Bentley unleashes full gamut of Mulsanne luxury in Geneva
Bentley is proudly showing quadruplets at this year's Geneva Motor Show. All four cars make up the Mulsanne family, the flagship of the British luxury make's line. The redesignedMulsanne includes two models not seen before, an extended wheelbase option and an ultra-luxurious limousine bearing the Mulliner moniker.
A first glance shows that the exterior maintains the British luxury look typified by Bentley. Styling revisions are subtle and refined, starting with a light overhaul of the front end to give a less accented bumper, and a more squared grille and fascia. To sum up changes, the lines have been softened a bit and made more modern.
Inside, newly redesigned seats (offered in fluted or quilted patterns), upgraded door trims, and the expected top-end fitment. Infotainment upgrades include a new touchscreen system designed to be more intuitive and smartphone friendly. The haptic display is eight inches in size and includes a 60 GB solid-state hard drive for on-board media storage. High-end driver aid options such as automatic high-beam control with four separate modes are standard equipment.
In the rear seats, a new Bentley Entertainment Tablet system is included that consists of a pair of 10.2-inch Android tablets with 4G, WiFi, and Bluetooth, integrated into the backs of the front seats. These are stowed but flip out with a button push activating a counter-weighted mechanism, and feature a Bentley-specific interface and full Android tablet functionality with 32 GB of on-board storage and expansion capability to 128 GB. They can communicate with parts of the Mulsanne's infotainment system as well.
Powering the big Bentley is a 6.75-liter V8 that produces 512 PS (505 bhp, 377 kW) and 752 pound-feet (1,020 Nm) of torque. This runs through an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission with full power available just above idle thanks to turbocharging. The standard Bentley Mulsanne can go from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds and tops out at 184 mph (296 km/h). Cylinder de-activation and variable cam phasing improve fuel economy to 19.3 mpg (14.6 l/100km) in the European combined cycle.
Underneath the bodywork lies an all-new chassis that includes active engine mounts and suspension bushes. Noise absorption is maintained starting from the tires on up to make the Mulsanne the quietest experience possible. An air suspension system completes the cushioned ride expected of a Bentley estate car.
The next member of the Mulsanne quartet is the sport-centric Speed model – the driver's version of the big sedan. This utilizes the same engine as the standard Bentley, but upgrades output to 537 PS (530 bhp, 395 kW) and 811 lb-ft (1,100 Nm). A selectable sports suspension aids the road-eating speed, as does a retuned version of the ZF transmission. The big car is capable of achieving 60 mph in 4.8 seconds. Its top speed is 190 mph (305 km/h).
Several styling cues on the exterior of the Mulsanne Speed mark it for the sport version. This starts with dark tint to the brightware, exclusive 21-inch hand-finished wheels, tinted lamps, rifled sport exhausts, and fender badging to denote the Speed model's presence.
For back seat riders, an Extended Wheelbase version of the Mulsanne is being offered for the first time. This extends the wheelbase of the sedan by 250 mm (9.8 inches), all of which is added to backseat legroom. Airline-style electronic legrests integrated into the rear seats are added for increased comfort to allow upright, relaxed, and reclined seating options at the touch of a button. A console separates the rear seats to house storage and extra plugins for connectivity and charging. An optional, deployable folding table can be added as well, as can electric curtains for privacy.
Also new is an ultra-luxury, bespoke Bentley Mulsanne Grand Limousine by Mulliner, which can be privately commissioned and tailored to need from Bentley's private coachbuilder. This limousine adds a full meter (3 ft) to the Mulsanne's length and raises the roof by 79 mm (3.1 in). Aviation-style seating similar to that found in the Extended Wheelbase is found, but bespoke to Mulliner's high standards. An interior division glass (opaqued at the touch of a button) is also added to separate passengers from the driver and a second row of seating, facing conversation-style with the traditional rear seats, is also added. This increases passenger load to four not included the front seating.