you will get noticed. That is part of the Bentley’s appeal, of course, and is a selling point. After all, nobody wants to spend £220,000 ($330,000) and have nobody notice. It is a car that looks more elegant on the road than in photographs, although there has been some criticism of the front end treatment. It is not the most handsome of designs in that area, but the smooth and very stylish back end and profile makes up for it.
The buyer of this car will likely be a former Bentley owner, for the brand does garner much loyalty. Looking at, and experiencing, the Bentley Mulsanne, it is no surprise that this is so. For a man – or woman – of discerning taste there is little on the market with the cache of history and guarantee of quality that is offered by this very fine car. So, is it the best car in the world, as we asked with the Rolls Royce Ghost? That depends upon who is reviewing it. If you want a fast, sporting sedan with unmatchable provenance and a name that resonates with luxury and history, the Bentley Mulsanne may well be the car for you.