The Bentley Mulsanne happens to be one of the costliest sedans to be found today. With a base price of $335,000, the Bentley Mulsanne is commonly added to many limousine fleets such as what is provided by Carolina Car Service, a luxury chauffeured vehicle agency based in North Carolina. This ultimate version of the Bentley owes its name to a small Central French community. Find out why this vehicle costs as much as it does, and why it is the ultimate choice for the elite.
Laborious process of production
A lot of workers are employed in the production of the giant flagship of Bentley, using polishing compound, sandpaper, sewing needles, wooden rasps and traditional metal files. Without the use of injection-molded plastic and robots, the use of old materials and methods pushes up the cost of this car. As many as 500 man-hours and 8 weeks are needed for the construction of a Bentley Mulsanne. The production process needs a careful use of soft automation and mostly manual labor. Only a small number of Mulsanne Bentleys, just around 1,000, are produced every year by the brand.
Unlike other cars, it is not stamped
The naked shell of the Bentley Mulsanne weighs around 1,300 pounds, and is made out of many aluminum and steel stampings The front fenders made of aluminum are drawn deeply, and stamped with a slow, costly technique known as super-elastic metal forming – where the aluminum sheet is warmed as much as to melt them and press them on the die. Mulsanne has as many as 6 super-elastic stampings.
The 10 seams of the Mulsanne are filled with bronze, progressively finer grit paper such as 600-grit paper is used to sand them by hand. Due to this reason, it needs as many as 500 hours to construct this car as compared to the 200 hours needed for building a Continental GT. As many as 80 – 90 hours are spent by workers on the body of Mulsanne.
Uses expensive leather
Even regular Mulsanne uses costly leather, and computer is used to scan each hide. Every hide is cut in a varied way, so that there is use of only flawless panels – free of any defect - during the stitching. The panels are inserted by hand through the machines. Even a diamond-pleat design is hand-stitched.
There is a character line in the body of Bentley Mulsanne that begins on the front fender with super-elastic stampings, moves across the aluminum door skins that are stamped regularly and finishes on the rear quarter-panel with stamped-steel. Aluminum, due to varied metallurgical properties, cannot be stamped with those sharp creases that can be rendered in steel. The shape of the line changes as it passes across various materials. Workers manually sand the car’s character line to resolve this issue and achieve an even shape. This problem is bypassed by other auto manufacturers by just choosing any shape that will work in the most crease-resistant material.
It is mainly hand-painted
Unlike in assembly plants where cars are produced in large numbers and robot-painted, the Mulsanne is primarily painted by hand. It is mostly hand-painted over a period of 5 days. Once the car is dip-cleaned and a primer is used to electro-coat it, the color coat is sprayed by painters. After an oven curing, all the crease lines of the body are taped and the entire body is sanded. A clear-coat is applied by the robots so as to get an even thickness, and the body is manually set once more. The clear-coat is sanded and polished to get rid of any orange peel. 6000-grit paper is used for the final sanding, which is more or less like using a damp sponge to rub the car. Then the car is evaluated under bright light, and all the small defects (if any) are revealed and individually dealt with.
Has a singular 6.75 L engine
The Mulsanne is powered by a low-volume engine, unlike a Volkswagen Group V-8 or W-12, and it is more expensive to make. The 6.75L V-8 engines are turbocharged and constructed in very small numbers every day, with every unit being assembled by just one builder.
Has more wood
The Mulsanne has solid walnut door waist-rails. There is use of wood, which is a hallmark of Bentley, and wood is cut, formed and finished with laser cutters, milling equipments that are regulated by computer, and robotic sprayers. The final finish, however, is ultimately done by workers with the help of big polishing and sanding belts.
Unlimited number of options
There are many options as far as the Mulsanne is concerned, and there are almost no “standard” Mulsanne versions. About each option that exists in the market is luxurious, such as the Mulsanne 95th Anniversary Edition that is of cream color, and has red-accented leather with a unique blonde walnut trim. There is the Mulsanne Majestic which is black/burgundy in hue and has badges and an extra wood trim. The interior is exotic red. The details make the Bentley Mulsanne worth the expense.