Road Test | Bentley Mulsanne
This Memorial Day Weekend, the fine folks at Bentley were kind enough to toss us the keys to their flagship coach, the Mulsanne. It is the pinnacle of British engineering and built from the ground up in Bentley’s Crewe, UK headquarters. The detailing is as impressive as you’d expect from Bentley as there is really no expense spared both in aesthetics and performance. It takes roughly two months to build a Bentley Mulsanne and expectedly so as more than 50 percent of this time involves handcraftsmanship. It takes style cues from past Bentleys — the Bentley 8 Litre, Flying Spur of the 1950s, Brooklands, Azure as well as the Arnage. The result is a car that’s simultaneously modern and classic. The work that goes in to making such a grand car look so powerful and versatile is unparalleled in the industry and proves once again why Bentley is the last of its kind and is the opposite of mass production.
The interior is filled with blends of old and new. High quality wood veneers flow right effortlessly with leather hides and solid stainless steel brightware. Under your feet rests deep pile carpets for added comfort. The richer leather smell comes from a traditional tanning process while some other old school tactics are seen through out the cabinet-making process. The cross-banding is still cut by hand and Bentley is the only car maker to use “mirror matching” when applying veneer. To top things off, the Mulsanne also features other iconic Bentley style cues such as the bullseye air vents and blends them with modern craftsmanship. Underneath the lap of luxury sits some of the best technology on the market, from advanced electronic systems to four-zone air conditioning and state-of-the-art soundproofing. Not enough? Music lovers will appreciate the audio system designed exclusively for the Bentley Mulsanne by Naim, a British company known to be a world-class purveyor of specialist sound systems.
So here we were, keys to a three-hundred-and-forty-thousand dollar car in hand and sun creeping out on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. We had the opportunity to sit in the rear cabin of a Mulsanne a few months back while we were out at Aspen Fashion Week so we opted out of getting a driver and went straight to experiencing the grant touring. With a six-and-three-quarter-litre twin turbo V8 engine under the hood and one of the smoothest drives known to man at our hands, what else could you want in life? We aimed south and skipped through traffic on New Jersey’s Turnpike and Garden State Parkway to arrive at Long Branch in a breeze. And that’s what you can expect from a Bentley I suppose — the thirst for the trip no matter the destination and such effortless performance that you won’t know you just broke the 120-mph mark until the Misses looks at the speedometer for you to ensure you’re on good behavior. Whoops.