Used 2014 Bentley Mulsanne Review
Edmunds expert review
If you have extraordinarily high standards and the financial means to obtain the few products that meet them, the 2014 Bentley Mulsanne luxury sedan could well be your ticket to automotive bliss.
What's new for 2014
Like a Stradivarius violin or bejeweled Fabergé egg, many of society's most celebrated works of art owe their lofty status to a unique combination of exquisite craftsmanship and relative rarity. While not quite as awe-inspiring or uncommon as those priceless creations, the 2014 Bentley Mulsanne is nevertheless cut from the same cloth.
As Bentley's flagship model, production of this large luxury sedan averages just four cars per day. Like its venerable ancestors, the Mulsanne is still largely hand-built at the English automaker's historic manufacturing plant in Crewe, a facility staffed by workers who, in many cases, can rightly be called true artisans. As such, virtually every Mulsanne ends up being the rolling equivalent of a bespoke suit, with buyers being able to select from more than 120 exterior paint colors along with leathers, carpets and wood veneers -- even stitching and seatbelts -- in dozens of matching or contrasting shades.
Those aesthetics aside, the Mulsanne's passenger cabin can also be fitted with a wide array of comfort and convenience items, ranging from four-zone climate control to a cleverly hidden two-bottle bubbly cooler complete with custom-made crystal champagne flutes. The latest technology is also on offer, making it possible to transform the rear compartment into a mobile office or movie theater.
While the owner and friends are enjoying these posh accommodations, the rest of the world will be admiring the Mulsanne's handsome exterior that manages to be both stately and imposing. This latter quality can be attributed to the fact that the car is significantly larger than it looks in photos, measuring more than 18 feet long, 6 feet wide and 5 feet tall and tipping the scales at roughly 6,000 pounds.
That said, the Mulsanne has performance to spare thanks to the 505-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V8 under the hood. The ride quality is as supple as you'd imagine, but the engineering department's nod to the marque's racing heritage (the name Mulsanne itself is taken from the high-speed straightaway of the iconic Le Mans road course) also gives the big Bentley surprisingly athletic handling.
As for competitive models to consider, the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG offers more performance for less money, but lacks the Mulsanne's dignified bearing. The 2014 Rolls-Royce Ghost is in the same price range, but the ultra-luxury 2014 Rolls-Royce Phantom is the more comparable model, its jaw-dropping $400,000-plus price tag notwithstanding.
While all these cars have their own distinct characters, the 2014 Bentley Mulsanne remains an attractive choice with qualities that may just make it a revered classic for future generations.
Trim levels & features
The 2014 Bentley Mulsanne is a large luxury sedan with seating for five passengers.
It's offered in a single, very well-equipped trim level, with standard features that include 20-inch alloy wheels, a self-leveling and adaptive air suspension, automatic bi-xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights and taillights, heated/power-folding and auto-dimming outside mirrors, a sunroof, power-latching doors and trunk lid, front and rear parking sensors and keyless entry/ignition.
Inside you'll find four-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery and genuine wood trim, heated 14-way power front seats with memory, heated eight-way power rear seats with memory (outboard seats only), a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, power privacy blinds for all rear windows, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and a universal garage door opener.
The Mulsanne's standard electronic features include an 8-inch touchscreen navigation system, Bluetooth, a multimedia interface controller with voice control and a 14-speaker audio system with a six-CD changer, and USB/iPod auxiliary connectivity.
There are also several option packages on offer, including the Premium Specification that bundles a unique hand-crafted "Flying B" hood ornament, bright stainless-steel bumper trim, front fender vents and stainless-steel door pillar finishers, a tinted windshield header, ventilated and massaging front and rear seats, veneered picnic tables in the front seatbacks, an iPod interface with a hand-stitched leather storage case, a wood-veneered iPod drawer and minor gauges panel, ambient interior mood lighting and a rearview camera.
The new Comfort Specification adds special headrests, foot rests and duck-down-filled loose pillows. Also new this year is an Entertainment Specification option package that includes twin headrest-mounted 8-inch LCD screens, a DVD player, wireless Bluetooth headphones, a 20-speaker Naim ultra-premium audio system with remote control, rear-seat picnic tables, a Wi-Fi router and built-in concealed iPad holders with a dedicated space for Apple wireless keyboards.
The Mulliner option is essentially Bentley's sport package with a choice of three different 21-inch alloy wheels plus sport-tuned suspension and steering, a Sport mode that tweaks various performance parameters, Mulliner Flying B fender vents, diamond-quilted leather door panels and upholstery, a unique headliner, drilled-alloy pedals, unique door handles, vent controls and shift lever and an exclusive "Commissioned by Mulliner" plaque.
Many of the above features are also available separately from the exhaustive list of stand-alone options. Examples include a heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, the Naim audio system, Wi-Fi hotspot, a rear-seat entertainment system, a frosted-glass refrigerator with crystal champagne flutes and a bespoke luggage set. Not to mention the seemingly endless array of available paint colors, leather choices and wood veneers from which to choose. If none of those will do, you may also "commission" your exclusive color and material combinations for an extra charge.
Performance & mpg
Under the hood, the 2014 Bentley Mulsanne gets a twin-turbocharged 6.8-liter V8 that produces 505 hp and 752 pound-feet of torque. A standard eight-speed automatic sends that output to the rear wheels.
In Edmunds testing, a Mulsanne accelerated from a standstill to 60 mph in just 5.6 seconds. Top speed is electronically limited to 184 mph. EPA fuel economy estimates are fairly dismal at 13 mpg in combined driving (11 city/18 highway).
Standard safety features on the 2014 Bentley Mulsanne include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, and front and rear side-impact airbags designed to protect both the head and thorax. In Edmunds testing, the Mulsanne came to a stop from 60 mph in an astoundingly short 111 feet, repeatedly. Rearview and sideview cameras are both optional.
When you stop to realize the 2014 Bentley Mulsanne is a rear-wheel-drive luxury sedan that's roughly the size and weight of a Chevrolet Suburban, it makes the driving experience all the more remarkable.
Remarkable because the Mulsanne accelerates and brakes with authority, thanks to the twin-turbocharged V8's mind-blowing 752 lb-ft of torque and huge 15.7-inch front and 14.5-inch rear disc brakes. And true to its refined pedigree, the cabin remains tranquil in all situations short of those impish moments when you feel compelled to pin the polished, drilled alloy accelerator pedal to the floorboards.
In true luxury car fashion, the adaptive suspension assures occupants need never be perturbed by broken pavement and other less-than-optimal road surfaces. Handling is even quite respectable for such a high-end luxury sedan, albeit with some serious body roll at speed. There's a spot-on steering feel in the Mulsanne and plenty of composure on the highway, but this 3-ton vehicle definitely isn't made for winding roads and switchbacks. There's also a commanding driving position from inside the Mulsanne, especially with the larger optional wheels, that makes the driving experience almost analogous to that of a tall SUV.
Perhaps the most unique part of motoring along in the Bentley Mulsanne is the attention the car generates wherever it goes. While it's a factor that can't exactly be quantified, the reaction of other drivers and passers-by makes even the most mundane of outings a lot more fun.
The English language seems lacking when it comes to trying to convey the full opulence of the Bentley Mulsanne's passenger cabin. From the 620 hand-done stitches and 10 feet of thread that go into the leather-wrapped steering wheel to the fact that the Crewe factory's craftsmen spend 200 hours -- fully half of the time it takes to assemble the entire car -- on the interior alone, the more you begin to understand the attention to detail it takes to create this lavish space.
Virtually every surface is covered with supple leather, precisely book-matched wood veneers, or polished stainless-steel accents. Gauges and controls offer an agreeable blend of classic traditional look in the analog speedometer and clock and the latest technology with the large display and on-screen menus controlled by a large console-mounted knob similar to Audi MMI user interface. When you're in the mood to return to the more traditional look, the display disappears discreetly behind a wood-veneered panel at the touch of the button.
Front seats are roomy and supremely comfortable even on long drives. While the heated power-adjustable rear seats lack the vast legroom found in some of the Mulsanne's long-wheelbase competitors, separate controls allow the occupant of the curb-side position to slide the front passenger seat forward to give themselves room to stretch out. Add the power-operated rear and side window curtains, available electronics like the DVD entertainment system and Wi-Fi hotspot, plus the spacious 15.6 cubic-feet of trunk space, and you have what may very well be the penultimate road-trip vehicle.
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.