Bentley Mulsanne EWB

Bentley Mulsanne EWB, side static
Bentley Mulsanne EWB, rear static
Bentley Mulsanne EWB, side static 2
Bentley Mulsanne EWB, front static 2
Bentley Mulsanne EWB, front static
Bentley Mulsanne EWB, dashboard
Bentley Mulsanne EWB, dash detail
Bentley Mulsanne EWB, engine
Bentley Mulsanne EWB, rear seats 2
Bentley Mulsanne EWB, rear seats 3
Bentley Mulsanne EWB, front seats
Bentley Mulsanne EWB, boot

KEEP just one thought in mind when you go shopping for your new Bentley - does it make you feel special? Very special indeed?

If the answer is a resounding 'yes' you will happily ask your people in the City to pop £279,100 into Bentley's account on your behalf and spend quality time getting to know the new motor.

Where time in the rear will promote more smiles than sitting behind the wheel; this is a big car stretched still further in Extended Wheelbase form to realise the sort of legroom in the back that usually only comes with a first class flight ticket.

You and your lucky rear compartment companion will relax on softly leathered seats that recline, massage and heat or cool at the press or twist of a series of expensively chromed buttons.

There's more; leg rests move silently to support your weary limbs, a loose bolster cushion is on hand to help you find that perfectly relaxed position while you enjoy something entertaining on the big screen that slips upward from the back of the seat in front of you.

Then power close the curtains on the side and rear windows and you'll be surrounded by leather and wood veneer that you know have absorbed countless hours of expensive craftsmanship on a glacially slow production line in Crewe.

If all the above floats your boat and you have both the funds and need of a huge car that announces your arrival in semi-royal fashion, then you've found the machine of your dreams.

It is also a very fast dream; pulled along to more than 180mph by an engine that while barely turning over at the legal motorway limit will still miss hitting 20mpg in daily use and sounds like a distant explosion starting up on a cold morning.

And now things get a bit more complicated still. By the time you reach the pricing stratosphere of a Bentley the notion of value for money has long gone out of its smoothly lowering windows, but still...

You can have a heated steering wheel on a Ford Focus but the Mulsanne's driver must remain forever cold-palmed unless more cash is found.

You'll also search in vain for a cruise control that adapts its speed to the vehicle ahead (like a Suzuki Vitara will) and helps the car move off by itself in town traffic (like a Volvo does).

You could, though, sip some champers from the crystal flutes revealed in the refrigerated bottle cooler between the rear seats, and for just £8,310 extra, while listening to your favourite tunes on a sound system that adds a mighty £15,790 to the bottom line.

That's more than the cost of an entire Audi A1 and emphasises the gulf between those few people with the funds for a car like the Bentley and the rest of us - they just think in a different way.

FAST FACTS

Bentley Mulsanne EWB

Price: £279,100

Mechanical: 505bhp, 6,752cc, 8cyl petrol engine driving rear wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 184mph

0-62mph: 5.3 seconds

Combined MPG: 18.8

Insurance Group: 50

C02 emissions: 342g/km

Bik rating: 37%

Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles

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