For decades now Bentley has been a strong competitor to the likes of Rolls Royce. They offered machines like the Mulsanne that offered ultimate levels of comfort and luxury for the dignitaries, rulers and drug-lords of the world. But then Volkswagen rebadged the Phaeton to create the Continental and things changed forever. Bentley instantly swapped from a boring ho-hum brand of machines for the ultra-rich to a company that offered sporting luxury GT cars like Aston Martin and Maserati . Then Bentley went and made a faster, better version they dubbed Speed and it was good. Now Bentley is looking to once again inject a bit of speed and excitement into their lineup and they have made a new Speed version of the…
That is right, Bentley has taken its gigantic luxo-barge and crammed it full of engine and upgraded chassis bits to create the Mulsanne Speed. Despite record levels of power and performance for the brand, Bentley was smart to keep a rather subtle (or as subtle as a giant Bentley can be) exterior design.
Did Bentley just create the ultimate luxury sleeper? Read on to find out all the details and decide for yourself.
Click past the jump to read more about the Bentley Mulsanne Speed.
In our rendering, the Mulsanne Speed wears a splitter up front, side skirts, smoked headlamps with black inserts and a dark-black metal mesh grille. We also lowered its stance slightly and topped it off with a ’Speed’ badge on the side.
As with all cars of this level, the exterior design is quite restrained and clean considering its sporting intentions. From the old Mulsanne, Bentley has added a dark finish to the grilles that cover the nose, lower bumper vents and wing vents. If you have a very sharp eye, you will also notice that the headlamps and taillamps are tinted a bit darker as well.
One of the more noticeable changes for the new Bentley Mulsanne Speed include a new set of wheels. These new wheels are directional, a first for Bentley, and are “handed”; meaning they are set for one side of the car or the other. No left to right tire rotations here, folks. Expect them to cost a fortune to replace if you ever damage them. Each 21-inch roller is individually machined from solid forged blanks.
To round out the changes, Bentley has added some nice new rifled exhaust pipes for the upgraded engine and four new paint colors; Spectre, Candy Red, Camel and Marlin. The weird black/gold/green car we have here in our photos is the new Spectre paint.
|Wheelbase||3,266 mm / 128.6"|
|Overall length||5,575 mm / 219.5"|
|Width (across body)||1,926 mm / 75.8" (width with mirrors folded)|
|Width (inc. mirrors)||2,208 mm / 86.9"|
|Overall height||1,521 mm / 59.9"|
|Fuel tank||96 liters / 21.1 gallons / 25.4 US gallons|
|Boot volume||443 liters / 15.64 cu. ft|
|Kerb weight (EU)||2,685 kg / 5,919 lb|
|Gross vehicle weight||3,200 kg / 7,055 lb|
As car that is created just as much to be driven it as it is to drive, the interior got some extra special touches for this new Speed model. Again, this is still a fairly stately machine, so the changes that constitute the company’s “contemporary reinterpretation of the exquisite interior” are a bit silly. The largest change is a new unique color split for the two-toned interior and new stitch lines.
Seriously, a whole new sports model and they changed the stitching.
Bentley did also add a new “technical veneer” interior option, which is a set of Piano Black panels with carbon fiber inlays. Bentley was at least kind enough to dump all the extra Mulliner Driving Specification interior options into the mix free of charge. That little interior equipment bump nets buyers diamond quilting on the doors and seats, embroidered logos in all seats, knurling on the shift knob and drilled alloy sports pedals.
They do give buyers plenty of chances for customization though. There are 24 different interior color choices, ten different veneer colors and six different color splits.
On the technology front, Bentley provides a hard drive based infotainment system with 60 GB of storage space, electric seat-back tables for rear passengers and iPads with matching keyboards. There is Wi-Fi onboard, and of course the requisite frosted glass bottle cooler with matching crystal champagne glasses. If Music is your thing, there is an optional 2,200 watt Naim premium audio system.
Now we get to the fun stuff; the oily bits. Now technically Bentley is referring to this as a new engine, but it shares quite a bit with the old mill, including the iconic 6¾-liter displacement. Bentley started with the old motor as a base and then the completely redesigned the combustion chambers, inlet ports and fuel injectors while also adjusting the compression ratio. These changes combine with a variable valve timing and better boost control for the two turbochargers to create the torquiest engine to ever grace the nose of a Bentley. They claim there is a full 811 pound-feet of twist on tap. And you have access to all that power from a ridiculously low 1,750 rpm.
Horsepower is a slightly less impressive 530 ponies.
Thanks to all that grunt in the bottom end, Bentley claims the new Mulsanne Speed with complete the zero to 60 run in 4.8 seconds. Top speed is quoted as 190 mph. This is one fast machine.
To make the best use of all this new torque, the transmission has been completely recalibrated. There is also a new “S” mode that keeps the engine spinning above 2,000 rom at all times so the car constantly has boost built up in the turbochargers.
|Type||6.75-liter twin-turbocharged V8|
|Max Power||530 HP @ 4,200 RPM|
|Max Torque||811 LB-FT @ 1,750 RPM|
|Top speed||190 mph / 305 km/h|
|0-60 mph||4.8 secs|
|0-100 km/h||4.9 secs|
|0-100 mph||11.1 secs|
|0-160 km/h||11 secs|
More power is useless without a better chassis to make good use of it, so wisely Bentley made some modifications under the sheet metal to make the new Mulsanne Speed a little more nimble. A new Sport mode has been added to the air suspension that stiffens everything up for better responses and reduced body roll. The steering system is also adjusted for better feedback and accuracy. Bentley has also smartly added a Custom mode that allows for a combination of any level of the steering, chassis and engine tunes.
In the world of high-priced luxury cars, Bentley and Rolls-Royce really are in a class of their own. Part of that competition involves having models that line up against one another. In the case of the Mulsanne, Rolls-Royce’s answer is the Ghost Series II.
Introduced at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show , the Ghost Series II came with a series of upgrades to the model, including reshaped LED headlamps, revised bumpers and enlarged air intakes up front. Inside, the redesigned front and rear seats, and new veneers and chrome inserts are the most noticeable improvements to the Ghost Series II.
Power for the Ghost comes in the form of a twin-turbo, 6.6-liter, V-12 engine that pumps out 562 horsepower and 575 pound-feet of torque. These numbers allow the Ghost Series II to hit 60 mph in 4.7 seconds with a top speed of 155 mph.
If there’s any validity to rumors of a 200-mph top speed for the Mulsanne Speed, then Rolls-Royce will need to do some serious catching up to keep pace with its rival.
Gallery Rolls-Royce Ghost Series II
The 2015 Bentley Mulsanne is special for reasons that the 2013 and 2014 models are not. That’s because the luxury model received its first real facelift with the new model, boasting a performance improvement, a re-tuned chassis and some minor tweaks to its aesthetics.
Bentley has high expectations for its flagship model. Apart from the facelifted limousine version, the company is already working on coupe and cabriolet versions of the luxury car . Now you can add a more performance-oriented Mulsanne Speed into the mix.
Gallery Bentley Mulsanne
The new Mulsanne Speed is the answer to a question nobody ever asked. The market the Mulsanne is aimed at hardly has need for a “sporty” version of the car they are driven around in. A bigger engine and a tighter suspension is only a recipe for spilling champagne on the matching iPads and keyboards.
That said, there is a large movement in the ultra-rich to have chauffer cars that can be fun to drive from time to time and Bentley may be trying to jump into the market early. I do still think it is a pointless car, but it is all-powerful and I glad to live in a world where it can exist.
- Enough torque to turn the earth backwards
- Nice new paint colors
- Revised suspension tuning for crisper handling
- Still looks like a normal Mulsanne
- Horsepower seems low compared to competitors
- Will cost more than multiple houses
Bentley redefines the fastest ultra-luxury driving experience in the world with a new pinnacle flagship. The new Mulsanne Speed is tailored for the driver, with 537 PS (530 bhp / 395 kW), 1,100 Nm (811 lb.ft) and selectable sports suspension and steering on demand.
The reengineered powertrain, featuring Bentley’s mighty 6¾-litre twin-turbo V8, propels the Mulsanne Speed to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds (0‑100 km/h in 4.9 seconds) and on to a top speed of 190 mph (305 km/h). In modern Bentley tradition, the extra performance is matched by markedly improved efficiency; a 13% gain means a range extended by 50 miles (80 km).
New and contemporary styling features define the Mulsanne Speed as a statement in quintessential British luxury. On-board technology and connectivity are discreetly integrated beneath the finest materials, created with unrivalled craftsmanship and exquisite handcrafted details.
Chairman and Chief Executive of Bentley Motors, Wolfgang Dürheimer, comments:
“The new Mulsanne Speed is the car that defines Bentley, as a flagship for driving luxury performance. Our customers don’t compromise, and we’ve adopted the same approach in the design, engineering and crafting of our new flagship. The Mulsanne Speed is distinguished, calm and relaxing, but always with a connection to the road and relentless dynamic performance on demand. In this car, every journey becomes a drive.”
The Mulsanne Speed will be unveiled at the Paris Motor Show on Thursday 2nd October, and will be available for customer delivery this winter.
Torque pushed to record levels
At the heart of the Mulsanne Speed is Bentley’s iconic 6¾-litre twin-turbo V8 engine, which has been re-engineered for the Mulsanne Speed as well as the signature Mulsanne. A totally redesigned combustion system (including combustion chamber, inlet ports, fuel injectors, spark plugs, and compression ratio) promotes a much faster and more controlled combustion process. Through combining these advances with new variable valve timing and optimised turbocharger control, torque output of the engine has been pushed to record levels – 1,100 Nm (811 lb.ft) from 1,750 rpm.
The swell of torque from low engine speeds builds to a new peak power output of 537 PS, enough to drive the Mulsanne Speed to a top speed of 190 mph (305 km/h) – an unrivalled figure in the ultra-luxury sector. The 0‑60 mph sprint is covered in 4.8 seconds, with 0‑100 km/h taking just 4.9 seconds.
The new engine is paired with a recalibrated gearbox designed to enhance the driving experience of the Mulsanne Speed. The gear strategy is optimised for the new, higher wave of torque, and is designed for instant torque delivery on throttle application. The connection between the car and driver has been the focus, and extensive validation with both keen drivers and professional chauffeurs has proven the new setup. A new “S” mode gives the driver even more control, and maintains the engine speed above 2,000 rpm so that the turbochargers are always ready to deliver instantaneous performance.
An extensive recalibration of the engine management system has yielded benefits beyond increased torque and power. The cylinder deactivation system, that runs the engine as a V4 during light load, has been retuned for smoother transitions between V8 and V4 for even greater refinement. This work combines with a new gearbox control strategy and the engine hardware improvements to give a new level of efficiency for the Mulsanne engine.
Meeting the new EU6 emissions legislation, and designed to also meet the upcoming US LEV III standards in the future, the new powertrain records 342 g/km of CO2 on the NEDC drive cycle – a 13% improvement on the current Mulsanne. The ensuing fuel economy improvements have extended the fuel range of the new Mulsanne Speed by 50 miles (80 km).
A Chassis System Tailored to the Driver
To deploy the effortless power and acceleration on offer in the Mulsanne Speed, an even more driver-focused Sport suspension mode is included. While the Bentley and Comfort suspension modes provide a comfort-focused and fully compliant chassis setup, the Sport mode stiffens the all-round air suspension for improved body control and adjusts the steering dynamics for greater feedback and accuracy. The driver can also choose to individually match steering, chassis and engine tunes according to personal preference through the Custom setting.
Through this new setup, the Mulsanne Speed builds on the abilities of the signature Mulsanne model, being able to switch from a communicative and enjoyable car to drive at pace, to a relaxing, comfortable and exceptionally refined limousine.
An assertive exterior
The Mulsanne Speed reflects its ground-breaking performance with new and more assertive styling features that are marks of distinction for Bentley’s pinnacle flagship.
A dark tint finish is applied to the exterior stainless steel matrix grilles, in a process unique in the automotive industry, with the radiator grille, lower bumper grilles and wing vents all featuring this exquisite treatment. The distinctive headlights of the Mulsanne show the same dark tint application, and at the rear of the car the taillights retain the “floating ellipse” design, but are similarly finished with a dark tint for a striking appearance, especially at night.
The Mulsanne Speed introduces Bentley’s first ever directional style wheel, with a design that is handed for the right or left side of the car. The 21" wheels, available in painted, polished and dark tint with machined accent finishes, are individually machined from solid forged blanks, before being perfected by hand.
Twin rifled exhaust tailpipes are the finishing touch to the revised powertrain, while solid, polished stainless steel Speed badging adorns the front fender and door tread plate areas.
Four new exterior paint colours are introduced for the Mulsanne and Mulsanne Speed. These are:
Spectre: Seemingly black at first glance, heavy gold metallic and a hint of green result in a rich tone inspired by reptilian skin.
Candy Red: A rich and deep liquid red.
Camel: Reminiscent of golden sands, Camel has a bright metallic highlight with a butterscotch mid-tone.
Marlin: A rich blue with a hint of green, inspired by the shade of deep ocean waters and with a metallic shimmer.
The “standard” paint range covers 25 shades, including Marlin, while the optional extended range features over 100 colours. A fully bespoke paint-matching service is available on request.
A Cabin of Contemporary Luxury
The cabin of the Mulsanne Speed is a contemporary reinterpretation of the exquisite interior of the Bentley flagship. To create a modern two-tone feel, a new and unique colour split is available, with new stitch lines, that balances diamond quilted light-colour hide with darker, smooth hide. A new technical veneer option is available, with Piano Black veneer panels now including expertly handcrafted carbon fibre inlays. These new, contemporary panels have been especially developed for the Mulsanne Speed and match the rich, lustrous finish of the Piano Black veneer.
The Mulliner Driving Specification interior features are fitted as standard to the Mulsanne Speed, and includes:
Diamond quilted hide door panels and seats
Indented hide headlining
Embroidered Bentley emblems to all seats
A coined finish to interior door handles
Knurling to the sports gear lever and “organ stop” ventilation controls
Drilled alloy sports foot pedals
Customers choose from 24 different hide colours, in six different colour splits, and ten different veneers (seven as cost options) when specifying their Mulsanne Speed. Included in these ranges is a new hide colour, Camel (to match the new exterior paint of the same name) and a new veneer to the Mulsanne family, Tamo Ash.
Concealed Technology and Endless Customisation
Concealed beneath the exquisite materials that define the Mulsanne Speed cabin is a suite of technology to make any journey as productive or relaxing as one desires. A 60 GB on-board hard drive can store the driver’s collection of music and films. Electrically-operated tables, with recesses and connections for iPads and matching keyboards, can be fitted to the rear of the front seats, while on-board Wi-Fi through a dedicated router keeps the car connected to the outside world. A frosted glass bottle cooler, complete with bespoke crystal champagne flutes, may be installed behind the rear armrest. A 2,200 watt Naim for Bentley premium audio system expands on the standard 14-speaker system and offers the best in-car sound experience in the world. Entertainment on-the-move can be provided through the Rear Seat Entertainment system, including two 8” screens and Bluetooth headphones.
Signature Mulsanne updated for 2015
The signature Mulsanne ultra-luxury sedan has been updated for 2015, to complement the launch of the performance-focused Mulsanne Speed. The Mulsanne receives the same efficiency upgrade through new engine hardware, with its 512 PS (505 bhp), 1,020 Nm (752 lb.ft) 6¾-litre twin‑turbo V8 engine also now 13% more efficient. Changes have also been made to the gearbox calibration of the Mulsanne, focussing on smoother, relaxed gear changes that promote a comfortable and refined driving experience. New paint colours, hide and veneers options are also available across the Mulsanne family.