Bentley Mulsanne review

Our Rating: 
5
5.0/5.0
By Auto Express Test TeamComments

The Bentley Mulsanne is a fitting flagship for the famous British brand and combines epic performance with opulent luxury

For: 
Craftsmanship, status, performance
Against: 
Costly, inefficient, conspicuous

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The flagship Bentley Mulsanne is the last word in luxury performance saloons. Each car is hand-built at the firm's factory in Crewe using the finest materials. Inside you get sumptuous leather, fine wood veneers and deep pile carpeting in the finest tradition, while under the bonnet is a 6.75-litre twin-turbo V8 that offers masses of torque, yet performs in near silence. The Mulsanne weighs two-and-a-half tonnes, yet it can still accelerate from 0-60mph in five seconds. As is the case with many luxury goods, if you need to ask how much the Bentley Mulsanne costs, then you probably can't afford it.

Our choice: Bentley Mulsanne

Styling

5

If you want to make a statement, few things in life do it with the style and panache of a big Bentley. The firm’s winged emblem is one of the most desirable badges in the world and the gigantic proportions and huge grille of the Mulsanne make it a unmistakable. Few cars have as much road presence as this striking saloon and the atmosphere inside is equally impressive. Beautifully crafted wood, leather and alloy trim gives this car a unique feel inside and buyers can individually tailor the cabin to their taste.

Driving

4.5

For such a big car the Mulsanne is nothing short of astounding. The 6.75-litre twin turbo V8 produces 505bhp and generates 1,020Nm of torque, so there’s always plenty in reserve. The two-and-a-half-tonne saloon can accelerate from 0-60mph in 5.1 seconds and on to a top speed of 184mph – but it’s not simply about straight-line speed. The Mulsanne also copes with corners surprisingly well, with precise steering and impressive agility. Few cars so effortlessly combine extreme comfort with driving enjoyment.

Reliability

4.8

Cars sold in such limited numbers as the Mulsanne don’t tend to figure highly on the priority list of the crash testers at Euro NCAP, but the Bentley is sure to protect is occupants if the worst does happen. Active systems such as electronic stability control and active suspension aim to keep the car on the straight and narrow and the usual array of airbags protects passengers if they don't. Bentley is also famed for its customer care, so if you do experience a reliability gremlin, you can expect the best possible attention.

Practicality

4

The Bentley Mulsanne is a limousine that likes to be driven, so whether you’re sitting in the front or the back you’ll have plenty of space. The 443-litre boot will easily swallow a few golf bags, picnic hampers or tailored luggage sets, too, but this is not a car for trips to the DIY shop; its sumptuously trimmed cabin puts the emphasis firmly on relaxation. Handy touches include keyless entry, soft-close doors and a powered bootlid, while parking sensors come as standard – essential in a car measuring more than five-and-a-half-metres long.

Running Costs

1

Any car that weighs as much as the Bentley is unlikely to score highly for fuel economy, nevermind one with a twin-turbo V8 shoe-horned under its bonnet. Predictably, real-world economy is pretty dire. The official figures suggest 16.7mpg is possible, but if you dip into those deep reserves of power expect to see sub-10mpg fuel economy on the trip computer. Aside from fuel, other costs associated with owning a Bentley are likely to be cripplingly expensive. Everything from tyres and servicing to parts and tax come with a super-sized price.

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The figures average 3.9, yet it gets a 5.

Last updated: 5 May, 2012
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