Club class

Macclesfield Express - - TVWEEK -

THE Mul­sanne model we first saw in 2010 was an im­por­tant car for Bent­ley, the first of the brand’s mod­ern-era cars that owed noth­ing to a Rolls Royce sib­ling or a Volk­swa­gen Group en­gine.

The Volk­swa­gen Groupowned com­pany re­sisted se­ri­ous pres­sure to wa­ter this car’s de­sign down with the plat­form of an Audi A8, de­ter­mined that, like the Bent­ley eight-litre of 1930, the last ‘proper’ fully Crewe-con­ceived rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the mar­que, this Mul­sanne’s de­sign should owe noth­ing to any lesser car.

So ev­ery­thing about this car is be­spoke, unique and very, very spe­cial. All of that re­mains with this re­vised, re-styled model.

Which is as it should be in a ve­hi­cle that may very well be the finest mo­tor­car that money can buy. that char­ac­ter­is­tic deep muf­fled V8 bur­ble very dif­fer­ent from the W12 unit that lesser Bent­leys bor­row from the old Volk­swa­gen Phaeton. The stan­dard and Ex­tended Wheel­base mod­els of­fer 512PS, while the Speed ver­sion boosts that to 537PS.

Ei­ther way, a car of this kind is de­fined not by its out­put but by the pulling power it can of­fer - as you re­alise very soon af­ter you bury your brogues into the deep pile car­pet and watch the hori­zon hurl it­self to­wards you.

Quite sim­ply, this Mul­sanne has an as­ton­ish­ing amount of it, one of the very few cars any­where in the world to of­fer four fig­ures of torque, 1020Nm to be pre­cise, even in the stan­dard ver­sion.

At first, you’re rather hes­i­tant to use all of this per­for­mance, but such fears are ground­less.

This is, af­ter all, a brand that has re­dis­cov­ered a mo­tor­sport her­itage that runs to no fewer than six Le Mans vic­to­ries. It’s even named af­ter the most fa­mous cor­ner at the clas­sic French track. It ought to be able to han­dle the twisty stuff in a way that would em­bar­rass a stately Rolls Royce. And it can. If you’re go­ing to spend the best part of a quar­ter of a mil­lion pounds on a lux­ury saloon, then you don’t want to blend into the back­ground.

Buy­ing some­thing bland like a Mercedes May­bach seems a bit point­less when you could achieve much the same ef­fect for a quar­ter of the cost in a 7 Se­ries, an S-Class or an Audi A8.

In the pic­tures, the Mul­sanne’s look still takes a bit of get­ting used to but in the metal, the Raul Pires-de­signed coachwork all be­gins to make more sense, de­rived as it is in style from the last ‘all-Bent­ley’ Bent­ley, the awe­some 8.0-litre model of 1930, as well as from the S-Type Bent­ley of the 1950s.

A suite of el­e­gantly ex­e­cuted styling re­vi­sions mark this re­vised Mul­sanne out from its pre­de­ces­sor. The en­tire front-end style of the car (for­ward of the A pil­lar) has been com­pletely re­designed.

If this fa­mous Bri­tish brand is to sur­vive, to be cred­i­ble, then it must make mod­els of this kind. The Mul­sanne is a car with a sense of oc­ca­sion, a beau­ti­ful thing to ride in that’s even bet­ter to drive.

Rolls Royce needs both its Phan­tom and its Ghost to ac­com­plish what Bent­ley does here with one sim­ple breath­tak­ing piece of en­gi­neer­ing.

It’s a state­ment of course - and one you’ll need to feel com­fort­able with in these dif­fi­cult times. But in mak­ing it, you’ll en­cour­age oth­ers to as­pire to the kind of ex­cel­lence that this car rep­re­sents.

At the wheel of one of these, they won’t be dis­ap­pointed.

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