The Mulsanne is a leather-lined, wood-adorned rolling lounge for the well-heeled motorist. A 505-hp 6.75-liter twin-turbo V-8 drives the rear wheels via an eight-speed automatic. Although perfect for chauffeur duty, the Mulsanne is also a driver’s car with sharp steering, a poised chassis, and the moves of a smaller car. Rear-seat passengers will be similarly charmed, especially when the Mulsanne is personalized through the Mulliner customization program and its wide range of bespoke features.
For automobiles, 11 years is a long showroom tenure. That’s how long Bentley’s last flagship sedan, the Arnage, was in business—uncomfortably close to twice the industry average. Every now and then, we all wake up in the same shirt we had on yesterday, but make a habit of wearing the same outfit two days in a row, and you’re going to lose some friends. The Arnage was losing friends rapidly—sales dropped from a high of 689 in 2005 to just 217 in 2009, although there’s a slight chance that the global financial situation was a factor, too.
For 2010, the folks in Crewe introduced the Mulsanne, an all-new dreadnought to replace the aging Arnage. It rides on a new platform exclusive to Bentley, although some suspension pieces are pillaged from Audi (the front control arms come from the A8, the rears from the A6 Avant). At 219.5 inches overall, the Mulsanne is about seven inches longer than the Arnage and less than three inches shorter than a Chevrolet Suburban. Speaking of Suburbans, the Mulsanne’s 6036-pound curb weight just trails that of the last four-wheel-drive Suburban we tested. Bentley’s new flagship carries six more inches between its axles than the Arnage, which contributes to an appreciable boost in interior space.