2011 Bentley Mulsanne

The Continental GT is for poseurs. Real ballers drive the Mulsanne.

Story and photography: Andrew Link

Model Tested: Premiere

Rating: 6 out of 6

There is a specific feeling of grandeur when one steps into the Bentley Mulsanne, from the comforting ride that could rock a baby to sleep to the fuel filler cap that weighs enough to have been milled from a chunk of pure silver—which, at a breathtaking $333K, it probably was. While other Bentleys (specifically the Continental Supersports) can be considered drivers’ cars, the Mulsanne is more on the Phantom level—a level that requires you almost to forget about those beautiful front seats.

Bentley has included all the provisions for being chauffeured. The rear passenger seat can control almost everything, including moving the front passenger seat forward to gain some more legroom. Even with these features, it’s tough to give up the driver’s seat.

The spec sheet for the Bentley Mulsanne invites you to “experience motoring on a higher level,” and with a price tag of $333,885, this is pretty much as high as it gets. This fancy four-door takes you where you’re going with a refined style all its own. The leather interior takes 17 (one-seven!) hides of hand-picked leather to complete, a fact that is completely evident from the moment you slide your posterior into the seat. Leather adorns the seats, consoles, headliner, steering wheel…just about everything. Complementing the vast amounts of leather are the mirror-matched wood veneers and polished stainless-steel air vents and organ stop controls, reminiscent of Bentley’s past.

The real beauty of the Mulsanne, however, comes from the completely unrefined 6.75-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 crammed under the hood. Mash the gas and this luxury sled will have you in the triple digits in the blink of an eye, all while giving you and your three passengers massages. Big sedans like this one are typically seen as slow and heavy family haulers rather than sporty driving machines. The Mulsanne kicks that notion in the teeth with steel-toed boots. Its power is instantly available through the whole RPM range, and it will keep accelerating as long as you’ve got the guts to keep the pedal down. But be careful: The Mulsanne’s mass will keep it accelerating even after you’ve let up!

The Mulsanne is over the top in every way. Like a yacht on wheels, this machine is the ultimate in luxury. If you can afford the price tag, it’s a no-brainer. If you can’t afford it, start selling some shit, ’cause you need this car.

Specs:

Damage: $333,885

Power: 505hp, 752 lb.-ft.

0-60: 5.0 secs.

Gas Cash: 11 city, 18 hwy

Miles Driven: 255

Interior: Comfortable and enormous—the Mulsanne could carry a herd of elephants across the Serengeti.

Exterior: With an elegant profile of gentle slopes and curves, the Mulsanne commands attention from every angle.

Floss Factor: The winged “B” logo on the grille may stand for “Bentley,” but it should stand for “Baller.” People notice this car on the road and wonder what the driver does for a living. The answer is up to you.

Flaw Factor: The sheer size of the Mulsanne makes parking and pulling away from a curb in tough situations a bit of a challenge.


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