Adaptability is the Mulsanne’s biggest dynamic asset. Although it isn’t without flaw, that air suspension system allows this Bentley to play both the cosseting limousine and the involving and controlled sports saloon.
There are four positions to the car’s Drive Dynamics Control system. Comfort mode gives the most rolling refinement in town, and works well enough cross country if you’re content to make the relaxed progress with which many owners will be satisfied. Judging by the strictest standards, the suspension doesn’t quite deliver the soothing smoothness of a modern Rolls-Royce or a carefully equipped S-Class.
The Mulsanne’s ride is perfectly comfortable most of the time, but its chassis lacks the capacity to absorb the sharpest shocks in a way that the most refined limousines do.
If you’re in the driving seat, however, you can forgive the Mulsanne its minor shortcomings simply by selecting ‘Bentley’ mode on the rotary controller. Now the car’s steering gathers weight, its suspension programs itself for tighter body control, and you can have a great deal of fun guiding this substantial British aristocrat briskly along a flowing B-road. There’s remarkable accuracy and feel through the steering, plenty of composure from the chassis and, all the time, a reserve of 752lb ft of torque to tap into.
But, in firmer-still Sport mode, you can push too hard. Muted crashes through the chassis, and a building sense of reactiveness and imprecision from the steering, are the messages sent to warn that you’ve progressed beyond the car’s natural gait. And yet it’s remarkable how fast you can go on really testing roads before those messages materialise, and how satisfying a driver’s car the Mulsanne can be 98 per cent of the time.