The Mulsanne's body cloaks an entirely new chassis for a Bentley. It consists of double wishbones at the front and a multi-link system at the rear. The body is suspended via an adaptable air suspension system that allows the car to lower its ride height at speed and maintain good body control and level suspension irrespective of load.
The Mulsanne’s powertrain is a totally refreshed version of Bentley’s 6.75-litre twin-turbocharged V8, now producing 505bhp and 752lb ft of torque. Other engines were considered, Bentley says, but dismissed because they wouldn’t produce the effortless low-rev torque that owners of grand Bentleys expect.
However, the technical update includes variable phasing of the single camshaft, cylinder deactivation to make it a V4 under light load, and lightweight pistons, conrods and crankshaft. It's a direct descendant of the original Rolls-Royce Bentley V8 of 1959, but today's engine could idle on the old one's unburnt exhaust hydrocarbons alone.
The engine is partnered with the very latest eight-speed automatic gearbox from specialist ZF. Its use means Bentley’s flagship model has gone from four forward speeds (in the old Arnage Red Label) to twice that number in less than a decade.
Despite its bulk – an almost naval 2745kg, 160kg more than Bentley’s claim – our test Mulsanne recorded a 5.7sec two-way average sprint to 60mph and needed only 13.7sec to crack 100mph. That’s slightly slower than Bentley’s claims, and slower still than the Ghost, but it’s by no means slow in outright terms. This near-three-tonne limousine is still faster than our 2008 road test Mitsubishi Evo X.