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New Bentley Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification
The behemoth that is the Bentley Mulsanne isn't exactly the most obvious choice for a performance car, but that isn't about to stop the British luxury brand from unveiling a sporting variant called the Mulliner Driving Specification at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show in March.
Featuring unique 21-inch alloy wheels, 'Flying B' wing vents and a Sport setting for the suspension for the first time, the Mulliner Driving Specification is certainly going to make an impression - even if it doesn't get any upgrades in the raw power department.
How fast is the 2012 Bentley Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification?
With just the usual 512hp from Bentley's stately - but high-tech - 6.75-litre V8, the Mulliner Driving Specification will go 0-62mph in 5.3 seconds and hit a top speed of 186mph.
This is exactly the same as the standard car, right down to the eight-speed gearbox and the rear-wheel drive, so Bentley really is placing the emphasis on the handling to justify the difference.
Well, that and a few choice cosmetic enhancements...
What makes the 2012 Bentley Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification different?
The new Sport aspect of the chassis comes into play as a new setting for the Mulsanne's Drive Dynamics Control system. Operated via a rotary knob positioned next to the gear lever, the Sport setting makes changes to the adaptive systems under the big Bentley's skin to deliver a more focused drive.
To be specific, Bentley says it provides "enhanced grip, body control and steering accuracy without compromising ride comfort" - which will be some trick if it can pull it off. After all, the Mulsanne weighs no less than 2.6 tonnes.
How do I tell the difference between a Mulliner Driving Specification and a standard Bentley Mulsanne?
On the outside the new car should be easy to spot, thanks not only to the enormous 21-inch alloy wheels but also the new 'Flying B' vents, located at the bottom of the front wings just ahead of the door.
Finished in polished stainless steel - no lightweight aluminium here - these are engraved with the word Mulliner, and the flowing design is intended to produce an impression of speed.
The wheels, meanwhile, are a two-piece design unique to the Mulliner Driving Specification, and secured with race-derived titanium fasteners. There are painted and polished versions available.
What's special about the 2012 Mulliner Driving Specification's interior?
If you're lucky enough to find yourself on the inside, Bentley has developed a new version of the Diamond Quilting technique it usually reserves for its sportiest models.
A new "hide perforation process" allows the creation of special diamond-shaped perforations with non-perforated "tramlines" in between, leading to even greater precision during the hand-crafting of the interior.
In addition to this there are knurled or "coined" surface finishes on some of the metal controls, while the pedals are made from drilled aluminium with each raised grip individually polished.
There are special treadplate plaques on the driver and passenger door sills as well.
How much does the 2012 Bentley Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification cost?
Bentley is yet to reveal prices for the new Mulsanne Mulliner Driving Specification, but don't expect to see much change - if any - from £250,000. More details about this and the new model's availability are set to be confirmed at next month's Geneva Motor Show.
In other news, however, Bentley has also announced two new options for the entire Mulsanne range: a large electric sunroof and a two-bottle champagne cooler complete with three hand-blown, hand-cut lead crystal champagne flutes.
Well, if you could you would, wouldn't you? We'll have more details for you when the car is formally unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show on Tuesday, March 6th so please join us then.
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