Debuting in Geneva, the 2017 Bentley Mulsanne lineup boasts a bolder look, enhanced handling, upgraded infotainment technology and a new Extended Wheelbase variant to complement the existing Mulsanne and Mulsanne Speed

models. These wide-ranging modifications inject more contemporary character to the automaker’s flagship sedan and are aimed at keeping it competitive with rivals like the Rolls-Royce Phantom and Mercedes-Maybach S-Class.

Smart new face

Save for the new Extended Wheelbase model that adds nearly 10 inches to the standard car’s 128.6-inches between the axles, the most obvious visual changes to all 2017 Mulsanne models are found up front. The entire clip forward of the A-pillar is new and with a cleaner, more assertive appearance featuring a larger grille using stainless-steel vertical vanes to recall those found on classic Bentleys. Full LED headlamps, flush-mounted in more expressively drawn fenders, flank the upper grille area while a prominent one-piece bumper carries larger lower intakes bookended by B-shaped bright accents – a design motif also reprised in the fender vents. The rear enjoys a similar albeit more subtle revamp, with a wider bumper and revised LED taillamps that also feature a stylized “B” shape. As before, the Speed variant has dark-tint trim among other bespoke cosmetic touches.

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Inside, the handcrafted interior of the 2017 Mulsanne gets adds visual appeal thanks to redesigned seats wrapped in fine leather offered in a choice of 24 colors, hand-selected wood veneers, new door panel/armrest trim and glass switchgear. The already roomy rear quarters is expanded in the Extended Wheelbase model that complements its 9.8 inches of added aft legroom with a pair of power-reclining individual seats that feature airline-style electrically activated leg rests. In addition to privacy curtains and a tilting/sliding rear sunroof, these seats are separated by fully functional console and can be ordered with deployable folding tables.

More entertainment

All of the new Mulsanne models are fitted with an all-new infotainment system offering state-of-the-art navigation and rear-seat entertainment. Up front, an 8.0-inch touchscreen with haptic controls mates with a 60GB hard drive to stow various media. The rear system introduces a pair of new Android-powered 10.2-inch tablets with 4G Wi-Fi that stow in the front seatbacks and also can be used to control the sound system – which once again can be upgrade to a 20-speaker/20-channel Naim for Bentley Premium Audio package that features an industry-leading 2,200 watts of power.

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The Mulsanne powertrains carry over intact for 2017, with the 6.75-liter twin turbo V8 making 505 horsepower in the Mulsanne/Extended Wheelbase and 530 horses in the Speed. The 8-speed ZF automatic has been recalibrated in the Speed model where the “S” mode will keep engine revs above 2,000 rpm to ensure quicker response from the turbochargers. The Mulsanne and Extended Wheelbase sprint from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds to a 184 mph top end, while the Speed needs just 4.8 ticks and hits 190 mph.

Greater refinement

The chassis hardware on all Mulsanne models has been revised for 2017, with the standard Continuous Damping Control air suspension now working with active engine mounts and chassis bushings to provide improved comfort and control.  Even the tires – 265/45 rubber on 20-inch alloys on Mulsanne/Extended Wheelbase and Speed-spec 265/40s on 21-inch rims --  incorporate the latest foam architecture noise-absorption technology that reduces cabin noise levels up to 4 dBA while enhancing ride refinement.

No word yet on official pricing for the 2017 Bentley Mulsanne family which will go on sale here later this year. But based on current sticker figures, we expect to see them range between $325,000-$425,000 before any options or Mulliner Specification extras.

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