German tuner takes muted approach in giving Bentley’s luxo-limo a tuning upgrade

You’d be hard-pressed to find a tuner that has embraced the outlandish more times than Mansory. Run down its catalog of past of works and they’re all there for you to see. There are the Siracusa kits for the Ferraris, the Carbonado kits for the Lamborghinis, and while I’m at it, remember the Bentley Continental Vitesse Rose from 2009? Yikes. As colorful as Mansory’s tuning history is, we can all agree that it makes the kind of statements that very few of its peers in the tuning game are able to do. Which is why it is a bit disappointing to find out that its latest program – one for the Bentley Mulsanne – came with a headline that begins with “subtle modifications.”

The words “Mansory” and “subtle” should be mentioned in the same sentence about as often as the words “Reliant Robin” and “reliable” are. And yet, here we are, presenting a Mansory program for Bentley’s luxury limousine that doesn’t quite feel like something that the German tuner worked on its tuning laboratory. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of fancy carbon fiber bits and pieces here and there. It even has a notable power upgrade, which is rare in the aftermarket scene for a car as massive as the Mulsanne. But since this is Mansory we’re talking about, there’s a level of audacious expectation that has to be met, one that I this program wasn’t able to reach. I don’t think it’s a sign that the tuner is slowing down on the imagination aspect of the game, so it does make me wonder if this is Mansory’s way of showing a side of itself that we rarely get to see.

Continue after the jump to read more about the Bentley Mulsanne by Mansory.

Exterior

2017 Bentley Mulsanne by Mansory Exterior High Resolution
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I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve gotten used to a certain level of pomposity when it comes to Mansory. It’s been a hit or miss proposition for the tuner, and while I understand the risk of going a little too far on the aero bits with a car like the Mulsanne, the tuner seems to have been a little too cautious this time around.

2017 Bentley Mulsanne by Mansory Exterior High Resolution
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The exterior upgrades on the Bentley limousine are largely made up of an aerodynamic kit with a new front lip and air inlet covers fitted into the Mulsane’s front apron.

The exterior upgrades on the Bentley limousine are largely made up of an aerodynamic kit with a new front lip and air inlet covers fitted into the Mulsane’s front apron. New side skirts are also part of the program, as is the presence of a new rear lip spoiler and a diffuser insert in the back. The components are naturally made of carbon fiber, which should compensate for the absence of other parts in other sections of the car. In fact, the only other upgrade in this section of the Mulsanne is the new set of wheels that, in a word, are massive. These M8 light forged aluminum alloy wheels, as Mansory calls them, measure a gargantuan 22 inches and are wrapped in high-performance tires measuring 285/35ZR22 in the front and rear axles. Not quite what you expected from Mansory?

Plenty of other options available, including Bentley’s own Mulliner personalization division.

I can’t say this for certain, but I suspect that Mulliner is a big reason why aftermarket tuners rarely provide aesthetic upgrades for the Bentley Mulsanne. If you’re a customer who’s seeking one, wouldn’t Mulliner be your first choice? It’d be shocking if it weren’t, especially with the head-spinning number of customization options that are available for the limousine. Don’t believe me? Check these out past creations out.

One program that Mulliner worked on that still stands the test of time is the Mulsanne Birkin Limited Edition. Inspired by legendary racer Sir Henry Ralph Stanley "Tim" Birkin, this limited edition Mulsanne featured three different color options, including Ghost White, which is actually the only one of the three that I can properly identify. The other two colors – Damson and a combination of Fountain Blue and Dark Sapphire – are far more complicated for my head, which explains why they carry distinctive appeals in it of themselves.

2014 Bentley Mulsanne Birkin Limited Edition High Resolution Exterior
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Note: photo of the Bentley Mulsanne Birkin Limited Edition

If these color options don’t satisfy you, there is the inspiration-heavy Mulsanne Speed “Blue Train.” Yes, it was inspired by something from Bentley’s past, which in this case is the Calais-Mediterranee Express luxury train from 1930 that Le Mans-winner Woolf Barnato beat with his Bentley Speed Six. This particular creation didn’t have any fancy and exclusive colors, but its exterior did get some design nods from the train-beating Speed Six. The sedan’s front grille, for example, has a square mesh design like the one the original Speed Six had. It also has chrome grille surrounds and a vintage Bentley emblem that’s yet another nod to the past.

2015 Bentley Mulsanne Speed Blue Train By Mulliner
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Note: photo of the Bentley Mulsanne Speed Blue Train Limited Edition.

I suppose picking exterior upgrades on the Bentley Mulsanne can go in so many different directions. Others might prefer that unlimited options that Mulliner provides while others might lean more towards aerodynamic upgrades that aftermarket tuners like Mansory are likely more capable of offering. Then again, there’s no sin against getting both, right?

Interior

2017 Bentley Mulsanne High Resolution Interior
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Note: standard Mulsanne interior shown here.

The tuner didn’t specify what it can do to the Mulsanne’s cabin.

This is where it gets interesting. As fancy and as all-encompassing as Mulliner’s interior treatment for the Mulsanne can be, Mansory can be just as generous with its interior offerings. The tuner didn’t specify what it can do to the Mulsanne’s cabin, but it did say that it’s got enough carbon, brushed aluminum, piano surfaces, handcrafted embroidery, and premium leather and Alcantara materials to drown the luxury limo’s interior.

Mulliner has just as many

When it comes to interior customization, nobody does it quite like Mulliner. Bentley’s personalization division has proven as much time and time again. Take for example what it did to the Mulsanne Blue Train. Not only does the interior of the car feature a dashboard with a veneer image of the Speed Six driven by Carnet, it also comes with a personalized hamper trimmed in Burnt Oak and Camel hide, the same materials found on the interior of the Speed Six. And I for one don’t know why the interior also has Robbe & Berking silver plated cutlery, Haviland Limoges porcelain crockery, Linley crystal champagne flutes, and an Angora picnic rug. But they’re all there because Mulliner put them there.

If this kind of outlandish treatment isn’t to your liking, Mulliner can pivot and go a different direction, too. Want something clean and classy? Use the Mulsanne First Edition as an example because it’s as good a peg as anything Mulliner has created for the limousine. The brown and mocha motif dominates the cabin, but other features like the Union Jack-inspired First Edition embroidery on the seats, Union Jack emblem on the bespoke tread plates, and a ripple-patterned Fulbeck veneer sourced from a 350-year-old English walnut tree all fall under the category of quintessential Mulliner upgrades. Don’t hope for that veneer to be available anymore though because Bentley said it was only able to create enough veneer panels for a small number of cars, all of which are already accounted for.

2017 Bentley Mulsanne First Edition High Resolution Interior
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Note: interior photo of the Bentley Mulsanne First Edition.

Say what you will about Mansory and Mulliner’s ability to turn the interior of the Mulsanne into six-star hotels. The truth is that you can’t go wrong with either choice, leaving all of it entirely up to a specific customer’s whims and preferences.

Drivetrain

2017 Bentley Mulsanne by Mansory Exterior High Resolution
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Mansory’s penchant for driving up the power of the cars it builds programs for is common knowledge. After all, this is the same tuner that managed to get 800 horsepower and 642 pound-feet of torque out of the Ferrari 488 Spyder and a staggering 1,600 horsepower and 885 pound-feet of torque out of the Lamborghini Aventador. Expectations call for the Bentley Mulsanne to get a significant engine upgrade of its own, right?

Wrong.

It’s a surprising turn of events, but for once, Mansory doesn’t seem to have enough in the way of its engine upgrade to really separate itself from what Bentley already has. The tuner didn’t specify how it managed to get to its number, but it did say that with all the upgrades in tow, the Mulsanne will be capable of producing 585 horsepower and 811 pound-feet of torque. Do the numbers and that adds up to an extra 73 ponies and 49 pound-feet of twist. Doesn’t exactly approach the extra 900 horsepower and 211 pound-feet of torque that the Aventador got from the German tuner, does it?

It’s still extra power so that’s a credit to Mansory. It does, however, make me wonder if Mansory could’ve pushed for a higher number considering that the Mulsanne Speed isn’t that far off from what the Mansory-tuned Mulsanne is capable of.

Check out the tale of the tape below.

Model Horsepower Torque 0 to 62 MPH Top Speed Price
Bentley Mulsanne by Mansory 585 horsepower 811 pound-feet 5.0 seconds 190 mph $300,000 (excluding Mansory’s upgrade)
Bentley Mulsanne Speed 530 horsepower 811 pound-feet 4.9 seconds 190 mph $$338,325

Notice something there? The Mansory-tuned Bentley Mulsanne may have more than 50 horses over the range-topping Mulsanne Speed, but the torque numbers between the two models are identical. For a car as big as the 2.6-ton Mulsanne, torque is where it’s at really and the fact that Mansory wasn’t able to get its kit past what the Mulsanne Speed is capable of is a little troubling. Never mind the fact that even with the upgrades on the Mulsanne, the Speed variant is still 0.1 seconds faster to 62 mph while carrying the same amount of top speed.

There are still cases to be made for Mansory’s engine upgrade program. It’s just not what I expected it to be.

Pricing

2017 Bentley Mulsanne by Mansory Exterior High Resolution
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Yet another point of contention because Mansory has yet to release the pricing details for its Mulsanne program. We do know that the base model starts at around $300,000 so even if the whole Mansory kit costs a conservative $50,000, it’s going to be hard to justify going down this road as opposed to just buying the Mulsanne Speed and letting Mulliner do the rest.

References

2017 Bentley Mulsanne High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 Bentley Mulsanne.

Competition

Bamford X Bentley Mulsanne Speed by Mulliner

2017 Bamford X Bentley Mulliner Mulsanne Speed Exterior
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I purposely left out this piece of work from Mulliner because this is really what the personalization is capable of. The fact that it’s based on the Mulsanne Speed adds to its appeal and consequently, its status as a proper alternative to what Mansory is offering for the standard Mulsanne. Developed to celebrate Bentley’s partnership with Swiss watchmaker Bamford, Mulliner’s work stretches from the exterior where it used a process called Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD) to darken sections of the performance limousine that were normally polished in a stainless steel finish, including the ”Speed” wing vents to the badges on the hoof and trunk to Bentley’s matrix grille. Add these blacked out “Darkware” finishes with the Beluga Black exterior paint that Mulliner specifically chose for this one-off and you get the exterior upgrades. Inside, there’s more of the same Mulliner magic, most evident in the black and blue interior treatment that’s inspired by Bamford’s style and appeal.

Read the full review here.

Conclusion

2017 Bentley Mulsanne by Mansory Exterior High Resolution
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Mansory is one of the quintessential premium tuners in the business today. That reputation was well-earned. I just don’t think this Mulsanne program stands up to what the tuner is really capable of. I like the fact that there are some premium upgrades available, especially in the interior. But I expected more out of Mansory, especially for a car as complex and sophisticated as the Mulsanne.

There’s enough room to do something incredible here, but for some reason, the tuner played this one safe. It’s uncharacteristic of Mansory, but it is what it is. I’m just hoping that this particular kit is actually a preview of bigger and better things to come. Otherwise, this program doesn’t stack up against Mansory’s previous works.

  • Leave it
    • * Expected something better
    • * Not much in the way of performance upgrades
    • * Felt like Mansory left a lot on the table
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