“BEAT THAT” seems to be the challenge Bentley has set rivals with its latest creation: a high-performance version of its ultra-luxury Mulsanne with a top speed of 190mph and 0-62mph sprint time of 4.8 seconds.
Called the Mulsanne Speed, Bentley claims the £252,200-plus luxury express, which is powered by a huge 6.75-litre V8 engine tuned to produce 530bhp and 811lb ft torque, compared with the standard Mulsanne’s 505bhp and 752lb ft, is the fastest car in this “ultra-luxury” class.
The distinction is important since the Aston Martin Rapide which, with a price of £146,000 is around £100,000 cheaper than the Speed and therefore only a “luxury” car, achieves the same top speed, while trailing it by just a tenth of a second from 0-62mph. Likewise, the Mercedes S65 AMG L 585 auto can only consider itself a luxury car meaning that for the new Mulsanne Speed’s purposes, the Mercedes’s superior 0-62mph dash in 4.3 seconds is not relevant.
The Mulsanne’s true rival, the Rolls-Royce Phantom, manages 0-62mph in 5.9secs from a 453bhp V12 engine, but outright speed is not part of that car’s brief. The sportier Rolls-Royce Wraith, which costs £220,000 is more of a match for the Bentley, with a 0-62mph time of 4.6 seconds. However, unlike the Speed, the Wraith is a three-door coupé with much less rear cabin space.
The competition licked, at least on paper, the Bentley Speed builds on its achievement with a recalibrated gearbox, tuned to exploit the engine’s vast torque. It comes complete with a new “S” mode for quicker response from the twin turbos. There’s a new ride and handling mode, called Sport, for the air suspension, too, which stiffens the ride and sharpens the steering.
Outside, a dark tint finish to stainless steel components including the radiator grille, and inside, rich new cabin materials, complete the effect.
The Bentley Mulsanne Speed goes on sale following its debut at next month’s Paris motor show.