You know it was only the other day that MotorMartin was worrying about the Bentley Mulsanne and it’s place out here in the modern world. So it was with great relief that the following news arrived soon after and MotorMartin’s fears for the future of the Mulsanne could be put to bed.
The reason? Well, news has arrived at MotorMartin Towers which finally confirms that Bentley is to be enhancing its new Mulsanne range at the Beijing Auto Show with the global debut of the highly exclusive Mulsanne First Edition. Thank goodness.
Handcrafted in Crewe, as expected, and featuring a suite of elegantly executed styling revisions, Bentley’s new pinnacle model range comprises the Mulsanne, the performance-focused Mulsanne Speed and ultra-luxurious Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase, with its enhanced rear passenger space and airline-style seats. Just 50 examples of the First Edition will be made available across the new three-model Mulsanne family so don’t hang around when making that all important decision to upgrade.
Of course, a bespoke Mulliner sterling silver vanity kit inlaid into the rear picnic table is available on the Mulsanne First Edition. The luxuriously weighted set – created by Asprey of London – includes a vanity mirror, hair brush and comb, all of which fit perfectly into a unique Mulliner-designed picnic table for discreet stowage and looks amazing.
As you can see, first Edition motifs are positioned throughout the cabin, including a unique diametric overlay on the rear seat picnic tables, special tread plates and Union Jack-inspired First Edition embroidery on the seats.
A true celebration of Bentley’s new flagship, each Mulsanne First Edition also features a specially engraved Bentley ‘Flying B’ bonnet ornament and can be specified with a champagne cooler, an option that will surely be ticked more often than not.
Bentley have informed MotorMartin that on display at the Beijing show, the Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase First Edition features a ripple-patterned Fulbeck veneer sourced from a 350-year-old English walnut tree. This extremely rare and sought-after wood fetched an undisclosed record price at auction, with Bentley able to acquire enough to create veneer panels for a small number of cars. All other Mulsanne First Edition models are available with a unique Antique Ash veneer and in MotorMartin’s opinion, will not be any less a car because of this. We are, after all, talking about minute degrees of excellence here.
The new Bentley Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase, MotorMartin has been told, offers a first-class air-travel experience for the road and is designed for customers with a preference for being chauffeured. Benefitting from an additional 250 mm of rear legroom, this significant increase in interior space makes the Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase the most generously proportioned pinnacle luxury limousine in the world.
Further enhancing this pinnacle interior space are new airline-style reclining seats with extending footrests and a rear compartment sunroof. The ability to sleep in the rear is assured thanks to rear compartment curtains, which in the First Edition are specified in a new Ivory colour to match the interior. These features combine to create a uniquely relaxing automotive environment.
But what passengers really want is their own bespoke tablet and guess what? Rear-seat passengers also benefit from the introduction of the Bentley Entertainment Tablet – a pair of 10.2” Android devices (with 4G, WiFi and Bluetooth) seamlessly integrated into the backs of the front seats. With typically exquisite attention to detail, a single touch of a button engages a beautifully weighted mechanism, smoothly deploying the screens from their stowed positions.
The Android-powered tablets, which feature a Bentley-specific interface, have access to over a million Android Apps – such as Skype, Google Play and Spotify – and can be used away from the car, in the office and at home. Each tablet has 32 GB of on-board storage (expandable to 128 GB via a Micro-SDXC card), USB ports and a front-facing camera. Audio can also be streamed through the vehicle speakers, and new destinations can be sent from the tablets to the Mulsanne’s navigation system. Internet browsing is via the car’s 4G WiFi system, permitting access to internet radio and local or streamed video. Good news indeed!
Wolfgang Dürheimer, chairman and chief executive of Bentley Motors, shared with MotorMartin that: “The Mulsanne is the epitome of Bentley’s DNA – exquisite, individual and powerful. It defines luxury in the automotive world and offers the unique Bentley blend of luxury and performance.”
Flying Spur V8 S – The Sporting Side of Luxury
Bentley have also revealed that they will also unveil their new Flying Spur V8 S in China for the first time. Sitting between the current Flying Spur V8 and the family flagship W12 model, the performance-focused V8 S develops 528 PS and 680 Nm.
Complementing this impressive performance, a new responsive suspension tuning for the Flying Spur V8 S improves handling and body control, while the aluminium double-wishbone front and trapezoidal multi-link rear self-levelling air suspension with continuous damping control ensure that the Flying Spur’s legendary refinement is maintained.
The exterior of the Flying Spur V8 S features dark and sporting revisions and in MotorMartin’s eyes, looks fantastic. Bentley’s iconic matrix grille is black as standard with an exclusive front bumper design which, along with optional dark-tint lamps front and rear and a Beluga gloss rear diffuser, gives the Flying Spur V8 S a dramatic on-road presence.
Inside the cabin, styling is precisely matched to the sportier exterior aesthetic and includes piano-black veneer, knurled gear knob and gearshift paddles and three-spoke sports steering wheel as standard.
Fortunately the Bentley has been tuned for power, Bentley’s renowned 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 S engine develops an additional 21 PS, developing 528 PS (521 bhp / 388 kW) compared to its V8 sibling’s 507 PS (500 bhp / 373 kW). A mighty 680 Nm (502 lb.ft) is on offer from 1,700 rpm. This powers the Flying Spur V8 S to 60 mph in 4.6 seconds, 0.3 seconds faster than the V8’s already impressive sprint time.
The V8 S has a top speed of 190 mph (306 km/h) with power delivered to the road via all-wheel drive with a 40:60 rear-biased torque split for sure-footed, engaging driving in all road and weather conditions.
Bentayga by Mulliner – A Vision in Veneer
As well as the above news, its good to know that Bentley haven’t forgotten about those folk that want a Bentayga but worry that it might just not be exclusive enough as Bentley have also unveiled, in Beijing, a one-of-a-kind version of the brand’s new, highly sought-after luxury SUV – the Bentayga by Mulliner, Bentley’s bespoke coachbuilding division.
This unique model features a remarkable veneer set depicting the mountain scenery that inspired the Bentayga’s name. More than 30 individual pieces made from 10 different veneers have been crafted and shaped to create a vivid, detailed mountainscape picture – a real showcase of the skill possessed by the Mulliner team in Crewe.
Bentley have shared with MotorMartin that, combining unparalleled luxury with sporting ability, off-road performance and everyday usability, the new Bentayga offers a true Bentley driving experience and as such, they are rightly proud of the latest edition to the range.
So thank you Bentley for putting MotorMartin’s mind at rest and well done for taking vehicles that are already luxurious in the extreme and somehow making them even more so.
Where will you go?