by Karl Furlong
This year, the Bentley Mulsanne will bow out with a final edition model called the 6.75 Edition. It follows a period of dwindling sales as even the world's most well-heeled buyers turn to SUVs, including Bentley's own Bentayga. The Mulsanne Speed, a more powerful version of the regular Mulsanne, will also get the axe, so this is the last opportunity to take advantage of the only ultra-luxurious sedan in the world that cares as much about the driver as anyone occupying the back seat. The Rolls-Royce Phantom is the only other mega-luxury sedan beyond the $300,000 mark, but that car is more about being chauffeured around than doing the driving yourself. For its final run, the Mulsanne Speed continues with the long-running 6.75-liter V8 with 530 horsepower and a titanic 811 lb-ft of torque. It'll gracefully reach 60 mph in under five seconds while pampering its occupants in a fastidiously crafted cabin. The rapid performance hasn't affected the sublime ride, and each Mulsanne Speed can be customized to the buyer's exacting tastes. It's a car that will be sorely missed.
Unsurprisingly, Bentley has left the Mulsanne Speed unchanged, since the model line's production run will come to an end this year.
6.8-liter Twin-Turbo V8 Flex-fuel (FFV)
Like the Rolls-Royce Phantom, the Mulsanne Speed's vast proportions and blinged-up detailing reek of wealth. The shiny detailing stops short of coming across as brash, though. The lower bumper grille has a dark tint, as do the full LED headlights - these are among the changes made specifically to the Speed. Even the 21-inch Speed alloy wheels don't appear that large within the Mulsanne's large body. Rifled exhaust tailpipes and black-painted brake calipers finish off a styling job that pulls off the regal presence buyers at this price point demand.
At 219.5 inches in length, the Mulsanne Speed is an incredible 12 inches longer than a Mercedes-Benz S-Class. With the mirrors extended, it's 86.9 inches wide and the height is 60.08 inches. A 128.6-inch wheelbase is concealed beneath the striking body. With a curb weight of 5,919 pounds, the Mulsanne Speed is over 750 lbs heavier than the V12-engined BMW M760i xDrive.
If a choice of 25 standard colors isn't enough, you can delve into Bentley's online configurator and choose from over 100 unique shades. Essentially, there's something for everyone. More conservative shades include Anthracite, Onyx, Granite, Glacier White, Dove Grey, and Magnolia. We'd skip all of these and go for something more dramatic as the Speed is not about subtlety in any shape or form. Apple Green couldn't have been more aptly named, while Magenta, Candy Red, Azure Purple, and Monaco Yellow are just as difficult to ignore. A duo-tone range by Mulliner contrasts one color for the hood, roof, and trunk, with another color lower down - Onyx (black) over Dragon Red II is one striking example of this.
The regular Mulsanne isn't by any means slow and can accelerate to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. With its extra power and torque, the Mulsanne Speed shaves a few tenths off this time and will reach 60 mph in 4.8 seconds before topping out at 190 mph. In this state of tune, the 6.75-liter twin-turbo V8 manages 530 horsepower and 811 lb-ft of torque. Both BMW and Mercedes-Benz's top luxury sedans are much faster, but they also don't weigh nearly as much as the rear-wheel-drive Mulsanne Speed. The Rolls-Royce Ghost is a closer match for the Mulsanne Speed and will also get to 60 in just under five seconds. In a car such as this, though, on-paper figures pale in significance to the delivery of power; in this respect, the Mulsanne Speed's deceptively rapid ability to gather pace is perfectly in tune with its market positioning.
The Mulsanne Speed's 6.75-liter twin-turbo V8 engine is good for 530 hp and 811 lb-ft of torque, with respective increases of 24 hp/59 lb-ft compared with the regular Mulsanne. A reworked combustion system and an altered compression ratio are some of the modifications that have been employed to generate the extra grunt. An eight-speed automatic transmission is used and, like most other ZF units, the gear changes are hot-knife-through-butter smooth.
Don't let the Mulsanne Speed's sportier pretensions fool you, because this remains a luxury sedan before anything else. As a result, progress is always eerily tranquil, and small to medium throttle openings are all that's required most of the time, whether pulling away quickly or passing slower-moving traffic. An S mode is available, which keeps engine speeds above 2,000 rpm for faster reactions, but again, it's all beautifully cloaked in classic Bentley refinement.
The Mulsanne Speed's air suspension with continuous damping control provides the Bentley with a truly serene ride. It's easier to spot a bump in the road with the naked eye than to feel it through the absorbent suspension, so adept is this car at isolating its occupants. The effect is enhanced by the vault-like build quality, with wind/engine noise nearly absent and squeaks and rattles not a factor at all.
It doesn't fall apart in the twisties, either. The overall feel isn't drastically different from the regular Mulsanne, which means that a soft, secluded feel still dominates, but the steering wheel does actually feel connected to the front wheels; when in Sport mode, there is just enough weighting to the helm so that it feels like the car needs you there - unlike the Rolls-Royce Phantom, where the driver's presence almost seems optional. Most of the time, the 'Bentley' driving mode will suffice, striking the ideal balance between Comfort and Sport.
The brakes could do with a touch more bite, but they're also tasked with the enormous job of bringing nearly 6,000 lbs of car to a halt. So, a more deliberate stab of the pedal is sometimes needed to rein in the big Bentley.
The Mulsanne Speed's large 25.4-gallon gas tank is there for a reason because this big, heavy machine sure isn't thrifty. The official EPA estimates are 11/18/13 mpg on the city/highway/combined cycles, limiting the Bentley's range to 330 miles on a full tank.
It all comes together the moment you slip into the Mulsanne Speed's fantastic cabin. The diamond-quilted seats are both extremely comfortable and aesthetically pleasing, but even areas that aren't often touched like the lower dashboard and door panels are immaculately trimmed and assembled. A 4+1 seating configuration is standard, while stunning details like a knurled sports gear lever, stainless steel tread plates, and embroidered Bentley emblems in the headrests remind you that you're in something special. Four-zone climate control and power-adjustable front/rear seats are among the standard features, as is a central touchscreen for the infotainment system.
The Bentley's sheer size has another advantage in that the large doors make ingress and egress a graceful affair. Defined as a 4+1, a narrower rear seat at the back makes it possible to seat five, but the rear outboard seats are a lot more comfortable. Leg- and headroom are generous in both rows and drivers of all sizes get access to extensive electric adjustments to find the perfect seating position. As mentioned, the diamond-quilted leather seats are exquisitely trimmed and a trip to the airport in this car might leave you a bit disappointed with your business class ticket's accommodations. Adding to the decadence are rear seats that can recline and power-adjustable window shades.
Neat touches and quality materials cover every surface inside the Mulsanne Speed, from veneers like Burr Walnut and Dark Fiddleback Eucalyptus to the indented leather headlining, the alloy sports foot pedals, and the polished stainless steel tread plates. Bentley's range of 24 premium grade hide colors covers the full spectrum, from the conservative to some shockingly vibrant shades. Anthracite and Burnt Oak evoke a more somber feel, while the likes of Newmarket Tan, Fireglow, and Hotspur dramatically alter the ambiance. Five different color splits are available, with some allowing you to choose both a primary and secondary hide color. Contrast stitching, contrast hand-stitching, and even the type of emblem stitching are details that help explain why each Mulsanne takes in the region of 400 hours to build.
Measuring around 14.5 cubic feet, the massive Mulsanne Speed conceals a surprisingly small trunk. The humble Honda Civic sedan has the same-sized trunk despite being almost 37 inches shorter than the Bentley. For day-to-day duties, there will be enough space for shopping bags and the like; of course, a power trunk lid is standard.
Inside, the door pockets house integrated cupholders, there are map pockets on the front seatbacks, and a leather-lined slot in the dashboard's center section can accommodate a mobile phone. A center console provides added storage space. The really opulent storage options will cost you extra, though; a refrigerated bottle cooler and an illuminated cocktail cabinet are among these.
Despite the sky-high price, the Mulsanne Speed isn't fitted with every imaginable creature comfort. It's still got loads of equipment though, from four-zone automatic climate control to cruise control, push-button start, a garage door opener, a power-operated steering wheel column, a power trunk lid, power rear sun blinds, interior ambient lighting, and power-adjustable front/rear seats with heating. Additionally, the driver's seat and steering wheel are connected to a memory system to easily recall your favorite driving position. A rearview camera and park distance control are among the driver assistance features, but the likes of adaptive cruise control will require you to part with more cash. A refrigerated bottle cooler, ventilated seats with massage, veneered picnic tables, and Lambswool rugs are just a few of the many available extras.
The Mulsanne's eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system isn't at the cutting edge any longer, but it gets the job done and can be used to operate the standard navigation system, along with features like Apple CarPlay, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and data stored on the 60GB hard drive (with 20GB of storage capacity). My Bentley and Smart Remote apps make it easy to access important vehicle data and navigation information, and both apps can be used on either Android or Apple devices. A 14-speaker audio system is the default means of enjoying your favorite tunes, but a Naim for Bentley 20-speaker system can be specified instead. The rear-seat entertainment system is another option, adding two deployable 10.4-inch tablets to the rear seat area.
The Mulsanne Speed has been free of recalls over the last two years, but there were two issues for the 2018 model year. One was for an obstructed/delayed rearview camera, and another was for a rear seat belt buckle that could detach, increasing the risk of an injury in the event of an accident.
Bentley's warranty runs for only three years (including the powertrain) but there is no limitation on miles covered within this period.
Local authorities haven't gone through the arduous task of destroying a $300,000 luxury car, so no official safety ratings exist for the Mulsanne Speed. In the event of an accident, though, there are likely many worse places to be than inside the massive Mulsanne.
The Mulsanne Speed may be a luxury and craftsmanship benchmark, but it's rather off the pace in terms of standard safety gear. You do, of course, get essentials like eight airbags (including side curtain airbags), front and rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, automatic stability control, a hill holder function, tire pressure monitoring, and daytime running lights.
It's in the area of modern driver-assist technologies that the Mulsanne Speed falls short: adaptive cruise control and a corner-view camera are both optional extras, while lane keeping assist/lane departure warning aren't available at all. Blind spot monitoring and forward-collision warning are standard, however.
Right at the end of its life, the Mulsanne Speed has aged like fine wine. Full-size mega-luxury sedans like this one are fast falling out of favor in the market, and it's a shame: these sedans often seat just as many people as their SUV counterparts and, sitting lower to the ground, are more enjoyable to drive. The regal Mulsanne Speed also marks the departure of the 6.75-liter engine that has been in production in some form or another for over half a century. In the Speed, it waves goodbye in perhaps its finest iteration, with over 800 lb-ft of torque effortlessly whisking the heavy sedan down the road. One also can't help but love that at a price point where many owners prefer to be driven by someone else, Bentley built a car with a focus on the driver. The beautiful cabin and the smooth ride are other plus points. We'll miss the magnificent Mulsanne Speed and, if you can still get your hands on one, you won't be disappointed.
Nothing gets the message of the Mulsanne Speed's exclusivity across more than its MSRP of $342,300, and that's before taking into account added costs like tax, licensing, registration, and a destination charge of $2,725. With the ability to customize the Speed, the final price can soar beyond $400,000 easily.
The Mulsanne Speed is a standalone model within the Mulsanne range, mixing sportier trim with a more powerful version of the 6.75-liter twin-turbo V8 engine. Outputs are 530 hp and 811 lb-ft, and the V8 is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission that transfers grunt to the rear wheels.
Helping the Mulsanne Speed to turn heads are 21-inch alloy wheels, full LED headlights, and rifled exhaust tailpipes. The exterior brightwork is also darkened, a feature that's unique to the Speed. An immaculately appointed cabin with a 4+1 seating configuration awaits, and it's swathed in diamond-quilted hide in a choice of over 20 shades. Among the standard features are four-zone automatic climate control, power-adjustable front and rear seats, and a power-adjustable steering wheel column. Park distance control and a power trunk lid make life more convenient for the driver, while tasteful ambient lighting emphasizes the many luxurious design features of the cabin. The endless options list allows you to equip the Mulsanne Speed with massaging seats, Lambswool rugs, a refrigerated bottle cooler and a lot more.
Very few - if any - Mulsanne Speeds will ever be delivered without owners spending a fair amount of time (and plenty of money) adding to the base specification. Bentley is more than happy to oblige with an array of enticing add-ons.
The Comfort Specification (priced at over $5,000 last year) adds on ventilated/massaging seats, two loose cushions, and even footrests for the rear passengers. At $21,375, the Entertainment Specification replaces the standard audio system with a Naim for Bentley sound system, while also adding veneered picnic tables and two deployable 10.4-inch screens to the back. At over $7,000, the Speed Premier Specification includes two umbrellas, 21-inch Mulsanne Speed wheels in a dark tint or polished finish, and the Flying 'B' radiator mascot.
A raft of standalone features are available, too, from a refrigerated bottle cooler (yours for over $10,000) to adaptive cruise control, veneered door panels, ventilated front and rear seats, and Black or Ivory rear cabin curtains.
Usually, we're circumspect about the options we advise buyers to take and which ones to skip. In the case of the Mulsanne Speed, which already starts at well over $300,000, we're more inclined to go with whatever the heart wants. Adaptive cruise control seems necessary on a luxury sedan of this ilk, so we'd tick that box. We'd also want the best possible seats, so ventilated and massaging will go onto our list too, along with the Entertainment Specification for the ultimate in rear-seat nirvana. Of course, those champagne flutes and the refrigerated bottle holder complete the picture.
The Rolls-Royce Phantom stands alone as the ultimate mega-luxury sedan, but if any car could legitimately challenge the status and luxury of the Rolls, it's the Mulsanne. At over $100,000 dearer than the Mulsanne Speed, the Rolls-Royce's price alone sets it apart from virtually everything else on the road. The Rolls has the novelty of a magnificent V12 engine with over 560 hp and similar performance to the Mulsanne Speed, but while the Phantom is unmatched in its ability to glide down the road, the Speed sacrifices a little of this smoothness for a more involving driving experience. With its rear-hinged coach doors and probably the most revered automotive badge there is, the Phantom is hard to beat. But at over $100k less, the Mulsanne Speed is the only car that gets anywhere close.
At around half the price of the Mulsanne Speed, the Mercedes-Maybach plugs the gap between the likes of the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and the luxury sedan kings (the Mulsanne and the Rolls-Royce Ghost/Phantom). Being based on the regular S-Class is both a good and a bad thing for the Maybach, as it builds upon that car's magnificent cabin materials and truly special driving manners; on the downside, the Maybach doesn't feel as bespoke and exclusive as the Mulsanne Speed. You can get the Maybach with a sublime 621-hp V12 engine, though, giving it the ability to out-accelerate even the Mulsanne Speed. The German also exhibits surprising agility considering its bloated proportions. Although the Bentley's cabin is an extraordinary feat of style and quality, the Maybach's interior is just as meticulously crafted, and it also ships with far more standard features than the Mulsanne Speed. Logically, the Maybach S is simply more car for much less money, but the grand Mulsanne Speed still tugs at the heartstrings a bit harder.
Check out some informative Bentley Mulsanne Speed video reviews below.