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First Drive: 2011 Bentley Mulsanne is modern luxury with a strong sense of history

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Filed under: Sedan, Bentley, UK, Reviews, Luxury

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2011 Bentley Mulsanne - click above for high-res image gallery

Contrary to what you might expect, successfully keeping tradition alive in the automotive world isn't just about periodically mining one's stylistic back catalog or simply refusing to change altogether. To convincingly abide by the spirit of one's history without running the risk of extinction, or worse - self-parody - requires stealthy innovation, and to do so is a decidedly tricky undertaking.

Just ask Bentley. The British automaker has a long history of artfully highlighting its considerable heritage, from the exploits of the fabulous Bentley Boys to the timeless craftsmanship employed in its interiors. And despite the upright look of its new flagship, the 2011 Mulsanne, much thought and effort has been exerted into making what is actually a very modern proposition seem... traditional. Accomplishing this in an authentic and timeless manner is particularly important for an automaker like Bentley. Given the rather lengthy model lifecycles that small-volume manufacturers are often forced to adopt, it's crucial to nail the entire package the first time. Follow the jump to see if they've managed the feat.



Photos by Chris Paukert / Copyright ©2009 Weblogs, Inc.

Continue reading First Drive: 2011 Bentley Mulsanne is modern luxury with a strong sense of history

First Drive: 2011 Bentley Mulsanne is modern luxury with a strong sense of history originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 24 May 2010 11:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Besides the outboard headlights which looks a bit odd, I really like this car. Inside and out it looks more more classy than the brick Phantom, very handsome, and with a lot more character.

What I really love about it though is the craftsmanship and the attention to detail that goes into building one. "...it takes upwards of 170 hours to fit a Mulsanne's interior..." I mean compare that with what is it, 9 hours or so to build a normal car? And that's just the interior.

And like I said, I think it looks far better inside and out than the Phantom.

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The headlights are quite handsome imho.

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Sorry- neither of these is impressive to me at even 1/4th the asking price.

The interiors are a huge let-down IMO, for $265K we should have a concept car interior, not flat, 1980's 'dashboards' completely lacking cohesive design, gauges plunked in willy-nilly. VW is still using the same steering wheel in the RR that Pontiac used in the mid 1970s. Where's the WOW ??

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I can't really get excited about the Bentley or the Roller. For a high end luxo sedan, I'd take the Aston Martin Rapide. For something more down-to-earth, maybe a Maserati Quattroporte or MB S63 AMG.

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Balthy, I'm not at all surprised you don't like it. :P

CSpec,To me the Phantom's interior looks blocky and thrown together...sort of like a kit car or something...the tolerances and simple shapes. To each their own.

I can't really get excited about the Bentley or the Roller. For a high end luxo sedan, I'd take the Aston Martin Rapide. For something more down-to-earth, maybe a Maserati Quattroporte or MB S63 AMG.

The Rapide is gorgeous, the others are meh to me though.

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Agreed- the RR is a block of wood- awful. Bentley is far more fluid but the details fall flat... and I'm still getting a Karmann-Ghia vibe from the rear quarters- not good.

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I'd lean toward the Bentley's interior, historically I'lve favored Bentley over Rolls. But on the exterior, there is something iconic about the Phantom's (or Ghost's) big radiator grille and spirit of ecstasy hood ornament. I know the Bentley is big, but I haven't seen it in person yet obviously. I've seen a Phantom a few times in person, it is a huge car, it has a lot of presence.

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Gorgeously stunning. I get the interior quibbles, but then, you can just hire another chauffeur if they decide to complain. :P

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