Traffic, like life, moves slowly in America’s retirement capital. Maybe it’s that retirees are free of commitments, or it’s a subconscious attempt to delay the inevitable, or maybe everyone just dawdles lest they show up for dinner before the restaurant opens. Whatever the cause, Florida’s slow-motion transit means that while you can buy a $342,000, 190-mph sedan, even the truly wealthy can’t buy time. These are the profound insights you ponder while making the single-file march through the Florida Keys at 10-mph below the limit in a car named Speed.
The 2015 Bentley Mulsanne Speed, with its 530 horsepower and 811 lb-ft of torque, would prefer to move much faster. That torque figure is second only to that of the Bugatti Veyron (until you start counting heavy-duty pickups and niche supercar builders like Koenigsegg), yet neither is the monotony entirely unrepresentative. A sedan like this will inevitably spend a significant portion of its life slogging through the sprawl as it connects the heliports to the marinas in the world’s wealthiest, most urbane cities.
Britain’s Own Eight-Cylinder Ancestor
The Mulsanne Speed owes its big output to an engine that’s energetic even if it is nearing retirement age. Like the enduring Chevrolet small-block, Bentley’s 6.8-liter V-8 has roots in the 1950s and to this day retains architectural ties, such as the bore spacing and the pushrod-actuated valvetrain, to the original engine. Over many decades of development, though, this eight-cylinder has also sprouted modern features like two turbochargers, a variable-valve-timing cam phaser, and the ability to run on four cylinders to save fuel. The 2015 Mulsanne Speed introduces new cylinder heads, improvements it shares with the standard Mulsanne. Tuning differences give the Speed its extra 25 horsepower and 59 lb-ft of torque.