16 Sep
Crewe decides to go truly absurd with its latest flagship barge

In the opulently appointed world of Bentley Motors, the GT Continental has always been the bristling high-performance model. Its recently unveiled GT Speed is the most powerful and fastest Bentley ever built (626 horsepower/206 mph), while the GT3-R edition has been dubbed its quickest (0-60 mph in just 3.6 seconds).

So where does that leave the rest of Bentley’s Moët-fueled line-up?

This morning Bentley Motors announced it has applied its steroid program to its top-of-the-line flagship vehicle, the mansion-esque Mulsanne. The halo vehicle now also gets Bentley’s “Speed” moniker, and with it a 530 horsepower powerplant that’s nearly unequaled in the luxury barge market. Sure that falls significantly short of Mercedes-Benz’s cold-fusion powered, 621-horsepower S65 (disclaimer: it’s actually powered by a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter V12). But the engineers in Crewe chose to forego ludicrous horsepower output in favor of torque, that magical property that provides magnetic low-end pull. And in a giant, rolling land yacht crafted from wheels to moonroof to provide the apotheosis of luxury, torque and its mountain-moving take-off is where it’s at.

While Mercedes-Benz’s S65 boasts an eyebrow-raising 738 lb-ft of torque, the Mulsanne promises a truly ridiculous figure of 811 lb-ft. That is Monty Python-level absurd.

Hit the Jump to continue reading about the Bentley Mulsanne Speed…

“The new “S” mode will maintain engine speed so turbochargers are permanently set to deliver immediate performance…”

What is sort of surprising is that Bentley is generating all of that space shuttle torque from its 6.75-liter twin-turbo V8, and not its top-of-the-line V12. Considering peak torque is available at only 1,750 rpm, that means the gargantuan Mulsanne Speed should shred most muscle cars off the line (right now they’re estimating a 0-60 click of just 4.8 seconds), while its top speed of 190 mph exceeds the current Mulsanne’s 184 mph.

When the Bentley Mulsanne Speed debuts at the Paris Motor Show next month, it will also boast a selectable sports air suspension and steering on demand. Its recalibrated 8-speed automatic will also be optimized to handle the Speed’s higher wave of torque, and is engineered for instant delivery as soon as you step on the pedal: its new “S” mode will maintain engine speed above 2,000 rpm so the turbochargers are permanently set to deliver immediate performance.

Exterior modifications include a dark tint finish applied to the radiator grill, lower bumper grills, wing vents, headlights and taillights. Twin rifled exhaust pipes, polished stainless steel “Speed” badging, four new paint colors and Bentley’s first ever directional-style 21-inch wheels are also part of the package.

Bentley Motors’ 6.75-liter twin-turbo V8 with 811 lb-ft of torque…

Of course all of Bentley’s signature flourishes of über-luxury are also available, including a 60 GB on-board hard drive, electrically-operated rear tables (with recesses for iPads and matching keyboards), on-board Wi-Fi router, frosted glass bottle cooler (complete with bespoke crystal champagne flutes) and optional 2,200 watt Naim premium audio system.

Now the only question remains if Bentley nemesis Rolls-Royce — the only true competitor Bentley has in the market — will return the volley with some sort of super-powered Phantom. Even though the Wraith is the most driver-centric, “performance” vehicle Rolls-Royce has ever put out, they prefer not to make the driver do any work. So maybe all that torque would be pointless for the comfort-seeking Rolls-Royce driver. Guess we shall see…

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