2016 Bentley Mulsanne Review

Mulsanne

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2016 Bentley Mulsanne Overview

Unadulterated automotive luxury, power, and performance can be summed up in one word: Bentley. And the flagship 2016 Bentley Mulsanne represents the pinnacle of this European automaker’s excellence. Altogether, this posh-lover’s dream car is what every multi-millionaire has in mind when shopping for a full-size 5-passenger sedan.

For the upcoming model year, the Mulsanne is available in a pair of trims: the Base and the Mulsanne Speed, with the latter having debuted as a late-2015 offering. A few minor upgrades to color choices, cabin materials, and option packages are slated for 2016, but otherwise this sublime people-hauler stands pat.

Starting with premium leather upholstery, genuine wood accents, distinctive alloy and chrome pieces adorning the grille and fascia, and nearly limitless personalization choices, the Base Mulsanne and its up-powered Speed sibling once again offer only the finest of exterior and interior materials and hand-tooled workmanship. Furthermore, its 15.6 cubic feet of trunk space can carry a couple of weeks’ worth of Bora-Bora-bound luggage, while the supple suspension still handles corners and potholes with equal aplomb.

The standard powerplant in the Base trim remains a 6.75-liter twin-turbocharged V8 that mates with the standard 8-speed auto-manual transmission to put out 505 hp and 752 lb-ft of torque. Look for a 0-60 time of a very un-sedan-like 5.1 seconds from this force-fed V8, while Bentley claims a top speed of 181 mph.

Further complicating the issue of local output utilization is the Mulsanne Speed’s tweaked version of that same twin-turbo V8, which again combines with the 8-speed auto-manual to pound out 530 hp and an incredible 811 lb-ft of torque. With a 0-60 time claimed (by Bentley) at 4.8 seconds, and the stated potential for 190 mph at the top end (maybe out in Montana?), this screamer is touted to out-hustle all comers.

By the way, although these latest Mulsanne iterations have yet to be tested by the EPA, the folks at Bentley are crowing that the upcoming year’s versions will be 13% more fuel efficient than previous editions.

Plush, often an overused term in describing the products put out by the various automakers, aptly describes the 2016 Mulsanne. Some highlights of this premium sedan, complementing its labor-intensive craftsmanship, include distinctive 20-inch alloy wheels; selectable driver settings for throttle, suspension, and steering response; auto climate control; uniquely Bentley-esque inset headlights (now with bi-xenon feature); and a refrigerated storage bin.

Techno-bling, meantime, includes a 14-speaker premium audio system with CD player and satellite radio along with standard GPS navigation.

And believe it or not, this ultra-high-end 4-door again offers a number of options, including rear-seat DVD entertainment, a power sunroof, a rear-view camera, and a remote garage door opener. Additionally, Bentley’s 20-speaker Naim audio system (with 6-CD changer) remains available, as do upgraded 21-inch alloy wheels, massaging front seats, and WiFi hotspot capability.

Standard safety equipment aboard the 2016 Mulsanne, meantime, includes the usual 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), front and rear side-mounted airbags with head protection chambers, daytime running lights, front fog/driving lights, and self-leveling high-intensity-discharge (HID) headlights. Further standard safety stuff includes turn-signal-integrated mirrors and a remote antitheft alarm, while a side-view camera is a safety option.

A sign of the times, alas, sees the once so-very-British luxury icons Bentley and its one-time sibling Rolls-Royce now under the auspices of Volkswagen and BMW, respectively. But make no mistake, both retain the cachet of their original glamor, with Bentley’s 2016 Mulsanne again representing the epitome of Continental style and comfort. Furthermore, those automobile connoisseurs in Europe and here in the U.S. can expect the even more over-the-top Mulsanne Majestic, now on sale in Qatar, to possibly make it out of this bastion of billionaires in the near future, along with a projected Mulsanne convertible trim that’s reportedly moved beyond the drawing-board stage and onto the test track.

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Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.

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