2017 Bentley MulsanneEnlarge Photo
Bentley prides itself on making the finest interiors in the automotive industry, and we find it hard to argue with that notion. The quality of the materials, the expert levels of craftsmanship, the beauty of the designs, and the care put into blocking noise, vibration and harshness make Bentley cabins quiet, cosseting, calming environments. And no Bentley has a better cabin than the 2017 Mulsanne, especially the new Extended Wheelbase model.
This level of luxury doesn't come cheap. The base price of a Mulsanne tops $300,000, and Bentley charges a pretty penny for many of its finer features. Here, we break down eight of the great interior features you'll find in the new Mulsanne, along with pricing for the optional features.
2017 Bentley Mulsanne, Bavarian press drive 2016Enlarge Photo
The wood. Oh, the wood.
Each of the 40 pieces of interior wood in the Mulsanne comes in as a block of walnut, cherry, or oak, and is C&C cut into the various shapes. It is then covered with one of 12 veneers. Only the most decorative portions of wood are used, those with attractive swirls or striations, and the wood is "book matched" so that the patterns match from side to side and front to back. Other automakers do a fine job of applying wood veneers, but the substrate underneath is plastic, not wood like in the Mulsanne. Bentley employs 167 wood "artisans," and it takes each of them four years to master the 17 processes involved in forming the wood.
2017 Bentley Mulsanne SpeedEnlarge Photo
The finest leather.
Every hide Bentley uses is individually inspected and uniquely cut to use only the most consistent, blemish-free portions. The Mulsanne interior requires the hides of 18 or 19 cows. The leather is soft, supple, and sewn into beautiful patterns. The diamond pattern shown here is from the Mulsanne Speed. Buyers can opt for 24 different hide colors. The seats are stitched, shaped, and finished by hand.
These air vent plungers.
Not many cars today have real metal components. But if it looks like metal in the Mulsanne, it is metal, or more precisely, polished stainless steel. These air vent plungers are nicely knurled, look great, feel substantial, and move with precision. They may seem like minor parts, but they show Bentley's attention to detail.
The refrigerated bottle cooler.
It's almost impossible to travel in a Mulsanne without a bottle of champagne. For a mere $10,970, you can get a refrigerated bottle cooler with a frosted glass door that holds a champagne bottle and three crystal champagne flutes. The jar of Grey Poupon is not included. Two other versions are available as well. One can hold two water bottles and tumblers, while the other accommodates spirit bottles, crystal glasses, and a Bentley hip flask.
The airline-style foldout tables.
Offered in the new Extended Wheelbase model is what we find to be the most impressive feature offered in the Mulsanne, the long console with twin deployable picnic tables. It'll cost you $12,670, but it's a work of mechanical art. It is made up of 761 pieces, and it includes springs and dampers to make the movements as elegant as possible. The mechanism is so sturdy that the outer portions of the tables can hold close to 90 pounds. The tables flip and fold so you can use them full or half length and they can be angled 20 degrees toward the passenger.