Bentley Mulsanne Speed 2015 review
Chris Riley road tests and reviews the 2015 Bentley Mulsanne Speed at its international launch.
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Get your cranium comfortable with those figures and you can appreciate the bottom line.
This is about as good as Benz gets. Yes, it is a classically stylish grand tourer, from the swoopy bonnet and concave sides to the scalloped passenger's dash and digitised displays.
The S63 coupe sits near the pinnacle of the Mercedes price pyramid
Behind the expected elegance lies some of the most advanced software ever kernelled into a car, from the lane-sensing steering of the adaptive cruise control to its ability to preset the suspension as the vehicle scans the road camber ahead.
The S63 coupe sits near the pinnacle of the Mercedes price pyramid, though you can wind the cost up another $90,000 by opting for the V12-powered S65 coupe. This is an investment in performance - computational and mechanical - that few can aspire to and epitomises the best of Benz's auto expertise.
The nature of an S-Class coupe - the owner tends to be behind the steering wheel rather than in the back seat - means the styling is intentionally more aggressive than the sedan.
As such the two-door is 90mm shorter, 85mm lower and the rear track has been widened by 12mm. The result means the side mirrors are the only exterior components shared with the sedan.
Inside there are lashings of leather wherever you rest your hands, seats you sit into and then electrically adjust to wrap around your body and a scalloped bite out of the passenger's dash creates an impression of massive space.
Rear space is down on the sedan but still more than enough to let adults use the back pews on occasion.
Inner city streets aren't the regular route for an S63 coupe but it copes admirably and the 11.6m turning circle isn't too cumbersome. It feels smaller than five metres from behind the wheel and the inclusion of a 360-degree camera, sensors and automatic parking are a boon when confined to cities. The only option I'd tick for urban duties would be the head-up display.
The biturbo V8 is content to rumble around in traffic, though low-speed downshifts can occasionally be clunky until the transmission has warmed up.
Outward vision is surprisingly good, though the long bonnet means the front sensors are a required item when first judging the distance between the nose and another car or wall.
Effortless interstate cruises are the S63's forte. Set the adaptive cruise control to the desired speed, keep your hands on the wheel and the coupe does the rest, scanning the lane markings to keep the Benz on the right path and adjusting its velocity to match the vehicles in front.
Decide to overtake and the AMG-engineered 5.5-litre V8 needs just a nudge with the right foot to engage both turbos and slingshot the car into clear space.
The "magic ride control" suspension acts like an air cushion in comfort mode, isolating the cabin from the vagaries of the road surface. Switch into sport and the dampers demonstrably firm up to keep the coupe flat through the corners.
In either mode the car scans the surface ahead and presets the suspension to deal with bumps or potholes. The calculations are amazingly complex; the ride control is astonishingly composed.
Buyers can also option a "splitview" system for the 12‒inch infotainment system that lets the passenger watch TVs or movies while the driver's view is restricted to car control interfaces or satnav.
I can't imagine too many people will take their S63 coupe to a track day. More fool them.
This is a big boy's toy, so take it out and play with it.
The Merc hits 100km/h around 4.2 seconds after launch but you've barely scratched the surface of the performance potential the V8 provides. This is a big boy's toy, so take it out and play with it.
The two-tonne mass means the brakes and tyres will take a pounding. So what - if you can afford the car, you also can to afford it a chance to show its capabilities.
The seven-speed auto has been worked to shift smoothly in normal driving - and then drive your shoulder blades deep into the seat padding when sports mode is engaged. It also liberates the active exhaust flaps, transforming the regular sonorous growl into a chest-thumping bellow of acoustic intimidation.
The S63 coupe is a dream car... and the steep price means most aspirants are dreaming. For those with the cash, owning the two-door Benz is living the dream.
|S500||4.7L, PULP, 9 SP AUTO||$198,440 – 228,140||2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2015 S500 Pricing and Specs|
|S65 AMG||6.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO||$276,210 – 317,460||2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2015 S65 AMG Pricing and Specs|
|S63 AMG Edition 1||5.5L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO||$242,550 – 278,850||2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2015 S63 AMG Edition 1 Pricing and Specs|
|S500 Edition 1||4.7L, PULP, 9 SP AUTO||$205,590 – 236,280||2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class 2015 S500 Edition 1 Pricing and Specs|