2017 Bentley Mulsanne Preview: Live photos and video Page 2

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Long, longer, longest

With the 2017 model year, the Mulsanne lineup gets a mid-life stretch. The standard car carries over its profile; internally it's dubbed the Signature model. The higher-output Mulsanne Speed shares its body panels.

The new Extended Wheelbase model is just that, a Mulsanne sedan with 9.84 inches added at the rear doors to create a sumptuous back seat, one with airline-style seats and its own sunroof. Extended-wheelbase cars are easy to pick out, even without a standard car for comparison. They have a much more pronounced curve stamped ahead of the rear door handle.

For the crowd that is driven, the Mulsanne goes even further to accommodate. Details like curb weight and price are few--for security reasons?--but Bentley says it will build a longer-wheelbase Mulsanne with an extra 39.4 inches of metal implanted between the wheels. The very large back seat allows four back-seat passengers to face each other.

To coincide with the new variants, Bentley has revamped the front end of the Mulsanne, with new fenders, hood, headlamps and grilles, as well as updated fascias front and rear. The grille has prominent vertical ribs, and is 3.2 inches wider than before. On Speed models, the substrate of diamond-hatch grillework is tinted dark, giving it a more menacing effect. On all models, the lower grille is flanked by flying-B air intakes.

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The massive look is completed by LED headlights with washers embedded in the circular, LED-ringed outboard cut-outs. All four round lighting elements sit on a common level, which lends even more imposing visual mass to the front end. 

At the rear, the taillights are of the new flying-B variety, introduced on the Bentayga SUV. The rear bumper sits lower, with a stronger horizontal line.

With an interior that can take more than six full days to build, the Mulsanne has attention to detail that's usually left to milliners and cabinetmakers. The 2017 Mulsanne has new seats, quilted or fluted, your choice; reshaped armrests and door trim; and switches covered in a thin layer of glass.

Note: that's not the same glass as the champagne flutes offered as a rear-seat option in the Mulsanne. (The liquor cabinet? It replaces the rear-seat armrest, and is fitted with its own cut-crystal lowballs.)

The extended-wheelbase car throws all the luxury missiles it can at the Maybach and Phantom. It offers a choice of single- or two-tone interiors from a palette of 24 colors, which range from buff tones to tennis-ball-yellow or energy-drink orange (best used as highlights, say, inside the phone drawer on the center stack). Its seats recline and have extendable leg rests. Electric curtains close off the world outside, while a large sunroof for the rear seat opens up the cabin to the sky.

There's no shower stall back there. Not yet.

The most painstakingly detailed accoutrements live in the center console between the rear seats. They're twin fold-out tray tables, built from almost 600 individual pieces, measuring barely a foot wide and half a foot deep. Heavily chromed and faced in leather, they move with gorgeous mechanical heft, even tilt to hold a tablet computer.

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