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Regal Beauty

Regal Beauty

Issue 81 June 2011

Executed and built to the highest level of British craftsmanship, Fazeel Ashraf is astounded by the majesty of the Bentley Mulsanne.

 

For a motoring purist, it doesn’t get much better than the Bentley. Any model from the Bentley fleet invokes images of grandeur and austerity. It was in 1919 that W O Bentley first launched a car, wanting it to be the ‘best in its class’ and over 90 years later, it has been achieved yet again. Graced with the illustrious winged ‘B’ emblem, let me introduce you to the stunning Bentley Mulsanne.

Head on, the Mulsanne is immeasurably broad with its crisp angular lines; appearing intimidating and fierce. With humongous headlight clusters, finished off with the traditional flat-faced grill, it is clear that the Mulsanne was engineered to make a statement.

Shift your eyes towards the back of the car and it starts to soften ever so slightly, introducing some curvature into its shape and finishing with a rounded boot, reminiscent of the Bentley gifted to the Queen on her Jubilee. The Mulsanne has been created and built from the ground up; no parts were borrowed from the communal warehouse. The result is a truly immense, pure creation.


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Beneath the exquisitely executed body, lies a behemoth six and three quarter litre twin turbo engine. The bods at Crewe have been tinkering with this classic engine and the results are nothing short of magnificent. You can potter along and strain your ears as much as you like but you won’t hear a peep in the cabin.  Plant your foot all the way down into the thick woven carpets and you hear a distant, deep rumble emit from the rear. You instantly feel the car rise as you’re propelled into the horizon. It’s neither harsh nor abrupt but rather a refined force, if finely calculated. Your brain informs you that you are gaining speed at a ridiculous rate but the rest of your body refuses to feel or believe it. It’s only if you glance at the speedometer that you suddenly realise you’re travelling at speeds that are reserved for autobahns. The car has a phenomenal 752 lb ft of torque available from 1750 rpm at its disposal, which will bring up 60 in just over five seconds. Despite weighing well over two tonnes and being akin to a castle, the Mulsanne has the ability to hustle like a true thoroughbred. The sheer size takes some acclimatisation but with a little practice, you can guide the Mulsanne accurately and smoothly while even carrying some serious pace along taxing roads.

This car is defined in its details; just glance around the cabin and you realise every last millimetre of the interior has been executed to the highest level of British craftsmanship. It takes no less than seventeen hides of the softest leather to complete one Mulsanne; the hand-stitching on the steering wheel is reputed to take five hours alone. Each step of the process is finely scrutinised to ensure nothing is out of place. Highly polished veneer graces the interior, with black glass switches and chrome air vents. All the mod cons are discreetly housed, without corrupting the classical design, which is evidently completed to perfection. The rear space feels more jet-like than anything else, with masses of space for your passengers to enjoy.


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Parting with the best part of £220,000 means you don’t really worry about the Mulsanne only managing 15 miles to the gallon. Neither will you have to worry about the specifics; Bentley will make your Mulsanne in any colour you desire, even if you’re after that odd shade of mustard in your favourite work socks. If you’re after those remarkable massaging seats, with customised stitching in the leather for that extra wow-factor, it’s not a problem. What may be a problem, however, is the lack of boot space afforded by the Mulsanne, despite it being almost twice the size of the average car on the road. Yes, it can fit a few suitcases but if my wife had an afternoon in Harrods with a Centurion Card, she may end up having to call for a removal van; though that may be a greater weakness on my wife’s part, rather than the Mulsanne.

Whilst many would prefer to be chauffeured around on this super yacht of the motoring world, I much prefer driving it; it’s a driver’s car, made to be driven. Sitting in the cockpit, staring down at the long expanse of the bonnet, while the sun catches on the chrome-finished, winged ‘B’ emblem is quite surreal. It’s not that you have one of the most powerful saloon cars in the world at your disposal, nor that it costs more than an average house in the UK but rather the emotions it evokes. Playing some Beethoven through the 2200 watt Naim audio system suddenly seems so apt. The Mulsanne provides an air of serenity, through its indulgence of fine craftsmanship. It reminds you someone is still paying attention to the intricate details; that perfection is still being strived for. Maybe for some it’s extravagance too far, but could W O Bentley conclude this Mulsanne is the best in its class? Definitely.


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www.bentleymotors.com




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