editor’s note (06.29.2020): after more than 10 years and over 7,300 handcrafted models, the final example of the bentley mulsanne has been made. each car embodied bentley’s ability to produce the ultimate luxury sedan through historic yet progressive expertize and craftsmanship, as shown in our dedicated factory visit below. the end of an era marks a new chapter for the british brand, though, with the top-of-the-range flag passing from the mulsanne to the flying spur, which was launched in 2019.

 

 

in what marks the company’s centenary year, bentley has designed contemporary editions of it’s flagship mulsanne family of cars. comprising the mulsanne, the mulsanne speed and the mulsanne extended wheelbase, the elegant revisions combine state-of-the-art technology with the luxuriousness that is synonymous with the brand. for the occasion, designboom recently visited the crewe factory headquarters in england and got behind the wheel for an exclusive test drive of one of the new models. 

designboom test drives bentley's new mulsanne during crewe factory tour in england

designboom got behind the wheel for an exclusive test drive of one of the new models
all images © designboom unless otherwise stated

 

 

testament to the unrivaled quality that is put into each and every bentley, a total of only 2 vehicles are built per day in the crewe headquarters by a dedicated team of 702 employees. to create the mulsanne, the process begins in the ‘body in white’ workshop where the overall shape of the car is welded together by hand from 570 kg of steel and aluminium. realized by master metalworkers, the finished body appears completely smooth to the naked eye. from here, the fun starts, as clients can choose from bentley’s color palette or specify their own custom shade to paint the mulsanne, resulting in a bespoke model that perfectly fits the personality of the owner. 

designboom test drives bentley's new mulsanne during crewe factory tour in england
the interiors feature solid timber finishes that evoke a timeless luxury

 

 

the company’s commitment to high quality craftsmanship also extends into the interior of the mulsanne. once inside, clients are indulged in solid timber finishes that evoke a timeless luxury. using walnut, cherry or oak, the wood is hand-selected by bentley experts who travel all over the world to check every inch before harvesting for veneer. back in the crewe factory, the thin pieces are sanded down, lacquered and cured for 72 hours. they are then sanded again and polished before being fitted to the final interior.

designboom test drives bentley's new mulsanne during crewe factory tour in england
a total of only 2 vehicles are built per day in the crewe headquarters by a dedicated team of 702 employees

 

 

from the 400 hours it takes to build an entire bentley mulsanne, approximately 150 of those are dedicated to creating the leather interior. sourced from northern europe, each hide is thoroughly checked for imperfections before being precision cut by hand. going through a total of 3000 bull hides per week, bentley’s team carefully stitches the material together to form the sumptuous seats, doors and other elements that make the car world-renowned for attention to detail. and finally, as a mark of accountability and pride, each craftsperson even etches their initials into the inside of the upholstery.

designboom test drives bentley's new mulsanne during crewe factory tour in england
designboom’s editor-in-chief birgit lohmann visiting the bentley factory in crewe, cheshire, england

 

 

once each element is composed, the mulsanne is quality checked to the most rigorous standards. a series of tests are undertaken, starting with the car being meticulously checked over by eye against a 500-650 point checklist. the finished vehicle then undergoes a test drive around the factory to ensure the smoothest of rides. the car is also checked for water-tightness, examined under UV light, valeted, and inspected one final time under a light tunnel before being signed off to the client. 

designboom test drives bentley's new mulsanne during crewe factory tour in england
it takes 400 hours build an entire mulsanne

 

 

regarding the specification of the new mulsanne, this latest interpretation incorporates advanced chassis technologies and more efficient air springs and hydraulically-damped sub frame bushes to reduce noise within the cabin. additionally, the V8 engine is reduced in sound by 25 decibels and vibration has been minimized, resulting in a smoother ride. the exterior appearance of the mulsanne has also been given a modern update with an imposing front end that is dominated by a large stainless steel vertical-vane grille. inside, the interior displays the careful craftsmanship from the crewe factory. high-quality wood, leather and metal finishes are combined with redesigned seats, new door trims and armrests, and unique glass switchgear. 

designboom test drives bentley's new mulsanne during crewe factory tour in england
the car has a top speed of 190 mph (305 km/h) and can go from 0-100 km/h in just 4.9 seconds

 

 

catering for every kind of customer, the mulsanne speed brings bentley’s established luxury together with a high performance specification for those real petrolheads. featuring a more powerful engine, the car has a top speed of 190 mph (305 km/h) and can go from 0-100 km/h in just 4.9 seconds (0-60 mph in 4.8 seconds). the revised model also boasts 537 ps (530 bhp), 1,100 nm (811 lb.ft) of torque and selectable sports suspension to provide ultimate comfort while driving.

designboom test drives bentley's new mulsanne during crewe factory tour in england
the revised model also boasts 537 ps (530 bhp), 1,100 nm (811 lb.ft) of torque

 

 

and finally, designed for those who prefer to fully relax or work on the go, the mulsanne extended wheelbase provides the utmost in rear passenger comfort. envisioned to recreate the experience of flying first-class, the design features a legroom space lengthened by 250 mm and even airline-style electronic leg rests that are integrated into the bases of the two rear seats. the interior is also packed with practical features to allow working on the move. both rear seats can be specified with a deployable, folding table, while usb ports, cup holders and a glass-covered stowage area come as standard in a beautifully ornate console. 

 

 

designboom test drives bentley's new mulsanne during crewe factory tour in england

clients can choose from bentley’s color palette or specify their own custom shade to paint the mulsanne
image courtesy of bentley

designboom test drives bentley's new mulsanne during crewe factory tour in england
once each element is composed, the mulsanne is quality checked to the most rigorous standards

designboom test drives bentley's new mulsanne during crewe factory tour in england

the w12 engines are selected and installed by a small team of dedicated technicians
image courtesy of bentley

designboom test drives bentley's new mulsanne during crewe factory tour in england
this latest interpretation incorporates advanced chassis technologies

designboom test drives bentley's new mulsanne during crewe factory tour in england
the car being meticulously checked over by eye against a 500-650 point checklist

designboom test drives bentley's new mulsanne during crewe factory tour in england
the finished vehicle then undergoes a test drive around the factory

designboom test drives bentley's new mulsanne during crewe factory tour in england
bentley’s team carefully stitches materials together to form the sumptuous seats, doors and other elements

designboom test drives bentley's new mulsanne during crewe factory tour in england

the bentley factory uses a total of 3000 bull hides per week
image courtesy of bentley

designboom test drives bentley's new mulsanne during crewe factory tour in england
craftsmanship meets technology inside bentley’s factory

designboom test drives bentley's new mulsanne during crewe factory tour in england

150 hours are dedicated to creating the leather interior of each car
image courtesy of bentley

 

 

product info:

 

product names: the mulsanne, the mulsanne speed, the mulsanne extended wheelbase

brand: bentley