Bentley Mulsanne Review (2012)
Which colour will you choose for the paintwork? There are 100 of them to muse over.5 June 2012
You have to be very rich indeed, or win the jackpot on the lottery, to afford one of these. The Bentley Mulsanne is the flagship of the luxury car maker’s range, built to bespoke standards from the finest materials at the company’s factory in Crewe, Cheshire. You could say that this is the ultimate VW product, since Bentley is owned by the Volkswagen Group.
What a car, but what a price. This is a supreme example of the maxim that if you have to ask what it costs, you can’t afford it. You will not see much change from a quarter of a million pounds. Or more likely, you will see no change at all. The test car, in an elegant shade of pale blue, came with a few optional extras that bumped up the £225,900 list price by another £42,000.
What a price, but what a car. This is the pinnacle of motoring luxury, a limousine awash with exquisite details. When you buy a Bentley at this level there are bewildering decisions to be made. Which colour will you choose for the paintwork? There are 100 of them to muse over. Which real wood veneer would you like on the dashboard? There are eight to choose between. Which creature comfort accessories will you select? For a start, maybe a heated steering wheel to warm your hand on in the winter?
By any standards this is a very powerful car, with performance to match. Back in the days when Bentley was part of Rolls-Royce, it used to be said of cars built at Crewe that their power output was ‘sufficient’. The precise power output was never revealed. Back then, they used to quaintly check that a newly-built engine would run smoothly by standing a 50p piece on edge on top of the cylinder head. Times have changed, though, and now that Bentley is the jewel in the crown of the Volkswagen Group, the company is happy to reveal that the Mulsanne’s massive 6.7 litre engine has a power output of 505 bhp, peaking at 4,200 rpm. Maximum torque is a mighty 752 lb ft, at 1,750 revs.
The car’s eight-speed auto transmission is smoothly seamless in its shifts between ratios and the braking quality is well up to the very meaty performance. The Mulsanne’s top speed at 184 mph is more than two and a half times the UK maximum speed limit, and it is capable of sprinting to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds, and to a Euro benchmark 0-62 mph in 5.3 seconds. That is pretty impressive for a car that weighs three tons.