The Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase is the most comfortable and luxurious car in the Mulsanne range. Designed for customers with a preference for being driven, it offers a first-class air-travel experience on the road. With an extra 250mm of legroom in the rear and sumptuous, light-filled cabin space, it is very much a car for those who demand more time and space to think. The Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase is a new benchmark in comfort and refinement.
The extension of the Mulsanne’s wheelbase (from 3,266 mm up to 3,516 mm) is entirely to the benefit of rear-seat passenger. This significant increase in legroom and interior space makes it the most generously proportioned luxury limousine in the world.
Interior To make the best use of the additional rear legroom, Bentley has developed optional airline-style electronic leg rests, seamlessly integrated into the bases of the two rear seats. These extend out and pivot, giving the choice between upright, relaxed and reclined seating positions.
A large-format sunroof is standard on Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase. It floods the rear cabin with light and can be controlled by passengers and driver. The tilting glass pane, which features an Alcantara sunblind, reinforces the Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase’s focus on the rear cabin occupants.
A beautifully designed optional centre console, crafted from the finest veneer, metal, glass and leather, can divide the rear seats. Rear seats can also be specified with folding picnic tables. Electric privacy curtains are fitted as standard and can be tailored with either a black or ivory coloured lining.
The imposing front of the Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase is dominated by a radiator shell with bright stainless steel vertical vanes. The one-piece bumper, bonnet and fenders integrate seamlessly to create a sense of width and presence. These features flow down to the lower signature grille section flanked by ‘B’ wing vents. A choice of Duo-tone paintwork can add a personal finishing touch.
As well as being the most comfortable and luxurious car in the world, the Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase also offers a sublime driving experience.
Beneath Mulsanne’s bonnet lies a 6¾ litre, twin turbocharged V8 engine that produces 505 bhp (377 kW / 512 PS) at 4,200 rpm and up to 1,020 Nm (752 lb.ft) of torque at 1,750 rpm. This immense power takes it from 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds (0-100 km/h in 5.5 seconds), and on to a top speed of 184 mph (296 km/h). The 8-speed automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive provide imperceptible gearshifts and seamless acceleration to deliver a truly spirited ride. Cutting-edge engine technology delivers competitive emissions (C02 of 342g/km) and (18.8 mpg) fuel economy.
As well as a wide range of personalisation options, including over 100 exterior colours, 11 veneers and 24 hide colours, there are many additional ways to make your mark on your Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase. With Mulliner, you can specify your car in special finishes such as satins, metallics and pearlescents. Mulliner also offer a range of duo-tone exterior paint combinations.
Additionally, you can choose from comfort headrests and super-soft Alcantara headrest cushions or a powered Alcantara roller blind. There is also the option to have a rear screen, controlled from front or rear cabin. Partner these additions with the extra 250 mm of legroom for rear passengers and full-length console with twin deployable picnic tables and enhanced stowage, and you can create the perfect space to relax in.
Explore the many personalisation options available for your Mulsanne on our Bentley Configurator.
The Mulliner Specification is available specifically for the Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase’s interior. It adds superb styling cues including diamond-quilted seats, a knurled gear lever and organ stop controls. Drilled alloy sport pedals and optional Bentley Carbon Fibre Inserts to waistrails complete the look. Additionally, you can opt for 21” Radiance’ wheels as part of this specification.
And if you wish to go one step further to make your car truly bespoke, then the Mulliner department – the definition of personalisation – is always on hand to help.
For more information on the Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase specification, please visit our Bentley Configurator.
The Mulsanne is the largest, most luxurious Bentley yet, hand-built to exacting specifications and customizable with nearly anything you can imagine. The iconically styled Mulsanne carries on all the marque's traditions to present a regal, polished face to the world.
It earns an 8 out of 10 on our overall scale, and while its features and comfort are stratospheric, its fuel economy figures are a figurative boat anchor for the rest of the ratings. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Styling and performance
Review continues below
Released for the 2011 model year as a replacement for the Azure, the Mulsanne gets its first major update for 2017. The highlight is the addition of a new Extended Wheelbase model that is 9.8 inches longer, with all the length benefiting rear leg room. Other changes include exterior tweaks front and rear, an all-new infotainment system, new contoured seats, a stiffened chassis, and a host of new rear seat options to take advantage of the extra room in the Extended Wheelbase model.
The Extended Wheelbase joins the base model, called Signature, and the sportier Mulsanne Speed.
While the look is very much the same as the 2011-2016 models, the Mulsanne receives some styling tweaks for 2017, including a whole new front end from the windshield forward. The commanding grille is 3.1 inches wider this year, and it adds vertical vanes like Bentleys of old. However, the matrix shape of the grille mesh is also there; it just rests behind those bars, The headlights retain the standard rounded look, but they are new, using exclusively LEDs with an outer light ring. The outer lights move up slightly to sit on the same plane as the headlights.
The look is very much the same for the Extended Wheelbase model. However, the rear doors longer, and to break up the large mass of sheet metal the extra length creates, Bentley has added a dip in the shoulder line just ahead of the rear wheel. We like this bit of design flair and think the standard length car would benefit from it as well.
Under the hood of all models is a twin-turbocharged 6.75-liter V-8 engine. This engine traces its lineage back 60 years and it is odd in that it is a pushrod V-8 from a European manufacturer. It may be somewhat outdated, but it is not lacking in power. In standard form it puts out 505 horsepower and 752 pound-feet of torque. The resulting acceleration is brisk, reaching 60 mph from rest in just 5.1 seconds, 100 mph in 11.6 seconds, and a top speed of 184 mph.
Opt for the Mulsanne Speed, however, and you’ll get 530 hp and 811 lb-ft of torque. The performance numbers are even more impressive, especially when you consider that this a brick-shaped car that weighs almost three tons: 0 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, 0-100 mph in 11.1 seconds, and a top speed of 190 mph.
The 8-speed automatic gearbox in the Mulsanne is smooth in standard form. In the Speed, it’s calibrated to take advantage of the increase torque. but it is still quite smooth.
With the addition of the Extended Wheelbase model, Bentley employed several measures to stiffen the structure, most of which benefit all models. The crossmember closest to the rear subframe was thickened and longitudinal shear plates were added in the same area. The subframe mounts and suspension mounting points were also strengthened. Finally and only for the Extended Wheelbase, the lower door sills were fortified.
All Mulsannes feature a self-leveling air suspension with continuous damping control. The capacity and efficiency of the air suspension are increased this year, and it works with those adjustable shocks to handle the car’s 5,919-pound curb weight admirably, even in Comfort mode. The ride is even more controlled in the Bentley and (in the Speed) Sport settings. When attempting to hustle the large Mulsanne Speed through curvier sections of highway, the Bentley or Sport modes are preferable, as they maintain ride comfort while better enabling the side-to-side transitions required at a brisk pace. In the Mulsanne Speed, Sport mode also adds heft to the steering, improving feel.
Around town, Comfort mode is the preferred mode of travel, and the Mulsanne Speed provides all of the comfort of the standard car—it just holds a little more pace in reserve. In other words, the Speed envelops the standard Mulsanne’s capabilities without sacrificing anything.
Those shared capabilities are impressive, too, and most of them relate to coddling occupants, entertaining them, or getting work done. No fewer than 16 full cow hides constitute the door-to-door, floor-to-ceiling leather upholstery, each hand-selected for its fine grain and feel. Rich wood veneers (typically walnut, but many others are available) wrap around the entire cabin. Finely finished metals lend substance and heft to vent pulls and knobs. Switches and buttons are largely made of glass, another material that lends the car's air of permanence and substance.
Quality, safety, and features
Seating, front and rear, is eminently comfortable, infinitely adjustable, and truly beautiful. The front seat is no help-only zone: it’s rich and lavish and as well-finished as the rest of the car. The new infotainment system is state of the art, thanks to Bentley's affiliation with Audi. It features both an 8-inch touchscreen and a rotating dial controller, a la Audi's MMI system, and it comes with Apple CarPlay compatibility and in-car wi-fi via 4G LTE connectivity. Hyper luxury cars often lag in infotainment options, but the new Mulsanne does not.
The addition of the Extended Wheelbase model extends the list of rear seat options. The new $13,670 Comfort Specification comes with two rear airline-style reclining seats with leg rests, massage and ventilation for all four seats, comfort headrests with Alcantara headrest pads, and two loose bolsters. Bentley says the leg rests extend further than any on the market.
Also new is the $19,355 Entertainment Specification with Google Maps. It comes with a 20-speaker, 20-channel, 2,200-watt Naim audio system, veneered rear picnic tables that fold down from the front seatbacks, and a pair of 10.2-inch Samsung tablets, also located in the front seat backs. These removable tablets allow rear seat passengers to control the car's climate and entertainment systems, surf the web, and gain access to thousands of Android apps. All Mulsannes are available with a bottle cooler (for wine or champagne) with matching flutes that sit between the rear passengers.
Reading out the standard features list of the Bentley Mulsanne is an exercise in excess, too. A specially developed, flat-cut and leather-bound carpet ensconces the interior floor, available in 22 colors; 23 seat belt colors are available, with buckles color-matched to the hides selected; the aforementioned wood, metal, and glass trim and switchgear elements; the driver’s panel’s inverted aviation-style gauges; an 8.0-inch display for the infotainment system, 14-speaker audio system, and much more.
Other standard and available options include acoustic glazing with infrared reflective layer; rear privacy blinds; front and rear cigar lighters with ashtrays; CD, DVD, SD, and USB inputs; Bluetooth connectivity; and much more.
Standard safety features include front driver and passenger airbags, head and thorax airbags for front and rear passengers, seatbelts with pyrotechnic pre-tensioners and force limiters, ISOFIX child seat tethers, and an interior volumetric alarm system. Newly available for 2017 are blind spot warning and adaptable headlights that adjust the beam based on speed: short and wide for low speed, long and narrow for high speeds. Adaptive cruise control is also available. The 2017 Mulsanne hasn’t been and won't be crash tested by the usual agencies.
If you’re concerned with gas mileage, the Bentley Mulsanne isn't for you. Bentley hasn't released 2017 fuel economy figures, but they should match the 2016 ratings of 11 mpg city, 18 highway, 13 combined. These figures are actually pretty good for such a powerful, heavy car thanks to cylinder-deactivation technology that disables four of the eight cylinders while cruising at constant speed.
While other companies focus on cramming as much technology as possible into their cars, Bentley takes a different approach. The carmaker from Crewe, England, still believes luxury is about craftsmanship and ambiance, not the length of an optional features list. No car represents that philosophy like the Mulsanne.
Bentley’s flagship sedan gets an update this year, debuting at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. Going on sale as a 2017 model, the revised Mulsanne gets some styling changes, a new chauffeur-spec extended-wheelbase model, plus some new technology features, because even Bentley has to keep up with the times.
Like the previous Mulsanne, the updated model’s front end is about as subtle as a bank vault door. There’s a new grille that looks like it could swallow peasants, LED headlights, and a smoother front-bumper design. At the back, there are new taillights with a “B” lighting signature, and a new rear bumper as well.
Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
Ronan Glon/Digital Trends
This sedan is named after the long straight on the 24 Hours of Le Mans course, where Bentley has attained glory many times in the past. The new Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase model seems to want to live up to that name by covering as much real estate as possible. Designed for owners who spend most of their time in the back seat, it boasts a 10-inch wheelbase stretch compared to the already-lengthy standard Mulsanne.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Mulsanne Speed remains the sportiest version of Bentley’s big sedan. Its 6.7-liter twin-turbocharged V8 produces 530 horsepower and 811 pound-feet of torque, channeled to the rear wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. That gets this titanic vehicle from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds, and on to a top speed of 190 mph. Other Mulsanne variants use a less-powerful version of the same V8, with 505 hp and 752 lb-ft.
All Mulsanne models now have active engine mounts, suspension bushes, and special noise-absorbing tires to add further polish to the driving experience. There’s also a Drive Dynamics Control system with three driving modes selectable via a rotary knob on the center console. Bentley, Comfort, and Sport modes adjust suspension and steering behavior, while Custom lets the driver program her own settings.
On the inside, the Mulsanne gets a new infotainment system with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, plus a pair of 10.2-inch Android tablets mounted to the backs of the front seats. In the Extended Wheelbase model, rear-seat passengers also get airline-style electric footrests, and a multifunction center console with everything from USB ports to cupholders. This being a Bentley, the console and everything else in the car are finished in high-quality wood veneers, leather, and metal.
Following its debut in Geneva, the updated Bentley Mulsanne is expected to begin shuttling the One Percent this summer.
In case you missed the engraved announcement, the Mulsanne is the higher-priced, handcrafted flagship that plays big brother to the Flying Spur, the (relatively) more ubiquitous sedan that shares a good amount of parts with the Continental GT. Imagine the snooty older sibling that studied at Wharton, wears tailored suits to breakfast and an ascot to supper, and dangles a pipe from the corner of his mouth, and you've got a good idea of what distinguishes the more finely finished Mulsanne from its stablemate. Not only does a base Mulsanne command a $100,000 premium over the Spur, it's a more laboriously assembled specimen that takes a staggering 400 man-hours to build. Unlike the Spur, whose top model boasts a W12, the Mulsanne is powered by a 6.75-liter pushrod (!) V8. Less is usually less in this stratospheric segment, but this humungous eight-cylinder has a history stretching back six decades – precisely the sort of tweedy legacy stuff that appeals to old money. This is the last Bentley to use this engine, and it will be replaced by a new twelve-cylinder.
For 2017, the big, bad platform reaps its first significant series of updates since its 2009 debut (the Speed variant was introduced 18 months ago). Upgrades to the Mulsanne were focused on refinement, among them a smoother ride, revised styling, an updated interior, and yes, a quieter cabin. Despite its undercurrents of old-world opulence, the Mulsanne's face has been modernized with flusher features, LED headlamps, and a wider grille. Though it retains the delightfully anachronistic Flying B hood ornament, the winged capital letter can now be ordered in a refreshingly modern smoked black hue. Mean. Revisions at the rear include a redesigned bumper and subtle Bs incorporated into the tail lamps.
Inside, new seats with revised foam offer greater comfiness. Perhaps more notably, the infotainment system gains a much-needed upgrade with an 8-inch touchscreen, a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, and Apple Carplay functionality (for front passengers). Optional 10.4-inch tablet screens at the rear offer a trick bit of engineering, rising out of the front seats at the push of a button. The removable, Android-operated touchscreens have a slick feel, an intuitive interface, and Google Maps integration; bundled with veneer picnic tables and a Naim premium audio system (20 speakers, 20 channels, and a 2,200-watt amplifier), the Entertainment Specification package adds a cool $19,855 to the grand total – a nicely optioned Honda Civic's worth of loot.
The standard Signature model pushes 505 hp and 752 lb-ft (good for a 0-to-60-mph run in 5.1 seconds); the Speed gets 530 hp and 811 lb-ft (nope, that Biblical torque figure isn't a typo), doing the deed in 4.8 seconds. New active engine mounts smooth out the powerplant's personality, while ride quality and body control have been enhanced with hydraulic suspension bushings, a reinforced rear subframe, and an enhanced air suspension system. Other electronic additions include blind-spot monitoring, high-beam assist, and collision mitigation.
With its big-eyed mug and hulking stance, the 2017 Bentley Mulsanne Speed seems like an unlikely candidate for a high-speed run. But the Bavarian countryside's natural grandeur and unrestricted stretches of autobahn make it an appropriately epic place to drive the latest iteration of this plus-sized sedan.
Climb inside a Mulsanne, and you're met with a herd of hides. From A-pillar to dashboard to transmission tunnel to headliner, there's an abundance of leather material. It takes 150 hours to stitch all those cowhides together, a testament to the amount of over-the-top attention to detail this flagship flaunts. Though Bentleys are conventionally considered drivers' cars (versus more backseat-focused Rolls-Royces), the rear perch is an inviting place to pile on the miles. Sure, the seats are cushy, but there's also no shortage of creature comforts for the rear passengers, from the aforementioned tablets and tray tables to the refrigerated bottle cooler which, for an extra $10,970, includes an electrically actuated sliding frosted glass door and a set of crystal tumblers or champagne flutes, depending on your beverage of choice. If you're lucky (i.e. wealthy) enough to score one of the 25 new-for-2017 Extended Wheelbase Mulsannes destined for the US, you'll get nearly 10 more inches of legroom, reclining seats that claim the longest extension in the business, and niceties like wireless trackpads to operate those now-out-of-reach tablets.Back in the driver's seat, the view over the massive bonnet is commanding, led by big analog gauges and a tachometer that runs counterclockwise. The tach doesn't spin much, though – after all, the expansive torque plateau starts at only 1,750 rpm, and the engine redlines at a mere 4,500. But there's never a lack of propulsive power. Just mash the right pedal and boom: Regardless of which of the ZF transmission's eight speeds are selected, the Mulsanne's forward path is immediate, transferring oceans of torque to the rear wheels and propelling the car forward effortlessly. It's easy to ignore the knurled and chromed stainless-steel paddle shifters because, between the low-revving eight-cylinder and the choice of gears, downshifts are usually redundant. The luxury of such a large-displacement engine coupled with the eight-speed is its ridiculous passing power; several times on the autobahn at triple-digit speeds we approached rapidly moving left-lane traffic, flashed them, and sped past like they were standing still, an unlikely visual for such a stately tourer.
The Mulsanne feels big-boned when the road gets twisty, though the Speed's tighter suspension takes the edge off the feeling of bulkiness. Hydraulic steering enables easy, precise direction changes when piloted briskly. But push it even faster and brake harder, and steering requires a bit more attention. This is, after all, a massive sedan that's been tuned for Teflon-smooth refinement, not sports-car-like performance. And then there's the silence, which has been noticeably improved for 2017. Bentley says that low-frequency rumbles were reduced by the suspension tweaks, and that up to 15 dB of engine noise were cut thanks to the new hydraulic mounts. The resulting reduction in road and drivetrain noise during development made the tires sound perceptibly louder, which led to Dunlop cutting 4 dB of tire noise by introducing a foam architecture to the rubber. The most extreme example of the silence/performance disparity is the Speed: With 811 lb-ft on tap and that eerily low noise level, the Mulsanne Speed easily overcomes its elephantine tonnage. Coupled with the insulated cabin, the sensation of speed feels akin to riding in the eerily well-insulated nose section of a Boeing 747 while wearing noise-cancelling headphones.
The Bentley Mulsanne has never pretended to be on the cutting edge of technology, though the newfound multimedia system and driver aids push it incrementally towards the 21st century. But the flying B's flagship doesn't need bells and whistles to maintain ultraluxury relevance; with its delightfully old-world interior and improved ride and sound insulation, the Mulsanne becomes more of what it was conceived to be: an imposing, seemingly unstoppable, but strangely discreet locomotive of a passenger car. There may be nimbler big sedans that can be had for a fraction of the cost (see top dogs from Audi, BMW, Cadillac, and Mercedes), but the Mulsanne sets itself apart for the sheer audacity of its vision, from the exquisiteness of its interior to its insistent thrust. Most will never see, smell, or touch this leather- and wood-lined interior (after all, only 200 or so Mulsannes make it to the US every year), but that also offers a sense of validation for Bentley's top-of-the-line sedan. In this case, rarity is a treat, one that inspires more attainable cars to become quicker, quieter, and ultimately more special.
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