The Bentley Mulsanne is a car 80 years in the making. The last time the brand built a bespoke model from the ground up, W.O. Bentley was still on the payroll.

At the same time, the world was on the precipice of total financial ruin and Bentley itself was about to be bought by Rolls-Royce. While today’s backdrop bears some similarities to 1931, Bentley can at least now consider itself in good health.

The company has shown healthy post-recession growth, and under the guidance of new CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer the tectonically slow rotation of Crewe’s product renewal cycle is speeding up to include a much-anticipated SUV, allowing the Mulsanne to sit at the zenith of a larger line-up.

But for now it is for this flagship limousine to prove two things. First, that Volkswagen was right to allow Bentley sufficient freedom and scope to develop a unique £200,000 car at Crewe.

And second, that Bentley’s central offer – of effortless performance combined with hand-crafted luxury – still appeals in a market accustomed to high quality at a fraction of this price. To supplement the needs of those looking for more space there is an extended wheelbase Mulsanne and, in 2014 was joined by the more aggressively-styled Speed.

In 2016, the Mulsanne was facelifted with Bentley majoring on giving the big luxury car a fresh modern look, while empowering its technology to take the fight to the Rolls-Royce Phantom and the Mercedes-Mayback S 600.

Looking towards the future, there is talk that the Mulsanne could be in line to receive an all-electric powertrain as Bentley aim to reign in the emissions its luxury machines make, while their Marketing Manager was keen not to rule out talk of a convertible Mulsanne in the future.

Top 5 Super luxury

First drives

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales
  • Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150
    First Drive
    20 September 2016
    The Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150 makes perfect sense: it's spacious, tidy to drive for an SUV and cheap to run