Bentley has completely redesigned its Mulsanne flagship for 2017, and it’s amazing what a wider grill and slightly smaller headlamps did to the car that looked kind of goofy since 2010.
You’d have to get an insane deal to buy a 2016 Bentley Mulsanne now, because the 2017 Mulsanne will be way better in every way. For starters, have a look at this:
Amazing, right? They changed everything forward of the A-pillars. The fenders, the bonnet, the radiator shell, the grilles, the lights and the bumpers as well.
From now on, you can choose between the ‘standard’ Mulsanne, the ‘why the hell not’ Mulsanne Speed, and the ‘I got really-really long legs’ Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase. Either way, you’ll be very comfortable indeed.
Bentley promises that the new Mulsanne is almost as good as having a private jet, boasting about ‘a first-class air-travel experience for the road’ in the extended wheelbase model. It gets ‘airline-style rear seats’ representing ‘the new benchmark in passenger comfort’. What that means is an additional 250 mm of rear legroom, extending legrests and a rear compartment sunroof.
That console right there is of course appointed in the finest handcrafted veneer, metal, glass and leather and houses USB ports, pen holders, cup holders and a glass-covered stowage area for your gold bars. You can also opt for a folding table and electric curtains for maximum privacy.
I you really need to, I don’t know, accelerate so hard that you pull the Moon out of orbit, the Mulsanne Speed offers 530 horsepower and 811 lb.ft of torque. That gets a claimed 0-60 mph time of just 4.8 seconds and a top speed of 190 mph.
With the optional sports suspension, the recalibrated ZF 8-speed gearbox and the ‘S’ mode keeping the engine speed above 2,000 rpm so those turbochargers don’t get lazy, the Speed will smoke any Rolls-Royce you can throw at it.
On the inside, the Speed sports diamond-quilted seats, a knurled gear lever, drilled alloy sport pedals and optional carbon fibre waistrail inserts. It almost drives like a Continental GT3, and people need to know that.
Obviously, the list of options is endless, from duo-tone exteriors to whatever you can think of, really. Nobody buys a base Mulsanne, but if they did, this is why it would still cost all the money in the world:
The Mulsanne is handcrafted from the ground up in Crewe, with its 400-hour production journey beginning in the Body in White workshop. Working by hand and by eye, master metal workers expertly complete 5,800 individual welds.
Where the roof flows into the rear haunch through the deep D-pillar, a dedicated team brazes the joint by hand until it is totally imperceptible. It takes a human touch to achieve, and once painted is completely invisible to the eye – looking and feeling as though it were hewn from a solid piece of metal.
The sculpted nature of the Mulsanne’s body means that the paint must be applied in different depths to appear even, which is why each one is hand-sprayed. After lacquering, each car is fine-sanded before being polished with lamb’s wool for 12 hours to achieve an appearance so reflective it’s termed the ‘Bentley Mirror Finish’ – and is the industry benchmark.
Opening the door of the Bentley flagship reveals a foundation of solid walnut, cherry or oak visibly running through the dashboard and overlaid with a choice of 13 different veneers.
After the root burl has been steamed and finely sliced into 0.6 mm thick bundles of veneer, Bentley veneer experts travel to wherever it may be to analyse the results. The final selection process occurs at Crewe, where the veneer is chosen by the craftsperson who will ultimately bring it to life. Only the most highly ‘figured’ sections – parts with naturally decorative marks – are chosen, before being mirror matched and applied to the solid wood substrate.
Of the 400 hours it takes to build a Mulsanne, around 150 are dedicated to creating the sumptuous leather interior – before additional options are considered. Stitched, shaped and finished entirely by hand, the completed seats, doors and other leather accoutrements rival the quality of luxury domestic furniture. The contrast stitching alone takes 37 hours to complete.
Now that Rolls is out, they should really do a two-door Speed.
Photo credit: Bentley
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