2017 Bentley Mulsanne

2017 Bentley Mulsanne Review

When luxury is a minimum requirement and cost is no object, there is the 2017 Bentley Mulsanne.
author
by Will Kaufman
Edmunds Editor

The Mulsanne is the most exclusive vehicle in Bentley's stable. Bentley says its production uses less automation and requires significantly more time and human labor than anything else the company builds. It's said 500 man-hours go into crafting and assembling the nearly 6,000 pounds of metal, wood, leather and other necessary bits that make up a Mulsanne.

It would be easy enough to spend a few pages talking about the extensive, impeccable work that goes into each Mulsanne (around 16 cattle hides are used for upholstery, the company says, and each one is carefully checked for imperfections by trained inspectors, so that imperfect leather is discarded rather than being stitched into a seat) because that care and craftsmanship are integral to the experience of the car.

This is the car to get if you seek exclusivity. A Mulsanne is about twice the price of a new Mercedes-Benz Maybach sedan — and the Mulsanne's never even been mentioned in a hit pop song. The only real competition in terms of price, exclusivity and craftsmanship is Rolls-Royce's similarly priced Ghost Series II sedan, but that's based on the BMW 7 Series, making it marginally more proletarian. Ultimately, the Bentley Mulsanne is more an expression of the nearly lost art of coachbuilding than just another luxury sedan.



what's new

The big change for 2017 is the addition of the Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase, which adds almost 10 inches of rear legroom. The Mulsanne also receives a rearview camera as standard equipment, and several option package updates.

we recommend

We'd get behind the wheel of the base Mulsanne since the extra power from the Speed is hardly noticeable, but the price hike is significant. We'd also opt for the Mulliner Driving Specification with Alternative Wheel and shoe our Mulsanne with the slightly smaller (and more interesting-looking) 20-inch wheels, improving ride comfort even more. Beyond that, buying a Mulsanne hardly seems like the time to engage in moderation, especially when Bentley's extensive options menu adds so much comfort, luxury and technology.

trim levels & features

Bentley offers three versions of the Mulsanne to suit customer needs. The Mulsanne and the Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase, which adds almost 10 inches of rear-seat legroom, are both powered by the same turbocharged 6.75-liter V8 (505 horsepower, 752 pound-feet of torque). There's also the Mulsanne Speed, which wrings an extra 25 hp and 60 lb-ft of torque from the V8. All three largely share the same equipment and options. Bentley offers a number of packages that add significant upgrades to this already lavish vehicle and nearly limitless options for customization.

Standard equipment highlights include four-zone automatic climate control with separate rear-seat controls, power rear-window privacy screens, 14-way power-adjustable front seats and eight-way power-adjustable rear seats (all with heating), a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an eight-speaker sound system, an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen and, of course, leather upholstery and wood trim.

Outside the cabin, the Mulsanne includes an air-ride suspension, LED headlights and taillights, a sunroof, automatic soft-close doors and trunk, parking sensors, 20-inch wheels, and keyless entry and ignition.

There are several packages, which Bentley refers to as "specifications," that offer some extensive upgrades.

The Comfort Specification adds massage and ventilation to both front seats and the rear outboard seats, special comfort headrests with faux suede pads, and two extra loose cushions. On the extended-wheelbase Mulsanne, the Comfort Specification also adds airline-style reclining seats with footrests. The Premier Specification adds the much-needed Flying B hood ornament, stainless-steel door-pillar finishers, a special filler cap, two umbrellas, a valet key, a veneered cellphone drawer for the front center console, and a remote-control garage door opener.

Entertainment Specification adds dual 10.4-inch rear seat tablets and veneered picnic tables, which deploy from the front seatbacks. These tablets can be removed from their mounts and used even outside the car. With this package, you also get the absolutely bonkers 2,200-watt, 20-speaker Naim sound system.

Finally, the Mulliner Driving Specification adds special 21-inch wheels (although a version of this package can be had without the wheels), branded treadplate plaques, a sport-tuned suspension with driver-selectable modes, diamond-quilted and perforated seats and door panels, a leather headliner, and uniquely machined shift lever, air vent controls, foot pedals and interior door handles.

The Mulsanne comes with a host of other optional extras, such as three choices of drinks cabinet (cocktail, bottle cooler with tumblers or bottle cooler with champagne flutes — all with bespoke crystal), extra rear-seat vanity mirrors, black rear-window curtains with power controls, adaptive cruise control, front corner-view cameras, a chromed radiator shell and lambswool rugs. There are also a number of connectivity options that allow owners to track their car with GPS or control the infotainment from a connected smart device, as well as digital television reception, in-car Wi-Fi, a 4G internet connection, and integrated iPad and keyboard docks built into the rear-seat picnic tables.

It's also worth mentioning the options for color, trim, veneer and embroidery, which number in the hundreds. But, as Bentley is happy to tell you, its ability to customize any aspect of the car, from custom marquetry to installing specially built compartments such as humidors or jewelry boxes, is limited mostly by the buyer's imagination and pocketbook.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our brief evaluation of the 2016 Bentley Mulsanne Speed (turbo 6.75L V8 | 8-speed automatic | AWD)

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Mulsanne has received only minor revisions. Our findings remain applicable to this year's sedan.

driving

The Mulsanne is impressively quick; in Edmunds testing, we observed a 0-60 mph time of a bit more than 5 seconds. This big sedan also has impressively strong brakes. But drive around a turn and you'll experience a lot of body roll. Driving in a straight line is preferred.

comfort

Comfort is at a premium in the Mulsanne: Seats with optional massage, recline and ventilation, plus extensive sound-deadening, an air-ride suspension system and four-zone climate control, mean each occupant should feel supremely coddled.

interior

Wood, metal and leather abound — all either handcrafted or -polished. The overall layout is very traditional, with modern technology subtly integrated. Optional extras such as lambskin rugs and veneer-framed vanity mirrors can take the interior of the Mulsanne to even greater heights of opulence.

utility

The Bentley's boot is actually surprisingly small for such a large car, but it offers quite a bit of clever storage in the cabin. Buyers willing to dip into Bentley's bespoke options can have storage built for just about anything small enough to fit in the car.

technology

The classic approach to construction belies the fact that, especially with the Entertainment Specification, few rivals offer as much infotainment connectivity. The head unit is a bit old, and the screen more restrained than many rivals', but everything is easy to understand and use.

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.