The Bentley Mulsanne Speed looks like an ocean liner from the outside and a stately home on the inside, but don’t let that fool you— Adam Hay-nicholls proves that it’s actually a rocket ship
The Bentley Mulsanne Speed is part ocean liner, part stately home and part rocket ship
"Boss” is a slang term that means something is cool, impressive and in charge. Well, the Bentley Mulsanne is definitely boss. It seems to cruise with its own imaginary police escort. People respect it, envy it and get out of its way. And what makes the range-topping Mulsanne Speed the boss of bosses is its 530bhp V8. We’re talking absolute power here—no need for a boardroom vote, this car is an executive order on 21-inch wheels.
There’s nothing subtle about this car. Measuring more than 5.5 metres in length and 2.2 metres wide, and headed by a radiator that looks like a battering ram, it is an extremely commanding presence. The big circular lamps invoke memories of the great Le Mans-winning Bentleys of the 1920s, back when headlights needed to be the size of dustbin lids to see. These make the whole world illuminated. After such a bellicose front, the seamless lines roll backwards, elegantly over and around the huge cabin to form a svelte rear. It looks as solid and regal as a Bentley should.
Under that long bonnet hides the secret to its majesty. With 6.75 litres of V8, its torque figure is second only to the Bugatti Veyron. Despite its weight, it’ll out-sprint an Aston Martin Rapide. Put your foot down and the car immediately launches forward with the kind of gusto reserved for Cape Canaveral launches. This serene belle of the ball hitches up its gown to reveal legs like Usain Bolt. Zero to 100km/h takes just 4.9 seconds—and it’ll keep on going to 305km/h.
What’s perhaps most impressive about this car is that you don’t notice any of that. Hardly any engine noise enters the cabin, and there’s very little perception of speed as you glide along in those narcoleptically comfortable armchairs. All that energy and force disperses as you brush the brakes, the chassis unfazed as you throw it into a turn. There’s very little lurching or roll; it might look like an ocean liner, but it corners like a train.