What do Mars and the new Bentley Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase have in common? They’ve both been papped by some of the world’s highest resolution cameras.
Why I hear you ask? Because Bentley has decided to use a camera with technology from NASA’s Mars Rover to photograph its new luxury saloon crossing California’s Golden Gate Bridge from 700 metres away. Still confused? Stay with me.
The final image, taken by ex-Autocar snapper Simon Stock, is so data heavy that it takes four hours to download and save on your average laptop. It features 53-billion pixels and is made using hundreds of high-resolution images and stitching them together to create one image. This picture is so large that if it were printed in Autocar in its full glory, the magazine page would have to be the size of a football pitch. Good luck squeezing that through your letterbox.
So what does this level of detail get you? Examine the picture in its entirety and the Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase looks tiny as it crosses the mile-long bridge. This in itself is amazing, given that this Mulsanne is more than 5.8 metres long.
Zoom in and suddenly the Bentley grows and grows, but amazingly that super high-resolution remains. The image is so high-res that you can zoom right in to the Mulsanne’s seats and clearly make out each of the 4500 stitches in the headrest’s Bentley logo. Amazing.
You might still be thinking so what? And to be honest, before I’d jumped into the back seat of a new Extended Wheelbase with Stock and looked at his photograph on an iPad while absorbing my surroundings, I was also a little underwhelmed. But two minutes into the drive I began to realise that this picture and its vast level of detail served as a perfect metaphor to demonstrate the intricate level of detail Bentley’s designers and craftsmen go into to create the finished product.
Did you know, for example, that the champagne glasses, housed in a beautifully finished case between the rear passengers, are made from hand blown glass and feature the design of the original 2011 Mulsanne’s wheels on their base? Or that Bentley worked tirelessly to allow the perfect level of noise from the car’s 6.75-litre V8 to penetrate into the cabin so passengers can feel relaxed but always aware of the potent powerhouse that lives up front?
The rear of the cabin features handcrafted veneer, metal, glass and leather, all hand fitted and stitched, and even the ashtrays in the doors feel like a product of quality. The rear seats can be adjusted in so many ways that you can be held in anything from a bolt upright office position to almost laying flat.
And then there’s the vast amount of customisation buyers can specify with their cars. No two cars are likely to be the same.
Of course, this level of detail and exclusivity comes at a price: £275,000. But if you’ve got the money, you just would, wouldn’t you?