More fun to drive than the Rolls Phantom, the Mulsanne is brilliant, so long as you’re on the inside.
Bentley’s flagship is not a huge seller, so this is a rare beast. That’s relatively speaking – a £230,000 saloon is never going to sell in numbers as great as the VW Golf. Except, perhaps in China, where Bentley can’t feed its growing dealership network quickly enough. The Mulsanne’s new, too, introduced in 2010, which in Bentley timescales is extremely young. It’s imposing as a Bentley saloon should be, but it’s not conventionally pretty.
The first thing to get your head around is the scale. Usefully it’s fairly obvious where the upright front ends, but its width might be troublesome on narrower roads.
Under the lengthy bonnet sits a 6.75-litre V8 with a pair of turbochargers helping it along, the Mulsanne is comically rapid for such a weighty machine. It’s like a country house with a thruster from the space shuttle attached, a mighty 752lb ft of torque arriving at just 1,750rpm. It’ll reach 62mph in just 5.1 seconds, and if that isn’t enough, the Speed’s 811lb ft punches to 62mph in less than five seconds. Astounding.
Eight gears are swapped automatically, or, if you’d rather, you can take control yourself. It’s so good in automatic mode we’d leave it alone. Likewise, dynamic changes are on offer, with stiffer dampers and weightier steering possible via a rotary dial on the centre console: just pop it in comfort and leave it be. Hushed, rapid and hugely comfortable, the Mulsanne is everything a Bentley should be.