2016 Bentley Mulsanne Speed
If you’re an automotive enthusiast, I know you are familiar with the concept of speed. If you’re a fan of sporting British cars, you may even be familiar with Bentley’s ultra-luxurious version of speed. Well, that clash of posh and performance happens in a way like never before in this Bentley Mulsanne Speed.
You might think that being a staid British brand with oodles of history, Bentley would refuse to change with the times, and you’d be very wrong. This 2016 Bentley Mulsanne Speed proves that they are moving the brand forward at a rapid pace, yet without leaving traditions behind.
This is of course, the bespoke Bentley chassis from Crewe that debuted for 2011, and shares little with parent Volkswagen unlike the rest of their lineup.
It’s very impressive what they were able to do with it. Sure it feels big, but not overly heavy, certainly not bloated, considering it is pushing 6,000 lbs. It’s a lot of mass, but with enough modern tweaking to not feel like a tank.
For this Speed version of the Mulsanne, the chassis’ air suspension gets a stiffer setting, as well as quicker steering. A custom mode allows for individual tailoring of all settings, as most Bentley customers are used to, I’m sure.
As for under the bonnet, the 530-horsepower coming from its 6.8-liter twin-turbo V8 is indeed impressive, but how about a “commoner kicking” 811 lb-ft. of torque? Output is bumped 22-horsepower and 59 lb-ft. due to reworking of the heads and a requisite software update.
An 8-speed automatic transmission with wheel mounted shift paddles is standard, but unlike Continental-based Bentleys this one is rear drive only.
The nostalgia theme plays a little heavier inside, where you can feel Bentley history oozing out of its hectares of well-treated calf skin and fine woodwork.
There remains plenty of traditional elements like the organ stops for the vents and an analog clock, but the overall ambience is more modern. And there’s certainly all of the latest tech gadgets like hideaway nav. screen, Naim for Bentley 2,200-watt audio, and a somewhat cumbersome central controller.
And in the back there’s even dual iPads with keyboards, television screens, and a refrigerated bottle cooler with frosted glass power door and yes, even Crystal champagne flutes.
The front center console is a bit control heavy, and the start button blends in a little too much. But it gives things a workman-like feel for that chauffer so he can do his business. Some of the controls and gauges are not obvious, but it helps if you enjoy bangers and mash or follow the goings-on in Parliament.
Front seats have great comfort, but extreme comfort is just the tip of the crystal-plated iceberg of what you’ll find in the rear.
But as nice as it is back there, this is still a car you should want to drive, and will very much enjoy doing so; as it has a sporting feel that you won’t find in a Rolls-Royce. There’s effortless streams of engine power, with shifts that are as smooth as the silk of a Burberry scarf.
Though the electronic shifter carries on the British tradition of dawdling between shifts as it’s in no particular hurry to deliver a gear when shuffling between drive and reverse.
Things are quiet inside, but not with bank vault levels of isolation, as some nice if raspy exhaust note seeps in occasionally.
As for standing out from the common Mulsanne’s seamless metal work and exquisite touches outside; the Sport brings dark finishes to the grilles, headlights, and tail lights. As well as unique 21-inch wheels and rifled exhaust tips similar to the rest of Bentley’s Speed lineup.
How the Speed translates at the track, those big turbos, haul this hulk to 60 in under 5.0-seconds. Through the cones, initially it feels almost athletic; but just as quickly as you get through the first few gates, the weight and heavy steering catch up with you, reminding you how big this car really is.
Clearly made for people who demand the best, and are willing to pay for it; the Mulsanne Speed starts at $341,325. Pricey options pushed our car over 400K.
Let’s give Bentley a lot of credit, they’ve been able to inject modern elements into the 2016 Mulsanne Speed without losing any of their brand’s character. In fact, we think recent Bentley’s are more in line with their sporting tradition than ever. The few who get to experience it daily are the lucky ones indeed.
- Engine: 6.8 liter
- Horsepower: 530
- Torque: 811 lb-ft.
- 0-60 mph: 4.8 seconds
2024 Chevrolet Corvette Z06
Bringing Supercar Performance To The Street…American Style
What happens when you let enthusiasts and engineers worry less about tradition and allow them to do what they do best? You get cars like this Chevrolet Corvette Z06. What happens when GM let’s us borrow one for a few days? That’s what we’re about to find out!
While the Z06 package first became an option for the Chevrolet Corvette back in 1963, it wasn’t until the C5 that it describe the ultimate track-focused ‘Vette. And while since then every Z06 has gotten more extreme, if we were plotting things out on a graph, this is where the line of performance progression goes from a steady incline to almost vertical. Yes, the latest C8 Z06 is all that.
It starts with a brand new LT6 5.5-liter DOHC V8 that outputs 670-horsepower and delivers 460 lb-ft. of torque. It sounds great too, the very aggressive nature of its flat-plane crank design has it sounding, and feeling like it’s trying to shake its way out of the engine bay unless you unleash some of its furry.
This dual-cammer featured a dry-sump design from the get-go and is more racing engine than souped-up small block, being developed originally for the C8.R race car.
It made short work of Roebling Road Raceway’s long front straight, able to reach 160 by the end of it. With Hellcats no longer rolling off the assembly line, this is easily our new favorite V8.
But, as you can imagine, Chevy has done much more than just plop a bigger motor into its rear-midship engine bay, which was easier to do since they didn’t have to worry about anyone seeing over it. They’ve addressed just about every part of the car to ensure it puts that power to best use for coming out of corners like few other cars on the street.
That includes upgrades for the short/long arm double wishbone suspension setup that can be further enhanced with an available Z07 Performance Package that adds more aggressive tuning for Magnetic Ride Control, and Michelin Sport Cup 2R tires. Which can be mounted on 20 and 21-inch carbon fiber wheels with carbon ceramic brakes nestled behind.
It all translated into more grip than a semi’s worth of industrial strength Velcro through Roebling’s 9-turns.
With Hellcats no longer rolling off the assembly line, this is easily our new favorite V8.
Like most Corvettes, the Z06 can be as wild or mild of an experience as you care to make it but will most likely be the fastest car to show up at most track days. Yet, the same magnetic dampers that void all body roll on the track, provide an almost plush ride quality for the drive home, though not quite as plush as the standard Corvette.
We’re struggling to find something non-fan boy to say; sure the 8-speed dual-clutch gearbox doesn’t deliver shifts with the brutality of some exotics, but really, they’re just as fast, and the shifts are much smoother.
Believe it or not, almost all the body is unique. So, rather than just tacking on some fender flares, Chevy made the entire car wider to cover the 345 rear tires, yet keep the same uniform look in place.
The optional Carbon Fiber Aero Package adds a front splitter, rocker extensions, front dive planes, and a huge rear wing. We’re not sure if the multi-level nature of that rear wing was done for functional or aesthetic reasons, but it doesn’t block your rearview, and that is much appreciated.
We always talk about torque being more important than horsepower when it comes to acceleration, and the Z06 works with almost 200 fewer lb-ft. of torque than horsepower, but you sure wouldn’t know it when you mash the throttle.
Easy to use programmable launch control allows you to dial in your preferred RPM for launching; we found 4,500 was just about perfect for Roebling’s front straight, allowing for just a tiny bit of slip before rocketing us to 60 on a 40 degree day in just 2.6-seconds.
Power continues to pour on hard as the engine quickly hits its 8,600 RPM redline, and gear changes happen often. The sound inside the cabin in intense, and when the ¼-mile came to an end in 10.7-seconds at 130 miles-per-hour, it felt like it was just getting started.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are a low 12-City, 19-Highway, and 14-Combined.
For the Z06 there are 3 LZ pricing points to land on, starting at $114,395; but you can go with the top-of-the-line Z06, add 50-grand worth of options, and still come out half the price of anything you can compare it to.
Call us home teamers all you want, but America’s only exotic does it yet again, not only is it the best Corvette ever, but it is also easily one of the greatest American cars of all time, arriving at a particularly poignant time culturally as we mourn the potential loss of internal combustion engines altogether. So, come for the spectacular engine and stay for the complete performance package, and experience, that is the Chevrolet Corvette Z06.
- Engine: 5.5-liter V8
- Horsepower: 670
- 0-60 mph: 2.6 seconds
- EPA: 12 City | 19 Highway | 14 Combined
- Transmission: 8-speed dual clutch auto
- Torque: 460 lb-ft.
- 1/4 Mile: 10.7-seconds at 130 mph