2014 Bentley Mulsanne | road test

Posted on Mar 12, 2014 by
2014 Bentley Mulsanne
  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 4.5 stars
  • Outstanding
AEDAED 1,300,000 - 1,500,000
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  • Last modified: December 10, 2014
  • Exterior
    Editor: 100%
  • Interior
    Editor: 100%
  • Quality
    Editor: 100%
  • Features
    Editor: 90%
  • Performance
    Editor: 90%
  • Value for money
    Editor: 90%

Review Summary:

The Mulsanne is the brand's flagship model that possesses the ability to warp your perception of what a luxury car really is and also entitles you to permanent residency in the fast lane.

Pros

Unique exterior styling
Quality of materials used in the interior
Luxurious features for all occupants in the vehicle

Cons

Fuel efficiency isn't a word that can be linked with the Mulsanne
Sheer size of the English beauty

It isn’t every day that we journalists get to experience the lifestyle of the rich and famous; vehicles that costs millions and mansions that costs billions are things we can only dream about. Having got my hands on the 2014 Bentley Mulsanne for a few days, I had cracked the first part of that equation, temporarily at least.

2014 Bentley Mulsanne front

The Bentley Mulsanne is a stunning piece of art, and here’s an interesting fact for you. It takes a painstaking 125 hours to create just one Mulsanne bodyshell, after which it is protected, primed, painted, hand-sanded, lacquered and polished.

2014 Bentley Mulsanne front + side

Up front, the Mulsanne flaunts a neat mesh grille that continues to the bumper and bears a strong resemblance to the Arnage that it replaces. A sharply defined crease swoops upwards from the short front overhang before curving around the front wheels and spearing back along the waistline of the car. Bentley’s traditional circular headlamps are present, but with a slightly modern touch that welcomes LED’s around the central projector beams.

2014 Bentley Mulsanne rear + side

Towards the other end, the Mulsanne houses tri-oval LED tail lamps  and dual exhausts that measure an unimaginable 20 centimetres each. The handcrafted swooping D-pillar is unlike any I have encountered before and completes the rear end with a certain zest / glamour.

2014 Bentley Mulsanne front + side - 3

Finished in striking Ice Silver hue, there aren’t many cars that can collaborate regality with the aftermarket looking 21 inch Mulliner Driving Specification alloys and still look as majestic as my latest crush from Crewe did.

2014 Bentley Mulsanne centre console

Words like flimsy, plastic and tacky are clearly not in Bentley’s vocabulary. Everything from the door panels and roofliner, to the dashboard and plush seats are covered in a combination of smooth and perforated leather, in a colour Bentley like to refer to as Burnt Orange. A ring of polished dark stained Burr walnut wood envelopes the cabin and a scattering of chrome and glass-finished buttons make it look as impeccable as it feels.

2014 Bentley Mulsanne rear seat control

For the royalty that park themselves in the rear seats, the Mulsanne offers an array of controls that allows them to recline and cool their seat on those fiery afternoons, or heat their seats on those chilly nights and even get a massage while stuck in a little bit of traffic.

2014 Bentley Mulsanne picnic table

To keep the backseat drivers entertained, Bentley’s flagship model is fitted with an exemplary 2,200 watts 20 speaker Naim sound system, TV screens in the headrests and a pair of headphones in each of the rear door panels. If you’re questioning whether the rear seats of the Mulsanne are the ideal place to watch the next blockbuster, I think so!

2014 Bentley Mulsanne rear mirror

Should the sun be too bright, or the need for privacy arise, rear seat travelers have the option of drawing the side and rear curtains with an effortless tap of a button. Wood encircled mirrors are also fitted near the rear headrests, so that the superstars in the back can ensure they look their absolute best before leaving the Mulsanne.

2014 Bentley Mulsanne mini bar

The most exciting features however, include twin electrically deployed picnic tables with concealed iPad holders and a mini bar that houses three champagne flutes and two bottle coolers. If this wouldn’t make you the talk of the town, I’m not sure what would.

2014 Bentley Mulsanne centre console

Realizing I would have to be my own chauffeur, I hopped into the driver’s seat to see what it had to offer. A smooth leather wrapped and hand stitched steering wheel that takes 15 hours to complete, was present to welcome me in.

2014 Bentley Mulsanne seat control

With the help a fourteen way power adjustable ventilated seat that allows individual aspects of the seat to be raised or lowered along with lumbar support, getting dangerously cozy is something that happens instantaneously. A peep at the instrument panel and it all seems different. The Mulsanne features inverted aviation styled dials for vehicle and engine speeds and a supplementary colour display that can be tailored to show a compass or information pertaining to the vehicle, trip or infotainment system.

2014 Bentley Mulsanne dashboard

The engine bay is ginormous and possibly even big enough to fit a stable for the 505 horses that are squeezed into the 6.75 litre twin turbo V8 engine. Handbuilt by Bob Bishop in Crewe, England, my 3.2 tonne English babe churned out 1,020 Nm of torque and demolished a 0 – 100 km/h sprint in a ridiculously quick 5.3 seconds.

2014 Bentley Mulsanne drive selector

A total of four drive modes (Comfort, Bentley, Sport and Custom) are available and can easily be changed by rotating a chrome laden knob on the centre console. In comfort mode, there is a clear second or so of lag with the power delivery and though I would normally rate this as a bad thing, it’s a blessing in disguise with the Mulsanne. If you’re wondering why, because in that second, the Mulsanne gives you the opportunity to grab your seatbelt and put it on (if you haven’t already) before throwing you into the back of your seat, pinning your skull to the headrest and taking off like a bullet through air.

2014 Bentley Mulsanne speedo

It goes without saying that the ride is ridiculously smooth and could very well make you question if your tires are actually on the road, or hovering above it. But don’t confuse its refinement with being boring, because it goes, goes and continues going before reaching its mind boggling top speed of 295 km/h.

2014 Bentley Mulsanne door panel

Bishop’s masterpiece is mated to an 8 speed transmission that offers buttery smooth shifts and if it is set to Sports mode or is being used with the chrome paddle shifters, climbs all the way to the top before redlining at 4,500 RPM and then shifting cogs.

2014 Bentley Mulsanne rims

To match its go, the English bomb is fitted with 400 mm brake discs up front and 370 mm discs at the rear that glide the car to a stop when you want, or bite if you want them to in an emergency. The brake pedal thankfully, was firm and not as mushy as it is in other gargantuan sedans.

2014 Bentley Mulsanne emblem

Before moving on, I think it is important to highlight what comes standard with the Mulsanne. When behind the wheel, you are greeted with nods of appreciation from some, envious glares from others and are entitled to permanent residency in the fast lane on highways.  So as you’d imagine, driving the Mulsanne does make you feel very much like a superstar.

2014 Bentley Mulsanne front + side - 2

However, just like everything else, the Mulsanne does have its flaws. With an overall length of 5,575mm, Bentley’s flagship sedan is a massive vehicle and requires the highest level of concentration when weaving through traffic or navigating through a parking lot. To put into perspective, it’s exactly 724mm longer than the Range Rover Sport and 587mm longer than the big daddy Rangie.

2014 Bentley Mulsanne fender

With a 6.75 litre engine upfront, I knew I wouldn’t be covering too many miles before pulling into a gas station, but let’s just say if the Mulsanne were a human, it’d probably have to be admitted into rehab for an excessive drinking problem. Hovering around 20 litres for every 100 kms in traffic was a common sight on the instrument panel.

2014 Bentley Mulsanne front - 3

In terms of features, our Mulsanne wasn’t equipped with adaptive cruise control or a blind spot monitoring system, which was a little shocking because it’s something you’d expect to be there in a car that sucks the better half of a million Dirhams out of your bank account. However, in hindsight, I question if the blind spot monitoring system was really necessary, because a tap of the indicator stalk and cars go out of their way to stop and let the Mulsanne merge into the lane anyway.

2014 Bentley Mulsanne rear seat

It was back in the 1930’s that the founder of Bentley, W.O. Bentley said “I have always wanted to make a dead silent 100 mph car”. Over the past 80 years, the people at Bentley have mastered this dream and today, push out cars like the 2014 Mulsanne that have the ability to warp your perception of what a luxury car really is and its capabilities.

2014 Bentley Mulsanne door plate

With only 1,100 Mulsanne’s produced and sold each year, Bentley’s flagship sedan is a dream for most of us. But if you do own a gas station or have a couple of millions sitting in your bank account, then stop dreaming and get your hands on a Mulsanne. Because in this day and age when machines build nearly everything, the Mulsanne is a reminder that the human hand can produce some magnificent things as well.

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