By: IOL Motoring Staff

Crewe, England - The Mulsanne, Sire, has always been more about opulence than performance but when you're opting for the grandest Bentley of them all, why can't you just have both then? If that was ever your question, behold the new Bentley Mulsanne Speed.

Described by its creator as the "world's fastest ultra-luxury driving experience" the Mulsanne Speed ups the ante with a reworked engine, sportier suspension and assertive styling to match its new apparent attitude.

Yet since its name is Speed, let's talk about that first. The Mulsanne's 6.75-litre twin-turbo V8 has been tweaked to produce 395kW and 1100Nm - just in case the 'standard' model's outputs of 377kW and 1020Nm seemed weak. The new model will speed from 0-100km/h in 4.8 seconds, according to Bentley, and reach a top speed of 305km/h. It's also 13 percent more efficient, for what that's worth.

NO COMPROMISE

Bentley Chairman Wolfgang Dürheimer describes this car's mission rather aptly: "The new Mulsanne Speed is the car that defines Bentley, as a flagship for driving luxury performance. Our customers don't compromise, and we've adopted the same approach in the design, engineering and crafting of our new flagship."

Now obviously Bentley hasn't gone and modified the suspension to give it a stiff ride, but in addition to the existing Comfort suspension modes that this model retains, the driver is now able to switch to a Sport mode at the touch of a button. This stiffens the air suspension to improve body control and adjusts the steering system to provide better feedback.

RACY CABIN

That racy feeling extends to the interior décor, which has a new two-tone colour theme and offers the option of Piano Black veneer panels with handcrafted carbon fibre inlays for those wanting a more sporty ambience. Of course, there are lots of other options to explore, with 24 different hide colours and ten different veneers to choose from.

Entertainment is sorted by a 60gb on-board hard drive, electrically-operated tables with recesses and connections for iPads and matching keyboards, on-board Wi-Fi through a dedicated router, rear-seat entertainment system with two eight-inch screens and a 2200 watt premium audio system with 14 speakers.

Finally, to ensure that the rest of the Royals notice that your Bentley is a cut above the rest, the Mulsanne Speed is distinguished on the outside by a dark tint finish to many of the exterior components including the grille and 21-inch 'directional style' wheels, which are a first for Bentley.

Just a pity it still looks like an old London bus from the front.