Rather than make this a straightforward review of the 2015 Bentley Mulsanne Speed, which sounds dreadfully boring, I'm simply going to list all the things that make it completely, utterly ridiculous — in a good way.
(Full disclosure: Bentley needed auto writers to drive the new Mulsanne Speed so badly they flew them down to Austin, paid for their hotels, food and booze, and let them hang out at the Pirelli World Challenge race at Circuit of the Americas. We weren't invited. But they let me borrow a car for a couple hours on Monday instead, which was kind of them.)
After all, the Mulsanne Speed isn't exactly a new Mazdaspeed 3. Are you, dear reader, currently in the market for the new-for-2015, range-topping version of the Bentley Mulsanne? Do you honestly care about leather-lined, six-figure luxury land missiles?
Even if Jalopnik readers aren't really a bunch of basement-dwelling, semi-employed lepers scouring Craigslist for discounted Cavalier timing chains with stolen wifi in the Starbucks parking lot like the TTAC writers think they are, a crazily expensive ultra-sedan like this Bentley is hardly up our alley. At least that's what I thought going in.
But after driving one for a few hours I realized that the Mulsanne Speed is actually awesome, and full of crazy stuff, and now I kind of want one. It's like a Hellcat, but for people with good credit scores.
There's a champagne chiller with three glasses built into the rear seat. Wanna know the most baller-ass move in all of cars? When you're showing the girl/guy/person you're trying to sleep with the car and they ask "What does this button do?", tell them to press it, and voila — a champagne chiller with three bespoke crystal flutes is revealed behind a panel of frosted glass. (Why three flutes? Because sometimes that's the way the night goes, baby.)
That's a $10,970 option. Totally worth it, if you ask me. Check this box and congratulate yourself because your life is a rap video from now on. Get out to the club and throw hundreds at people.
You adjust the driving mode with something called a "Charisma Switch." And that's so much more premium-sounding than "Sport Mode Button."
The steering wheel alone takes five hours to make. The whole interior is hand-crafted, and stuff like that takes time. The result is one of the best interiors anyone makes, probably.
It has not one but TWO iPads built into the seats. Let's say you're a business-person on the go, or you just feel like dicking around on Jalopnik on something other than your phone. If you paid for the $28,760 Entertainment Specification — and really, why the fuck wouldn't you — then an iPad Air with a wireless keyboard springs out of the back of the front seat at the touch of a button.
There's one for each seat, and the package includes a wifi hotspot and wireless headphones. Suddenly, your Mulsanne Speed becomes the nicest and fastest office in town. You can take the iPads out and bring them around with you, too. (No, I didn't keep one. But I thought about keeping one of the floor mats.)
The engine is almost old enough to collect Social Security. Bentley may be owned by the unstoppable Teutonic behemoth that is the Volkswagen Group, but the cars are still built in England by people who care deeply about the brand's heritage. Case in point: it uses the latest and most refined iteration of the 6.75-liter (6 3/4 Litre, in Bentley speak) V8 engine that's been around since 1959.
Here, it's evolved enough that fuel economy boosts give it an extra 50 miles of maximum range for 2015, and one Bentley rep told me it can actually operate breathing solely the original 1950s engine's exhaust.
But it has 530 horsepower. That's pretty good, right?
And 811 pound-feet of torque. Eight hundred and eleven of the torques. I'll give you a moment to let that figure sink in.
The "Speed" in its name is accurate. But the Mulsanne Speed doesn't scream to redline like a supercar does. It still weighs a smidge under 6,000 pounds, so acceleration is more like feeling the hard, steady charge of a bullet train. It is decidedly not slow.
Stepping on the gas will jump you 10 mph in a heartbeat. The zero to 60 mph time is in the upper four-second range, and out on the highway it has pull for days.
It's rear-wheel drive, too. Shockingly it's not a barely-drivable, tire-melting monster at all. I drove this car in the pouring rain and only encountered the slightest hints of rear wheelspin under hard acceleration a few times. It's remarkably controlled and refined for all that power.
It handles way better than you expect. It's a long, wide car that weighs as much as an apartment complex, so it will never be a canyon-carver. But the steering is tight and direct and there's far more body roll than anticipated.
Texans don't understand how to drive in weather, so when it rains they drop their speeds to hilariously and dangerously low levels. Out on twisty, two-lane country roads, I was able to get around the slower cars with control and grace. It's as good as a massive land-yacht can get.
Fourteen cows die to make each Mulsanne Speed interior happen. Probably a lot of trees, too. Know what's made of leather in a Mulsanne? Basically everything. The cows' sacrifice will never be forgotten.
Each 21-inch wheel is carved out of one solid, single piece of aluminum. Let's see you do that, Ford F-150.
The seats heat, cool and massage you — no matter where you're sitting. This is front and rear. You can have your fancy, rock hard, track day Recaros. I'll take these.
My tester's color was called "Extreme Silver." Which is an accurate description. It fluctuates between silver, purple and sort of cream depending on how you look at it and what it's reflecting. My pictures may not do it justice, but it's beautiful in person.
See this door? Between the leather, the fancy speakers, the gadgets and the carbon fiber, it probably costs more than your car. Especially if you are, in fact, the dude scouring for Cavalier parts on stolen Starbucks wifi. In that case, keep love alive, buddy.
It has my dad's circa-2002 cell phone in the armrests. So that's what happened to that thing!
This car has $65,202 in options alone. Gotta pay the cost to be the boss.
Final price: $406,527. Start saving, poors.
I kind of want one. Yeah, I kind of want one. It was the champagne chiller that really sold me on the whole thing. The torque helped, too.
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