The 2012 Bentley Mulsanne flagship is the company's first all-new car in more than half a century -- the first independently designed Bentley in more than 80 years, it replaces the decades-old Arnage and its antiquated 70s-vintage hardware. As expected from a luxury range-topper, the Mulsanne is hedonistic, pricey, and uncompromising in both comfort and performance.
With the 2012 Mulsanne returns Bentley's legendary 6.75-liter V-8 engine, this time attached to an eight-speed transmission. It produces gobs of power and torque (505 horsepower and 752 pound-feet of torque, respectively), but discreetly; owners will be hard-pressed to notice the engine's sound from the driver's seat. The interior is covered in leather and wood, and if luxury means customization then no worries: Potential owners have over 114 paint colors to choose from, along with 24 leather hides, nine wood finishes, and 21 carpet colors, with the additional option of custom colors if those aren't enough. Each 2012 Bentley Mulsanne takes more than two months to be built by hand.
The Mulsanne also comes with more technology than ever before, such as Bluetooth, a Naim premium sound system, and MP3 capability.
Body style: Sedan
Engine: 6.75-liter V-8
Transmission: eight-speed automatic
The last Bentley flagship, the Arnage, lasted 11 years, and was built on chassis mechanicals that were literally engineered decades ago. So if you're looking for a redesign this soon in the just-launched 2012 Bentley Mulsanne, don't hold your breath. Hand-built in Bentley's longstanding factory in Crewe, England, skilled craftsmen take nine weeks to assemble each car by hand, using traditional techniques to finish the wood veneers and craft the leather upholstery.
From the inset headlights with the inscription "Bentley Motors," to the LED taillights, the 2012 Bentley Mulsanne was designed to make an impression. The appearance of visible seams has been minimized to make the sedan look as though it was created from a single block. The narrow side headlights on the front seem like an afterthought, marring the still-beautiful Coke-bottle lines of the Mulsanne's profile.
Nearly half of the overall build process of a 2012 Bentley Mulsanne is devoted to the interior. The Bentley's steering wheel alone takes 15 hours to hand-stitch. Four-zone automatic climate control, auxiliary input, Bluetooth, satellite navigation, 60GB hard drive and MP3 connectivity are all standard, while a 20-speaker, 2200-watt Naim sound system can be optioned above the already-impressive 14-speaker system.
Performance & Handling
The 2012 Bentley Mulsanne's 6.75-liter twin turbo V-8 produces 505 horsepower and 752 pound-feet of torque, more than enough power for cross-continental touring. Helping make the Mulsanne a more manageable driver than its Arnage predecessor is a computer-controlled air suspension that has three settings varying stiffness and steering feel, as well as a fourth setting allowing the driver to customize dynamic settings.
Radar sensors on the 2012 Bentley Mulsanne warn of potential collisions visually or by tapping the brakes, optional rear and side-view cameras, optional adaptive cruise control can adjust the speed of the car down to a stop, steel monocoque body structure with front and rear energy-absorbing crumple zones.
EPA Fuel Economy
11 mpg city/18 mpg highway
- Interior craftsmanship
- Exterior presence
- Attention to detail
- Optional 2200-watt sound system
You Won't Like
- Questionable front end styling
- Sucks fuel like a vacuum cleaner
Old-world style, 21st century appeal
If You Like This Vehicle
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