Subtle styling revisions plus extended-wheelbase version of Bentley’s range-topper revealed
Bentley has revised its ultra-luxurious Mulsanne and introduced a new hyper-luxurious extended-wheelbase version, which means that (including the 530bhp Speed version) the Mulsanne range is now three-strong.
Styling revisions are subtle, though obvious if you see old and new side-by-side. The entire front section of the car from the A-pillar forward is new, with restyled bumpers (they’re new at the back too), a much wider grille, and outer front lamps raised so that they’re the same height as the inner main ones. The result is a more imposing, confident appearance. New tail-light graphics are inspired by the Bentley ‘B’ logo.
Inside, little has changed bar touch-sensitivity for the dashboard’s central infotainment screen and restyled seats. However, here the new extended-wheelbase (EWB) version comes into its own. The wheelbase has been stretched by 250mm, all of which has been let into the rear doors, making for unfettered lounging space in the rear seats. The seats themselves now recline aircraft-style, and individual reading tables swing up and out from the console between them, and infotainment screens rise electrically from the front seatbacks.
Outside, the Mulsanne EWB can be recognised not only by its greater length but also by swooping swage lines in the rear doors: here, the Mulsanne’s characteristic crease no longer swells over the rear haunches, instead breaking ahead of the rear wheelarch. The result is that the car looks well-proportioned, rather than ungainly in the manner of some other limos.
While the EWB takes luxury honours, the ‘signature’ Mulsanne is hardly lacking either spaciousness or luxury appointments. Yet performance honours go, as you’d expect, to the Mulsanne Speed, which (at 811lb ft) offers the most torque of any current four-door saloon. Its top speed is 190mph, and it accelerates from rest to 60mph in a remarkable 4.9 seconds. And all this from a twin-turbocharged version of the venerable 6.75-litre V8, which has been brought up to date with cylinder deactivation while at a steady-state cruise.
Engineering innovations include new active engine mounts and foam-lined tyres, which together reduce background noise by 4dB, and all three versions now share glass-veneered switches and optional stone veneer trim.
Words: Glen Waddington