Bentley Mulsanne Speed (Price, as tested, £315,385)

The Northern Echo:


IT'S luxury and power rolled into one for the price of a decent sized house


IF you want people to know you've made it in life, but also have as much taste as you do money then look no further than the big Bentley.

You could spend your cash on a Lambo or Fezza, but if you want to be a class apart - no pun intended - then the Mulsanne Speed should be your four-wheeled statement of choice.

Without the £66,000 worth of accoutrements added to our car, you can get a 'base' Mulsanne for just £252,000 or a week's wages for Manchester City star Kevin de Bruyne.

Whereas many motors of this ilk are designed for the owner to be driven in, Bentley say the Speed is for those who still want to get behind the wheel.

The Northern Echo:

Featuring a more powerful version of Bentley’s mighty six-and-three-quarter-litre twin-turbo V8 engine - 530bhp and 811lb/ft of torque - it can waft you from standstill to 60mph in 4.8 seconds and on to a far from legal top speed of 190mph.

Head on or viewed through a rear view mirror, it's as imposing a beast as they come, all grille and huge lights. But there is a certain majesty about its side profile, with its sweeping lines and delicate curves.

Offering what Bentley calls "the world’s fastest ultra-luxury driving experience", it has bespoke 21-ins hand-finished alloys and 'rifled' sports exhausts.

But don't think this is some brash posh boy's toy, far from it. This is a car befitting of the Bentley badge.

Push the accelerator down firmly and the bonnet rises up in front of you, like the bow of a ship. With a clear, relatively wide road, in front of you, progression is sublime, a pleasant bass note from the engine rising as the eight-speed automatic gearbox does its job with seamless precision.

While Bentley extols the driving virtues of the Mulsanne Speed, you would be wise not to get too carried away.

Drive it like you might a low down, two-seater or coupe and you could come a cropper, much better to progress swiftly, but serenely. That doesn't mean pottering along like the proverbial old man, no, more you should bear in mind that this is a car that tips the scales at 2,685kg and you might need to stop at some point.


AFTER getting inside - or should I say falling down into - the Mulsanne I was rather embarrassed to go back into my living room.

From the leather seating to the deep pile carpets, it offers the kind of comfort more readily associated with the likes of Barker and Stonehouse.

Knurled dials and retro clocks give an impression of splendour and the build quality is as solid as they come. The doors, as heavy as a bank vault's, only need a gentle push and then secure themselves.

The Northern Echo:

The touchscreen is tastefully small and while it does a lot of work, there is still a myriad of buttons and the like to get to grips with.

There's plenty of storage, a lot of which is intentionally hidden from view, such as below the control panel. There was even a fridge in the rear of ours which opened like something out of a James Bond movie.

A console in the rear enables the passenger to control many of the car's interior functions and, should you not want to be seen by the general public, there are blinds on the windows to create an air of mystery.


THE updated Speed gets a number of additions, including diamond-quilted seats, a knurled gear lever, drilled alloy sport pedals and optional carbon fibre waist rail inserts.

In terms of infotainment, there's an 8ins high-res touchscreen, 14 speaker sound system with iPod, MP3 connectivity, DAB or SDARS radio, six disc CD changer and DVD drive.

You also get LED adaptive main headlamps, LED signature daylight running lamps, LED main beam supplementation and LED rear lamps.

The Northern Echo:

Options are almost without parallel. Our car came with dual tone paint, hand cross stitching in Linen, Comfort specification, LED approach lamp by Milliner, Speed Premier specification, Bentley wing badge and chrome inlay strip to waistrails, deep pile Wilton carpet mats, twin illuminated fold down vanity mirrors and rear quarter vanity mirrors, refrigerated bottle cooler with frosted glass and bespoke crystal Champagne flutes, adaptive cruise control, vehicle tracking system, corner view camera, digital TV and radio tuner and Muliner dark tint serenity grille with painted radiator shell.


IF you have a huge sweep in drive, sizeable garage and are used to being dropped off at the door of swanky restaurants then it's as practical as they come.

However, if, like me you have to do the school run, pop to Aldi, drive to the football and take the kids to the beach then you might beg to differ.

In truth, I didn't have any major problems. Go shopping? Find an unused spot and take two spaces. Take the kids to school? Park half-a-mile away and get them class points by walking the rest of the way. No bother.

The Northern Echo:

Initially, I did have issues judging width and length, especially when it came to residential roads, but you soon get used to it and everyone else tends to keep out of your way anyway.

The boot is more than capable of holding a weekend's worth of luggage, equipped as it is with 443 litres of space.


BENTLEY say it should be possible to get 18.8mpg on the combined cycle. I managed a highly creditable 18mpg. CO2 emissions are 342g/km.


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