When you think of luxury, you'd think Shangri-la or Ritz Carlton. In car terms, that would probably equate to Mercedes and BMW. But with Bentley, its on a whole new level. Its the St. Regis.
I recently managed to get a chance to view these two bucket loads of luxury at their official launch in Singapore at the Shangri-la hotel and boy did they ooze of class and panache. The Mulsanne, which was produced from 1982 to 1992 featured a full sized luxury sedan which was supposed to offer the unique blend of speed and agility of a Sports coupe, with the comfort of a proper Bentley. The name itself is derived from Bentley's 5 victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans between 1924 to 1930 - The 'Mulsanne Straight' is the stretch of the racecourse where the cars reach their top speed. So speed is essential in the new Mulsanne or the car wouldn't live up to its legacy. And I'm happy to say it doesn't disappoint. Though the car is almost 5.5m long, 2.2m wide and weighs the Moon, it would still go from 0-100km/h in 5.3s and reach a top speed of about 300km/h. All this speed and power is only possible with its 6.75l V8 twin turbo with something called cam phasing and variable displacement or whatever that is, (which makes it sound faster) that produces 505bhp @ 4200rpm. But here's the real party piece. You see, a 'normal' luxury saloon car, say a BMW 5 Series with 4 doors and a big boot, would produce around 300NM of torque. But in this, it produces 1020NM of torque at 1750rpm! I wouldn't be surprised to see a blown-out tire at the garage of its owner or two distinct holes in the ground the shape of semi-circles. That is just an immense amount of torque. And the interior is very spacious, comfortable and well equipped. Its just too bad I didn't get to sit in one that actually moved on the road because then I could start talking about how the suspension evens out the bumps or how the engine sounds. So on the whole. the new Mulsanne definitely looks and feels like what a proper Bentley should.
But what if you are the type of person who only likes to have luxury and speed, but only share it with one other person? Worry no more because the Bentley Continental Supersports is the perfect car for you. It is the most powerful, most extreme Bentley coupe ever made and it even runs on both petrol and biofuel using FlexFuel technology. It has a 6.0l W12 twin turbo engine which produces 621bhp and with 800NM of torque and 0-100 km/h is dealt with in 3.9s in a car that weighs 2.2 tons and its maximum speed is 329km/h. Quick car! And if you were there to see its brake discs, they were the size of a Nissan Latio's steering wheel.. And the Supersport scores in the looks department as well. The pristine shade of White on this body looks absolutely perfect for this car and the huge 20 inch black alloy rims announces to the world that it means business.
On to the interior. The Supersports is focused on being lighter than the Continental GT so the entire cabin is littered with carbon fibre trim. On the dash and everything. It is tastefully done with a matte finish and all the switches and buttons feels bespoke to this car. And though this is the most extreme Bently ever made, it still features equipment that you see in a luxury sedan like cruise control, an in-built phone and even a space in the back for your golf bag which is well protected by a carbon fibre beam which I presume is to stop it from rolling about. The seats are relatively hard but they offer great support and it feels like a glove to the body's contours.
Both of these machines are wonderful. They bring the unthinkable to reality and the level of luxury is suited for royalty. However, the thing that left a niggling feeling behind is that a Rolls Royce still is the ultimate luxury saloon in my opinion. Somehow, they just feel more special, the name and just the look of their cars would bring a sense of unparalleled royalty. The Bentleys are great cars, but I just feel that they aren't as special.