Though most enthusiasts recognize recent Bentley models for their plush interiors and land barge-like footprints, the automaker has a long history in auto racing. The recent Continental GT3-R was just one model that harked back to Bentley’s racing roots, and now the British company has added a new model that is built for performance, the Mulsanne Speed.
The most noticeable difference from the base Mulsanne to the new Speed model is that Bentley retuned the 6.7-liter, twin-turbo V-8 to deliver a massive 530 horsepower and 811 pound-feet of torque. This output accounts for a 25-horsepower and 59-pound-feet increase over the base Mulsanne. This added power drops the Mulsanne Speeds 0-to-60-mph sprint to 4.8 seconds and raises the top speed to 190 mph.
This behemoth of an engine mates to an enhanced eight-speed auto transmission with flap-paddles for do-it-yourself shifting. Bentley meddled with the gearing of this transmission to enhance it for the Speed model, giving it instant access to the engine’s torque. New for the Speed model is an “S” mode that assures the engine speed is always above 2,000 rpm, so the turbos are primed and ready for the call of your right foot.
Additionally, the Mulsanne Speed retains the base Mulsanne’s recently improved fuel-economy numbers of 12 mpg city, 19 mpg highway and 14 mpg combined.
To help match the handling capacity of the new Mulsanne Speed with its straight-line performance numbers, Bentley retuned the suspension. Familiar on the Mulsanne Speed is Comfort Mode, which delivers a pillow-like ride buyers expect from a Mulsanne, but kick it in Sport Mode and things change. This new setting tightens up the air suspension to give the driver positive feedback and to prevent body roll.
Bentley didn’t stop at just upgrading the model’s performance as the Mulsanne Speed also gets some interior and exterior styling bits to set it apart. On the outside, it receives dark-tinted stainless-steel lower bumper grilles, wing vents and matrix grille, smoked headlights and taillights, Bentley’s first-ever directional 21-inch wheels, twin rifled exhaust exits, and four new colors (Spectre, Candy Red, Camel and Marlin). The cabin receives new stitch lines for the two-tone color splits, diamond-quilted door panels and seats, an indented leather headliner, embroidered Bentley emblems on the seats, coined-finish door handles, knurled gear shift handle, and drilled alloy pedals.
Look for the new Mulsanne Speed to arrive in the winter of 2014, following its Paris debut on October 2nd, 2014.