Bentley Mulsanne review - the ultimate in luxury? - Ride and handling
Can the world's most torque-rich production car reward its driver?
Ride and Handling
The Mulsanne is never really a car that shrinks around you, it’s just too big. Instead what it does is act like an insulating layer of comfort from the outside world, delivering sky-high levels of refinement and comfort. The fact its even slightly exciting to drive is merely a bonus in a car such as this.
Driving dynamics are divided up via a chrome-trimmed rotary dial positioned on the transmission tunnel. Bentley mode offers up a mix of sport and comfort and has been setup by the company’s engineers to give what they think is the best dynamic setup for all occassions.
Comfort softens off the air suspension and makes the Mulsanne as floaty as possible. Really this setting is best for motorway driving and little else, as any repeated undulations in the road will see the car struggling to settle down.
Sport, which can be found exclusively on the Speed, stiffens the chassis up and heightens steering response to make for a more engaging drive.
Ultimately the Mulsanne is at its best when left in Bentley mode. Here it delivers exemplary body control as well as a very neutral and cosseting drive. The Mulsanne feels balanced and has a strange ability to take on a nice flowing feel to it when driven at 7/10ths. Anymore and its sheer size rapidly catches up with it.
The steering is light, but not quite like that of a Rolls Royce Ghost. The Mulsanne offers a balance, at low speeds it is quick and light making the car surprisingly manoeuvrable, but push on and it weights up quickly. The lack of feel though the wheel doesn’t really instil confidence, but you’d be mad to properly push a 2685Kg car anyway.
Modulating the brake pedal is easy at slow speed, where the slightly over-servoed setup makes bringing the Mulsanne to a stop as smooth as possible quite easy. It’s when you start to lean on the 400mm front rotors and 6-piston callipers that it becomes more of a problem, as initial inputs translate to a slow and smooth response from the brakes, but really scrubbing speed off requires you to press down quite firm.
The Mulsanne definitely is more of a driver’s car than a Rolls Royce Ghost, but not by much. Enjoyment comes from staying firmly within the cars limits rather than trying to hustle or push the car, which quickly will reveal its weight. Still, it’s mighty impressive that Bentley could make anything even close to the sheer scale of a Mulsanne a remotely engaging drive.