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The Bentley Mulsanne EWB is almost fit for a queen
NEVER mind the Kardashians, if you want to keep up with the Queen, you should drive (or be driven in) one of these. The Bentley Mulsanne EWB, a stretched version of the hallowed brand's flagship car, rolled into town last week so potential buyers could grab a sneak peek.
The EWB (Extended Wheelbase) is 250mm longer than the already lengthy Mulsanne, with the extra metal in the middle "entirely to the benefit of rear seat passenger legroom", according to Bentley.
The stretch to the Mulsanne's midsection created enough room in the back for reclining seats with optional fold-up foot rests. "We developed a seat in the rear that comes as close to a business class seat in a plane as possible," says Trevor Gay, the VIP and special sales manager for Bentley in the Middle East, Africa, India and Asia-Pacific markets.
The EWB has electric privacy curtains to keep prying eyes out, and can also be specified with such perks as a fold-up tray table (for finalising the paperwork on that merger or acquisition, presumably) and a refrigerated compartment (to hold the drinks with which you'll toast the deal you just signed).
In fact, just about anything is possible "as long as you have the time and the money", says Mr Gay. Potential customers are likely to at least have plenty of the latter. The extended wheelbase already adds significantly to the cost of what is not a cheap car to start with.
A standard Bentley Mulsanne is priced at around S$1.4 million without options or Certificate Of Entitlement, while the Mulsanne EWB goes for S$1.7 million and up. That puts it close to the pricing territory of the latest Rolls-Royce Phantom, which starts at just under S$1.9 million.
That uncomfortable proximity to a key rival might be why the flagship Bentley is relatively rare. Of the 10,552 cars Bentley built last year, just 595 were Mulsannes, down from 629 in 2016. Only around 15 per cent of Mulsanne sales are from EWB versions. (BMW Group, which owns Rolls-Royce, only says that the new Phantom has a "strong order book throughout the year".)
But Mr Gay says the Mulsanne EWB does have a specific market. "Basically, this car was for those clients that felt they wanted to be driven a lot of the time, but Bentley is very much a driver's car as well, so we wanted to produce a car that, if you wanted to drive it, you still could," he says.
The big Bentley has a 6.75-litre, twin-turbo V8 engine that produces 512 horsepower. It makes 1,020 Newton-metres of peak torque (or pulling power) - equal to the torque produced by two Lamborghini Huracan engines.
The vast amount of pulling power is meant to make the 2.7-tonne limo feel as if it accelerates effortlessly. "The torque on these cars is tremendous," says Mr Gay. Given enough space, the Mulsanne EWB can reach a fairly ridiculous 296km/h. "It's not safe to do that speed wherever you are in the world, but knowing that it's capable makes all the difference," he says.
If all that makes the Mulsanne EWB sound impressive enough for a head of state, it might be worth noting that the Bentley State Limousine, most recently seen in action ferrying the Her Majesty to her son's wedding, is more impressive still.
At 6,220mm, the Queen's Bentley is nearly 40cm longer than the stretched Mulsanne, to say nothing of its extra height, bulletproof glass and armour plating. But even if the Mulsanne EWB isn't quite a match for the royal Bentley, surely it's the next best thing for us commoners?
The extended wheelbase adds 250mm to the already lengthy Mulsanne, entirely for rear passengers. The stretch to the car created enough room in the back for reclining seats with optional fold-up foot rests.