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Drive

The Bentley Mulsanne

Price £228, 200 (without extras). There is no price limit to the options available – it runs as far as your budget allows


A car to buy and keep forever

It can take as little as 17 hours to build a standard factory production car. It takes an average of 500 hours to build a Bentley.

This flagship Bentley Mulsanne will take even longer to build; not least because one of the unique pleasures of buying a Mulsanne is personalisation. There is no price limit to the options available – it runs as far as your budget allows, but other than that anything and everything is available. The entry-level £228,000 is only the beginning, for as Bentley say; ‘we begin where others end’.


 

Take the car we are testing here; its options list adds another £53,000 to your bill. They read with interest; deep pile Wilton carpet mats £100, ‘entertainment specification’ £21,000, ‘back curtains to rear cabin’ £5,000 etc. Money is not the point here, for serious financial muscle is a given.

Yet there is much more to the Bentley Mulsanne than money and opulence. Quality is second to none, over every inch, nook and cranny that is visible to the eye. The total quality experience begins from your first point of contact with the car; the touch and feel of the door handles, the feel of the leather seating, the chrome switchgear on the dash, surrounded by craftsmanship and care in every corner.

You can be forgiven for sitting and wallowing in appreciation of the cabin for a very long time. Outside it’s all aluminium. Inside, its wood, leather, chrome and well – just seriously impressive.

The driver’s Bentley

Yet oddly enough this is, both in character and on-road behaviour, a driver’s Bentley. It’s simply astonishing how quickly you can punt this near-on 3 ton battleship through challenging roads, the combination of technology and chassis genius defying the laws of physics.

You have a choice of four drive settings, from comfort to hard core, but the magical ‘Bentley’ setting is the cause for celebration for those who see these cars first and foremost as the ultimate Bentley Boys motor. This firms up steering and suspension to turn the Mulsanne from Dr Jeckyll to Mr. Hyde. No wonder when the engine is a whopping 6.75 litre twin-turbo charged V8.

With that comes 550 bhp and 752 lb of torque. The engine revs only to 4,500 rpm, marking the effortless low-rev torque expected of this majestic beast.

Go easy with the throttle and four of the eight cylinders will disengage under light load, whilst engine efficiency is boosted further by lightweight pistons, conrods and crankshaft. The eight speed automatic ZF gearbox is flexible enough to adapt to all conditions and demands, and the clever trick is, you will hardly even notice

The Mulsanne may be a quarter of a million pounds, but it is a car to buy and keep forever. As we humans have a tendency to die, Bentleys’ like these are often passed on to future generations within the family. We thus become custodians not only of a very fine motor car, but one of the diminishing few that still embodies the best in British craftsmanship, and a proud motoring heritage.

 

- Kevin Haggarthy

Tech Spec

Engine: 6.75 litre twin turbo V8. 0-60 mph: 5.1 secs. Top Speed: 184 mph. Power: 505bhp. Torque: 1020 NM @1750 rpm. Gears: 8 speed auto. Average Consumption: 16.8 mpg. CO2: 393 g/km