2013 Bentley Mulsanne
Starting MSRP $296,000
Bentley's flagship sedan, the Mulsanne, was introduced for 2011. It takes its name from a section of the track used for the annual 24 Hours of Le Mans. It replaced the Arnage, a sedan sold stateside from 1998-2009. Originally an independent company, Bentley was purchased by Rolls-Royce in 1931, but since 1998 it has been owned by Volkswagen. In the Mulsanne's price realm, the Rolls-Royce Ghost is the main competitor.
New for 2013
A moonroof is now standard and a cooled rear storage area for Champagne bottles — with accompanying glasses — is optional.
Three new packages debut this year. The Mulliner Driving Spec Package includes an adjustable sport suspension, a leather-trimmed cabin, 21-inch lightweight aluminum-alloy wheels and polished alloy pedals. The iPad Package features two iPads running the Bentley application, two wireless keyboards, two power picnic tables and wireless connectivity. Lastly, the new Theater Package turns the rear seating area into a high-tech theater with dual 8-inch screens in the back of the head restraints, a power-operated 15.6-inch HD screen, wireless connectivity and headphones. The system's center console includes storage, mood lighting, USB ports and armrests, among other things.
At 219.5 inches bumper to bumper, the Mulsanne stretches well over a foot longer than most minivans. Its imposing face is at once squared-off and curvy, with huge headlights flanking an enormous grille. Anything on or in the Mulsanne that looks like metal is real metal, according to Bentley. A lower grille runs the width of the front end, separated from the upper grate by a bumper that protrudes in the middle. Exterior features include:
- Upright chrome grille
- Optional retractable Flying-B hood ornament
- Standard 20-inch wheels
- Optional 21-inch wheels
- More than 100 factory colors available
The Mulsanne's handcrafted interior features the usual Bentley fare — plenty of wood and stainless steel, with pull-stoppers for the air-conditioning vents and gauge needles starting in the 1 o'clock position. Bentley has adopted a traditional tanning process for the Mulsanne's leather to evoke the smell of vintage cowhides. Running across the dashboard and doors is a continuous band of wood trim, which the automaker says takes two weeks to refine from raw material to polished veneers.
Should buyers wish, Bentley's in-house Mulliner division can personalize the Mulsanne with any manner of hand-tailored fittings. Interior features include:
- 24 colors available for leather upholstery
- Available ventilated front and rear seats, with massage feature
- Multimedia system with 60-gigabyte hard drive
- Standard iPod, MP3 and USB interface
- Available Naim Audio premium stereo
Under the Hood
The Mulsanne's pushrod twin-turbo 6.8-liter V-8 makes 505 horsepower; its 752 pounds-feet of torque is available at just 1,750 rpm. Combined with the eight-speed automatic transmission, the drivetrain reduces fuel consumption 15 percent versus the previous V-8, according to Bentley, though that equates to only 11 mpg city and 18 mpg highway.
Settings for the steering and adaptive air suspension can be tailored to three modes — Sport, Comfort and an in-between "Bentley" setting — as well as a Custom mode that lets drivers fine-tune each system's specific settings. Mechanical features include:
- 505-hp, twin-turbo 6.8-liter V-8
- Eight-speed automatic transmission with steering-wheel paddle shifters
- Adjustable steering and air suspension settings
Standard safety features include:
- Electronic stability system
- Antilock brakes
- Front and rear side-impact airbags
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