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Bentley ramps up the luxury for revised 2016 Mulsanne range

Published: 23 February 2016

► Revamped Bentley Mulsanne range revealed
► New Extended wheelbase version offered
► All on display at the 2016 Geneva motor show 

Bentley has given its imperious Mulsanne a hefty revamp ahead of the 2016 Geneva motor show. The company’s updated the stately saloon’s styling and added new tech, while a new Extended Wheelbase model joins the existing Mulsanne and Mulsanne Speed variants.

Externally, all benefit from redesigned front ends. You'll still easily recognise them as Mulsannes but the lack of a central divider in the grille will distinguish the latest iterations. Bentley says that the new grille echoes past models, including the 8 Litre of 1930 and the R-Type Continental.

Similarly, revised front and rear bumpers serve to further differentiate the 2016 Mulsannes, as do more advanced adaptive all-LED headlamps. You'll spot myriad references to the Bentley logo, too, including signature B-shaped tail-lights and lower grille elements.

2016 Bentley Mulsanne

How has Bentley made it more upmarket inside?

You'll find the usual plush wood, leather and metal fittings in the Mulsanne’s cabin. Uplifting the Bentley's interior in an appropriate fashion, however, are new glass switchgear pieces, different door trims and updated armrests.

One of the more prominent updates is the adoption of a new touchscreen infotainment system, replacing the older, clunkier set-up. The new system features an 8in touchscreen display and a 60GB solid-state hard drive. Pleasingly, the analogue instrumentation for the driver remains.

There are still plenty of opportunities for customisation, thanks to a range of 24 leather colours, single or two-tone finishes, two types of seat and 13 types of veneer. There's a host of options, too, including a bespoke Naim audio system that packs 18 speakers and a 2200-watt amplifier. 

Buyers can additionally specify a new ‘Bentley Entertainment Tablet’. It's a 10.2in Android-based tablet, which mounts to the backs of the front seats, that offers access to a host of apps – including Spotify and Skype. 

2016 Bentley Mulsanne

There's a longer, more luxurious Mulsanne, too?

Bentley’s new Extended Wheelbase Mulsanne, which sits alongside the existing short-wheelbase Mulsanne and high-performance Mulsanne Speed, has been developed solely to deliver what the company calls a ‘first-class air-travel experience for the road’.

The longer Mulsanne features an extra 250mm between the wheels compared to the conventional cars, which is reputedly entirely to the benefit of the rear-seat passenger's legroom.

As well as increased rear room, it also benefits from separate airline-style seats with electrically stowed legrests and an ornate centre console, while optional folding tables serve to turn it into the mobile office that the top-level executive may require. 

2016 Bentley Mulsanne

Have there been any other changes to the Mulsanne range?

Mechanically, there have only been minor revisions. The 2016 Mulsanne gets active engine mounts and suspension bushes to improve the power delivery and ride, while the tyres have been altered to cut rolling noise by 4dBA.

The almighty twin-turbocharged 6.75-litre V8 still thunders out 505bhp and 752lb ft, all of which is sent to the rear wheels via an eight-speed ZF automatic. It's worth noting that it makes all of its 752lb ft, according to Bentley, from just off idle to the top of the rev range.

Consequently, despite weighing around 2.7 tonnes, the Mulsanne can sprint from 0-60mph in 5.1sec. If you've a stretch of Autobahn to hand it'll hit 184mph but it's unlikely you'll see anywhere near the claimed average of 19.3mpg or 342g/km of CO2 at those speeds.

The more powerful Mulsanne Speed, the V8 of which produces 530bhp and 811lb ft, gets a recalibrated ZF 8-speed gearbox to grant improved responses. It still dispatches the 0-60mph sprint in the same 4.8sec as the previous version, and will reach the same 190mph, however. There have also been minor cosmetic upgrades for this version as well, including a knurled gear lever. 

When can we see it in the metal?

The updated line-up will be on display at the 2016 Geneva motor show and deliveries of the new Mulsannes will begin in summer 2016. 

Official pricing has yet to be announced but expect the new SWB Mulsanne to cost in excess of £230,000, and the updated Mulsanne Speed to cost upwards of £250,000. No pricing has been given for the Extended Wheelbase Mulsanne, however. 

Read more of CAR’s 2016 Geneva motor show coverage here

Click here for CAR’s A-Z guide to the 2016 Geneva motor show

 

2016 Bentley Mulsanne

By Lewis Kingston

Formerly of this parish. Inveterate car buyer and seller; currently owner of a '68 Charger project car

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