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- Highs Powerful V-8 engine, sophisticated design, exquisite interior.
- Lows Gulps fuel, handling is more elegant than nimble, eye-watering price.
- Verdict The Mulsanne offers style, luxury, and comfort for those who can afford the Bentley entry fee.
The Mulsanne, named for the famous four-mile straight at the Circuit de la Sarthe used for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, is Bentley’s flagship sedan. The name is a carryover from the old Bentley brand when its models were Rolls-Royces with different grilles. Volkswagen Group continued building the old model up to 2010, years after it purchased Bentley, after which it launched an all-new Mulsanne for 2011. The new model is imposingly large and ridiculously, expensively luxurious with a seemingly unending array of bespoke options and interior choices. The Mulsanne has one major holdover part from the old model, its overhead-valve V-8 engine, which dates back to 1957.
What's New for 2017?
The big news this model year is really big, a stretched-wheelbase version of the Mulsanne that adds 9.8 inches of wheelbase. In addition to more legroom, the rear-seat passengers now get electric-powered retractable leg rests, similar to those in first class on an airliner. Just 25 examples are headed for the U.S. All 2017 Bentley Mulsannes get a mid-cycle facelift, with a new tail, front fenders, grille, hood, and LED headlights.
- Base: $307,395
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The Mulsanne and Mulsanne LWB are both powered by a 505-hp, 6.75-liter overhead-valve turbocharged V-8. The Mulsanne Speed, a “sportier” version with slightly firmer suspension and 530 horsepower is reviewed separately. The V-8 engines power the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The OHV V-8, which Rolls-Royce/Bentley originally sourced from General Motors, has a low, 4500-rpm redline, so you can roll into the throttle while cruising along at 95 mph and quickly accelerate to 140 without the eight-speed automatic having to downshift. With its imposing length, width, and height—and curb weight well into pickup-truck territory—the Mulsanne is no curve carver, but it is a supremely comfortable luxury sedan that can get you where you’re going very quickly, at least on long, straight roads.
EPA fuel-economy testing and reporting procedures have changed over time. For the latest numbers on current and older vehicles, visit the EPA’s website and select Find & Compare Cars.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The Mulsanne’s seats are new for 2017, but like previous models, supple leather is everywhere—covering the seats, of course, but also on the dash, headliner, and interior pillars. The seats are available in a choice of two stitch patterns and 24 leather color choices. The possibilities for personalization are practically endless. In addition to leather options, there is a variety of genuine wood and real metal trim available. And, needless to say, the cabin provides every comfort and convenience feature imaginable. In the back seat of the new long-wheelbase model, the center console has USB connections, cupholders, pen holders, glass-covered storage, and electric curtains. Trunk space is a surprisingly small 15.6 cubic feet, but there are plenty of nooks and crannies in the cabin for storing small items.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Standard equipment for the Mulsanne includes an 8.0-inch display with navigation, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a 60-gigabyte hard drive, USB and auxiliary ports, and a 14-speaker stereo with satellite radio. Optional features include a 2200-watt Naim audio system with 20 speakers and a rear-seat entertainment center with two 10.4-inch tablets that can be removed for use outside of the car.
Safety Features and Crash Test Ratings
Some older vehicles are still eligible for coverage under a manufacturer's Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program. For more information visit our guide to every manufacturer's CPO program.