Bentley Mulsanne Speed: Class distinction
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BENTLEY’S LUXURY MULSANNE SPEED IS BUILT FOR COMFORT ... AND CHAUFFEURS
When it comes to Bentley’s quintessential large British luxury sedan, the Mulsanne Speed, the ethos behind the hand-built vehicle is “go big or go home”.
Though if you can afford around $635,000 for the Mulsanne Speed, then the home you’re going to is going to be big as well — and you’ll need a substantial garage to fit the sedan.
The Mulsanne Speed is Bentley’s flagship luxury sedan and the new version was launched in New Zealand recently, gaining a re-engineered power train, updated technology plus new styling.
It takes nearly nine weeks to build the ultra-luxurious sedan at the company’s UK factory in Crewe, and according to Bentley Auckland, most of that time is spent on the interior. And it shows.
While technically a five-seater, the rear of the cabin is designed for two passengers to relax in luxury. Pull down the centre back rest and you access controls to recline the seats or control the radio stations.
My test model — with the extras including the footrests, jewelled fuel cap, deep-pile wool carpet, adaptive cruise control and TV tuner — cost $741,325 and had already been sold, though luckily for me the new owner was waiting a few months to drive it home.
And the Mulsanne Speed’s top speed is unrivalled in the ultra-luxury sector where the likes of the Rolls-Royce Phantom sits.
This is thanks to the Speed’s new 6.75-litre twin-turbocharged V8 petrol engine that has 395kW of power and a record 1100Nm of torque.
But as you’ll see by the photographs on these pages the weather didn’t co-operate on the day-long test of the Mulsanne Speed. Instead of my planned leisurely cruise north and energetic trip home on winding, quiet country roads I was stuck on Auckland’s motorways where traffic was often at a standstill.
Heading to a less populous open road, the V8 engine came to the fore. Engage Sport mode, plant your foot and the Mulsanne Speed responds instantly. This is Grand Tourer of the grandest kind — and, it’s made for long trips.
Instead I turned the Mulsanne Speed around and headed back to the straight open road where with just a touch of the gas you easily hit triple figures.
Maybe, I thought, I should forgo the chance of losing my driver’s licence due to speeding in this delightful monster and instead head to the back seat and be driven by a chauffeur?
If only. Though maybe the new owner could take me for a spin.
BENTLEY MULSANNE SPEED
Engine: 6.75-litre twin-turbocharged V8
Pros: Luxury interior, mighty engine.
Cons: Heavy, built for straight long roads