Used 2016 Bentley Mulsanne Speed Review
Edmunds expert review
The 2016 Bentley Mulsanne exceeds the strictest standards for luxury and craftsmanship with its old-world charm mixed with modern amenities.
It isn't about need. In the realm of the few mega-luxury, six-figure sedans, it's the pursuit of the utmost in design, craftsmanship, performance and curb appeal that guides the automaker's craft. Consider the 2016 Bentley Mulsanne as a perfect example.
The Mulsanne delivers on the excess you'd expect from a vehicle of this size and price. Its hand-made interior relays a sense of impeccable taste, while its large and finely sculpted exterior gives it unmistakable stateliness. Driving it is much the same, with Bentley's famous 6.75-liter V8 delivering robust yet dignified acceleration. The Speed trim delivers more power and a higher top speed, but loses no refinement in the process.
Only a few cars are the equal of the Mulsanne's opulence. The Rolls-Royce Phantom represents a father leap into old-world luxury and ceremony, exceeding the Mulsanne in size and price. The "entry-level" Rolls-Royce Ghost is closer in price and size, and it might seem more special due to its 12-cylinder engine offering. Less exotic perhaps but still highly refined, the Mercedes-Benz Maybach S600 takes a more limo-conscious approach with a backseat extensively modified for comfort. But for those who demand the finest craftsmanship and exclusivity, the 2016 Bentley Mulsanne is a great choice.
Trim levels & features
The 2016 Bentley Mulsanne is a large luxury sedan with seating for five passengers that comes in two trim levels: base and Speed. Standard features include 20-inch wheels, bi-xenon headlights, heated and auto-dimming mirrors, a sunroof, soft-close doors and trunk lid, front and rear parking sensors, LED accent and taillights, keyless ignition and entry and an air-ride suspension.
On the inside, you also get four-zone automatic climate control, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 14-way power-adjustable heated front seats with memory functions, eight-way power-adjustable heated rear outboard seats, leather upholstery, wood interior trim, power rear window privacy screens, a rear center armrest with seat and climate controls, an 8-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth and a 14-speaker CD player with iPod/USB input.
The optional Mulliner Driving Specification package adds sport-tuned suspension and steering, diamond-quilted upholstery, embroidered Bentley emblems, a leather headliner and metal sports pedals. The more powerful Mulsanne Speed includes the Mulliner package and also adds 21-inch wheels, dark-tinted exterior trim, selectable drive modes and a knurled gear selector.
Options for either Mulsanne model include the Premier Specification package (a flying "B" hood emblem, stainless steel exterior and interior accents, a knurled fuel filler cap, a rearview camera, a universal garage door opener, a valet key, ventilated front and rear seats with massage functions and ambient interior lighting), the Comfort Specification package (two loose cushions, rear headrests with adjustable wings and rear passenger footrests) and the Entertainment Specification package (rear seat picnic tables with built-in storage for iPads and keyboards, a Naim premium audio system, rear seat entertainment systems and a mobile WiFi hotspot).
Stand-alone options include adaptive cruise control, a heated steering wheel, a wood-trimmed steering wheel, a refrigerated bottle cooler (with crystal champagne flutes, of course), fold-down vanity mirrors, privacy curtains for the rear seats, a six-disc DVD player and sideview cameras. Buyers also have a seemingly endless array of exterior and interior color choices, and if somehow those don't meet their needs, Bentley can match or create a custom color palette at additional cost.
Performance & mpg
Powering the 2016 Bentley Mulsanne is a 6.75-liter V8 that produces 505 horsepower and 752 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. In Edmunds testing, the Mulsanne accelerated to 60 mph in 5.4 seconds. Considering the vehicle's size, weight and performance, fuel economy understandably suffers. The EPA estimates it at a rather poor 13 mpg combined (11 city/18 highway).
The Mulsanne Speed increases power output to 530 hp and 811 lb-ft of torque. During Edmunds performance testing, the Mulsanne Speed was able to go from zero to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. Despite the higher output, EPA fuel economy estimates remain the same.
Standard safety features for the 2016 Bentley Mulsanne include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front and rear parking sensors and front and rear side-impact airbags designed to protect both the head and thorax. Rearview and side cameras are optional.
In Edmunds testing, a base Mulsanne consistently required only 111 feet to come to a stop from 60 mph, and a Mulsanne Speed did the same simulated panic stop in just 108 feet. Both are impressive distances for the segment and for such heavy cars.
The 2016 Bentley Mulsanne is as stately as luxury sedans come, and for most people, that translates to big. In terms of size and weight, it's longer and heavier than a Cadillac Escalade. While it certainly feels large, it's not nearly as unwieldy or difficult to pilot as you'd expect. This big and heavy Bentley accelerates with authority while remaining eerily calm. It's a bit like being in a modern high-speed elevator, where you know there's a lot of weight moving, but it all feels remarkably effortless. In this regard, you'd expect the Speed to offer noticeably quicker acceleration, but most drivers might not be able to tell the difference.
Not surprisingly, the ride quality on the highway is just about flawless. The air-ride suspension smooths out the worst road surfaces without ever feeling disconnected or floaty. On a winding mountain pass, the Mulsanne leans heavily around turns, even with the sport-tuned Speed trim level. This is not a car you'll want to drive quickly, but it's composed and stable enough for something weighing almost 3 tons. Ultimately, the best part about the Mulsanne is the way it adds a regal air to even the most mundane of errands, making carpooling or grocery getting more of an occasion than a task.
The 2016 Bentley Mulsanne hosts a hand-made interior formed out of the highest quality materials available. Whether it's flawless leather, rich wood trim or polished stainless steel, the interior shows the lengths to which British luxury carmakers will go in their quest for perfection. The overall design of the cabin has a traditional layout with modern technology subtly integrated into the mix.
The infotainment display emerges from behind a veneered panel in the dash and should look familiar to anyone who's used Audi's MMI interface. The driver information display is a less modern unit that doesn't provide as much data as we'd like, but overall the system is easy to use and understand. The optional rear-seat picnic tables are also designed to house iPads and Apple wireless keyboards, and the available WiFi hotspot should keep those passengers well connected to the rest of the world.
In terms of comfort and luxury, the Mulsanne remains tastefully opulent. There's no shortage of room in any seat and passengers will remain fatigue-free, even after a long journey. With 15.6 cubic feet of cargo space available, those fortunate travelers will also have the option of packing plenty of their comforts of home.
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.