Best Auto Cars: Bentley Mulsanne


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Bentley Mulsanne
by Eugen Beduhn

The return of the new big Bentley's Mulsanne name in 2010 underlines Bentley’s sporting heritage and passion for power and speed. Nothing reflects that prowess better than the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours race, and one strip of this race track's bents is named Mulsanne. The car body is produced in a new manufacturing facility at Bentley’s headquarters in Crewe where traditional metalworking skills are still used extensively during the nine week build process. It is the very opposite of volume production car building. Bentley customers have a world of infinite choice when commissioning their cars. Bentley Motors Chairman and Chief Executive Dr. Franz-Josef Paefgen says: “No other car maker can offer such a blend of performance and refinement in a single vehicle. The new Mulsanne is a car that evokes the Bentley philosophy of building the best luxury grand tourers in the world.”

The Bentley interior design team has continued to develop and evolve the luxurious interiors for which their cars are renowned research programme to identify the classic signature features that have defined Bentleys from the 1920s to the present day. Armed with this invaluable resource, the Mulsanne’s design team set itself highly challenging targets for key interior characteristics such as material design, smell, colour harmony and handcrafting. Similar targets were set for the operational refinement and robustness of all control mechanisms. The result is a hand-crafted interior that fully reflects traditional Bentley values, executed to the highest possible standards. The use of wood and leather hides has increased significantly to create an even more refined and luxurious cabin. The entire cabin is encased within a ‘ring of wood’ waist rail with an unbroken panel of wood gracing the Mulsanne’s dashboard. Inverted dial needles within the instrument cluster are evocative of early Bentleys while the entire dashboard and console design is a subtle reminder of the Bentley wings motif.

For the new Mulsanne, all the major building blocks of the engine would be comprehensively re-engineered to integrate the very latest technologies. The pioneering use of these two technologies in combination allows the Mulsanne’s engine management system not only to adjust the V8’s breathing for improved engine idle quality and torque delivery, but also to close the valves of four of the eight cylinders for maximum fuel economy when cruising. In the new Mulsanne, the 6¾-litre V8 develops 512 PS (505 bhp/377 kW) while the massive torque (1020 Nm / 752 lb ft) is now delivered even earlier at 1750 rev/min. These new technologies are complemented by the new eight-speed automatic transmission which, for the first time on a flagship Bentley, comes with steering wheel mounted paddleshift. A new Drive Dynamics Control system, operated by a rotary switch mounted next to the gearshift selector, can be used to choose from three standard modes – Bentley, Sport and Comfort – offering precise calibration of suspension and steering control systems. A fourth mode, ‘Custom’, allows the driver to select bespoke settings via the multimedia system to ‘tune’ the Mulsanne to a preferred driving style.

Engine: 6.75L V8 
Horsepower: 512 PS / 505 bhp
Top Speed: 184 mph (296 km/h)
Peak torque: 1020 Nm / 752 lb ft
Acceleration: 0-60 mph in 5.1 sec (0-100 km/h in 5.3 sec) 

Retail Price: starting from 220,000 pounds (290,000 euros or 285,000 dollars MRSP)

Competing Models: "Competing Segment" on right side of "Best Autos & Cars in the World" page

More information on: www.bentleymotors.com

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