The Geneva Auto Show is less than a week away and Bentley has unveiled a second new car in advance of the show’s opening. Following last week’s Continental GT V8 S is a refreshed Mulsanne and an all new extended wheelbase Mulsanne. The redesigned Mulsanne is debuting almost a year after you’ve seen prototypes on this site here and here.
As we expected from the images of the prototype, the front end of the Mulsanne has been updated. The most noticeable change is the new (old) vertical grille.
It has been fascinating to talk to Bentley enthusiasts about the new look. The reaction from younger Bentley enthusiasts wasn’t favorable, with some seeing it as big departure for Bentley. The older generation, however, remembers the Bentleys of old.
You see, the new grille is actually an older design, which was utilized as early as the 1930 8 Litre and on the R-Type Continental of the 1950s. The vertical bars would come back again in the 70’s and 80’s, including the 1988 Bentley Turbo R (pictured.)
That new grille is 3″ wider than before and if you’re missing the Bentley matrix grill, the Mulsanne’s designers have left it underneath the new vertical grille, creating a unique look to the car’s front end. Joining the new grille are a revised pair of LED headlamps. For the first time on the Mulsanne, they are 100% LED. These new units feature advanced adaptive technology and greatly increased night vision, with beam patterns that automatically adjust to suit the driving conditions.
It’s not just the front fascia that has been revised. From the A pillar forward, everything has been redesigned. The fenders, hood, radiator shell, grilles, and lights are all brand new. The new front bumper is also wider and more square with revised air inlets. The Mulsanne’s feature line travels down the length of the car, ending in front of the new wheel. It’s subtle, but once you notice it, it really defines the look of the car.
In addition to new bright work on the front, a new B-shaped vent has been added to the front fender, like the last year’s Mulsanne Speed had.
The Mulsanne also receives an updated rear fascia for 2017. The redesigned bumper has a stronger jaw line via lower, squared corners. A strong feature line runs horizontally across the rear. The new tail lights have a B-shape to them, like the tail lights on the Bentayga.
The inside of the new Mulsanne also receives updates. The seats, armrests, and door trim have all been redesigned. The seats now feature design details that fall inline with the rest of the Bentley lineup and are available with either a fluted design or Bentley’s famous diamond quilted design. Customers have the choice of 24 hide colors and single or duo-tone finishes.
It takes 400 hours to finish a Mulsanne. 150 of these hours go into the craftsmanship used to produce the interior. Bentley’s craftsmen hand-select the veneers which are used to make the 40 pieces that compose the car’s interior trim. The Mulsanne can be specified with one of 13 different veneers, though if you want, options are really limitless. Mulliner has even outfitted a car with a veneer made from a tree from the owner’s property. The rest of the interior is outfitted with luxurious and authentic materials in clouding polished stainless steel, unique glass switchgear, traditional knurled control levers and knobs and deep-pile carpets.
Bentley is also bringing new technology to the 2017 Mulsanne. It receives a completely new infotainment system, which Bentley claims utilizes “class-leading navigation technology.” It also features a selection of on-board infotainment systems that raise the bar for audio and visual entertainment on the move.
The 10.2″ Android tablets from the Bentayga make their Mulsanne debut. They’re called the “Bentley Entertainment Tablet,” and they allow rear seat passengers to interact with the car including gauges for vehicle speed, navigation and maps, and access to Wi-Fi and on-board media.
The Mulsanne ca also have Blind Spot Warning, Advanced Automatic Stability Control with collision mitigation, and the industry’s most powerful sound system by Naim audio. Wi-Fi is standard.
The Mulsanne lineup now consists of three models: the Mulsanne, the Mulsanne Speed, and the Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase. That last model is an exciting development for rear seat passengers as the extended wheelbase allows for 9 more inches of leg room.
Those nine inches make a big difference. That adds enough length that Bentley’s famous fold down tables can’t be comfortably reached, so they looked to the airline industry for inspiration. The result is one of the most luxurious Bentleys every built. The reclining, massaging, and heated rear seats have airline-style power leg rests and allow its occupant a multitude of seating positions.
Inside the center console is enough support for a mobile office. USB ports, pen holders, dup holders, and Wi-Fi allow plenty to work to get done if need be. Customers can option out a deployable, folding table, similar to what you would find in your private jet. For privacy, standard electric curtains can be deployed.
About the new cars, Wolfgang Dürheimer, Chairman and CEO of Bentley Motors, said: “The Mulsanne is the epitome of Bentley’s DNA – exquisite, individual and powerful. It defines luxury in the automotive world and offers a uniquely Bentley blend of luxury and performance.
Rear-seat passengers also benefit from an oversized sunroof. Controlled by the passengers or the driver, the tilting and sliding glass panel (with Alcantara sun blind) allows natural light to flood into the Mulsanne’s beautifully appointed cabin.
“The Mulsanne is the epitome of Bentley’s DNA – exquisite, individual and powerful.”
The air suspension system with Continuous Damping Control (CDC) creates a refined and comfortable ride at lower speeds, and lowers the Mulsanne’s ride height automatically at high speeds to reduce lift and improve aerodynamic stability.
The extended wheelbase car has the standard 6¾-litre V8, which develops 505 bhp 752 lb.ft of torque. For a big car, the Mulsanne can seriously hustle, hitting 60mph in just 5.1 seconds. It has a top speed of 184mph but with features like cylinder de-activation and variable cam phasing, has fewer emissions and better highway fuel economy than any previous version of the 6¾ lump.
If you want to move even faster, get the Mulsanne Speed. It is tailored for the driver with 530 bhp and 811 lb. ft. of torque resulting in a 0-60 mph time of just 4.9 seconds and a top speed of 190 mph. The new Mulsannes will officially debut at Geneva this week and be ready for delivery later this year.