2016 Bentley Mulsanne Speed

2016 Bentley Mulsanne Speed

Episode 3439 , Episode 3453
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

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.    

Specifications

  • Engine: 6.8 liter
  • Horsepower: 530
  • Torque: 811 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 4.8 seconds
2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Front

2024 Subaru Solterra

The Solterra Gets Subaru Into The EV Game

Episode 4339
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

You could say that Subaru is one of the more conservative brands out there. So, it’s no surprise it took them a little longer than most to venture into pure EV territory. But now that they’ve staked a claim with this Solterra, it’s time for us to see if Subaru buyers should plug in.

The Subaru Solterra is indeed the brand’s first full battery-electric vehicle; and while it took partnering with Toyota to make it happen, as we’ve seen with the BRZ and GR86 sport coupes, that partnership can lead to some great things.

So, we’ll start there; the Solterra’s counterpart is the Toyota bZ4X, and they do share most powertrain elements, specs, and features; but Subaru has done a few things to establish some unique vibes for their brand. That starts with the drivetrain, as all-wheel drive is standard here as in most Subarus, and in similar tradition, power won’t overwhelm you, it’s more safe and familiar feeling than overpowering as some EVs can be. Called StarDrive, this Subaru’s dual-motor setup rates 215 horsepower and 249 lb-ft of torque. Subaru loves to tout that their drivers are second only to Jeep owners when it comes to venturing off pavement, so capability is a must.

2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Front
2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Front
2024 Subaru Solterra Headlight
2024 Subaru Solterra Front Emblem
2024 Subaru Solterra Wheel
2024 Subaru Solterra Profile
2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Rear
2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Rear
2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Detail
2024 Subaru Solterra Badge
2024 Subaru Solterra Charge Port
2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Front2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Front2024 Subaru Solterra Headlight2024 Subaru Solterra Front Emblem2024 Subaru Solterra Wheel2024 Subaru Solterra Profile2024 Subaru Solterra Dead Rear2024 Subaru Solterra 3/4 Rear2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Detail2024 Subaru Solterra Badge2024 Subaru Solterra Charge Port

We did find Solterra as competent as every other Subaru. Their X-Mode has been programmed to work seamlessly with the electric motors, and its 8.3 inches of ground clearance is higher than the bZ4X; plus, you can use Grip Control to moderate speeds and maximize traction.

While most new EVs seem to be hovering around 300 miles of range, max here in the Solterra from its 72.8-kWh battery pack is 227 miles, 222 here in Touring trim. Our results were much less than that, on pace for just 172 miles in our driving loop. But that may be a fluke since we managed 210+ in our bZ4X test.

Only 100-kW max for DC fast charging. But even though it has only been on the market for a year, they’ve already cut down charging times for ‘24 models. An upgraded battery conditioning system, needs 35 minutes for an 80% charge. Subaru always seems to come out on the right side of being cool while remaining authentic, and the Solterra’s styling works, as does its beefier roof rack for ’24 which now holds up to 700 lbs. for tents and the like. Touring trim comes with some great looking 20-inch alloy wheels and there’s lots of body protection, but they did go a little overboard with all of the EV badges everywhere.

We found ride quality to be quite good, and handling spunkier than expected.

In addition to being a good-looking small SUV, it’s a highly functional one too with plenty of room for 5, durable materials, and a bridge-type center console with lots of storage space underneath, though there is no traditional glove box. Subaru also claims it was designed to be dog-friendly, so that’s a plus too. It does have the roomy feel of an Outback, and rear cargo capacity is pretty close, too, at 29.0 cubic-feet.

We found ride quality to be quite good, and handling spunkier than expected. It really shined in the handling course at our Mason-Dixon test track; the EV low center of gravity giving it a very planted feel through the cones. There was minimal body roll and great all-wheel-drive grip; though when it came to us getting a grip on the steering wheel. Well, it’s an oddly shaped steering wheel that took some getting used to. It’s another thing that separates it from the bZ4X, though it seems a little bit like just being different for the sake of being different.

2024 Subaru Solterra Dashboard
2024 Subaru Solterra Instrument Cluster
2024 Subaru Solterra Central Display
2024 Subaru Solterra Shifter
2024 Subaru Solterra Front Seat
2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Seat
2024 Subaru Solterra Trunk
2024 Subaru Solterra Dashboard2024 Subaru Solterra Instrument Cluster2024 Subaru Solterra Central Display2024 Subaru Solterra Shifter2024 Subaru Solterra Front Seat2024 Subaru Solterra Rear Seat2024 Subaru Solterra Trunk

On the other hand, while not insanely fast like some EVs, there was good punch off the line; enough to get us to 60 in 6.2 seconds. And rather than rolling back the power, the Solterra kept it consistent the whole way down the track. We finished the quarter-mile in 14.8 seconds at 93 mph. There wasn’t much feel coming through the brake pedal, but panic braking stops were fade-free with an average amount of nose dive; our stops from 60 averaged 120 feet.

Using 33-kWh of electricity per 100-miles, the Solterra earns a good efficiency rating. Pricing starts at $46,340 for the base Premium, and tops out with Touring at $53,340, with Limited in between.

Being the rugged and lovable outdoor types, Subaru owners have proven to be willing to sacrifice certain things for the good of the environment they spend so much time enjoying. Whether that will translate to them going all-in on the 2024 Solterra remains to be seen. It’s no surprise Subaru has finally gone all-electric, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise they’ve entered the EV game conservatively. Something tells us Subaru owners wouldn’t have it any other way.

Specifications

As Tested

  • Motor Setup: Dual Motor
  • Battery Size: 72.8-kWh
  • Horsepower: 215
  • Torque: 249 lb-ft
  • EPA Range: 222 miles
  • 0-60 mph: 6.2 seconds
  • 1/4 Mile: 14.8 seconds at 93 mph
  • 60-0 Braking: 120 feet (avg)
  • MW Test Loop: 172 miles