It used to be that “hand-built” was a synonym for shoddy. Buyers of six-figure luxury cars would know that their vehicles had been assembled by a cast of artisans sharing centuries of experience, but they wouldn’t be too surprised if the clock fell out of the dashboard or wiring started to smolder under one of the seats.
Not so in the Mulsanne, a car that, better than any other, combines German exactitude with British craftsmanship. It also pulls off that neat trick of knowing how much is just short of too much, which is that finest of lines separating the outlandish from the ridiculous. Almost every square inch of the Mulsanne’s cabin is trimmed with something very expensive: the finest northern European hides, exotic bookmatched hardwoods, carpets thick enough to lose an ankle in. It should, by rights, look grotesque and be the sort of taste bomb that detonates when a Russian billionaire instructs Mansory to color-match his Lamborghini to his plaid golfing pants.
Yet it’s not. The Mulsanne feels expensive—hell, it is expensive, however rich you are—but also classy and elegant. And although most owners will experience it from the back seat, cocooned in almost womblike comfort, it has plenty to offer those who choose to give the chauffeur the occasional day off, from the cast-metal air vents to those upside-down instruments to the perfectly spaced stitching across the top of the dashboard.
Bentley says most Mulsanne owners have self-made fortunes, making them the sort of people who know exactly what they’re paying for.
Originally posted: 2015 Bentley Mulsanne