First images and details of Bentley’s new flagship luxury car
The decision to build the Bentayga SUV might have been controversial, but Bentley is also readying a model that's more in keeping with its traditions – an updated version of its super-luxurious Mulsanne saloon.
The front of the car has been completely redesigned, gaining a larger, more imposing stainless steel radiator grille, and LED headlights reminiscent of the Bentayga’s. Plus, there are detail changes elsewhere, such as rear lights that incorporate a “B” pattern.
For the first time, the Mulsanne range will also comprise three distinct models: the standard (or “signature”) car, a sportier Speed version, and an Extended Wheelbase car with an extra 250mm of rear legroom.
This latter model features fold-out tables, a glass-fronted champagne flute case and a pair of individually reclining, airline-style rear seats in place of the standard three-person bench seat.
What's more, all Mulsannes gain a new touchscreen entertainment system in the front, and the option of rear screens that can be removed and used like tablets, or electrically slid away out of sight into the back of the front seats.
Bentley says it takes more than 150 hours to create the interior, which is available with a choice of 24 hide colours and 13 veneers.
Meanwhile the list of technology now includes a 2,200-watt, 18-speaker stereo, a blindspot warning system, and headlights which automatically switch between high and low beam and adapt their pattern to suit your speed.
Reworked suspension is said to improve both ride comfort and handling, and Bentley claims that it has more than halved the amount of noise that enters the car, through innovations such as tyres that are insulated with foam.
As before, power comes from a 6.75-litre V8 that's linked to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, but this engine can now shut down half of its cylinders under light loads, which improves fuel economy from 16.8mpg to 19.1mpg.
The 0-60mph sprint takes 5.1 seconds and the top speed is 184mph, while the Speed model hikes power from 505bhp to 530bhp, cutting the 0-60mph time to 4.9 seconds and raising the top speed to 190mph.
The Mulsanne will be followed by a production version of the EXP10 Speed 6 sports car, which Bentley unveiled in concept form at last year’s Geneva motor show, and a car in the mould of the BMW X6 that combines coupé and SUV styling cues.
And it says that it intends to make greater use of 3D printing in the future, pointing out that the technology is ideal for low volume manufacturers, allowing greater customisation without the need for expensive tooling.
The new Bentley Mulsanne will make its public debut at this year’s Geneva show, which opens on March 1, and Telegraph Cars will be reporting live from the event.
For all the latest news, advice and reviews from Telegraph Cars, sign up to our weekly newsletter by entering your email here