Car of the Year 2011: No. 6 Bentley Mulsanne

Comfort and Joy
The Mulsanne is designed to make the good life great. Just sitting in the driver’s seat—which feels more like a throne than a vehicular necessity—provides a sense of lofty serenity that can be described only as perfect. Several of the judges were surprised to find that a car this size could move so quickly and gracefully and noted it was a marked improvement over its predecessor, the Arnage. But judging from the backseat amenities, owners are not intended to drive but be driven. While being chauffeured, they have full control of the audio system, a privacy screen, bottle coolers, a folding picnic table, and stainless steel ashtrays embossed with Bentley’s signature Flying B. —Paul Meyers

 

Earlier-Time Traveler
Seeing the Mulsanne resting or roaming is like sighting a dinosaur in Hyde Park: It simply should not exist. For in 2011, cars that cost more than a house, weigh close to three tons, and deliver about a dozen miles to the gallon should be turning to humus in a landfill. Yet if people did not buy them, Bentley would not make them. The monster Mulsanne is an unashamed throwback to an era of handcrafted motoring when nothing could be too elegant. That all this bulk accelerates from rest to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds and has a terminal velocity comparable to a Corvette’s is nothing short of a miracle. The Mulsanne does not ride, it glides, and its aluminum and composites, air suspension, and aerospace technology let it do so in a quiet bordering on secrecy. —Paul Dean

SPECIFICATIONS
Configuration Front-engine, rear-wheel-drive sedan Engine 6.75-liter turbocharged V-8 Transmission 8-speed automatic Power 505 hp at 4,200 rpm Torque 752 ft lbs at 1,750 rpm Curb weight 5,700 pounds Zero to 60 5.1 seconds Top speed 184 mph Base price $285,000 Bentley, www.bentleymotors.com

Photo by Oli Tennent
The aerodynamic sports car looks to impress both on the track and during everyday driving…
The one-off 550 Italia prototype mates a Fiat 500 body with a Ferrari 458 Italia engine…
Limited to 50 examples, the supercar features design details found on McLaren’s 1995 Le Mans–...
The global program will feature top models from Ferrari, McLaren, Porsche, and Lamborghini…
Cadillac hopes to take on its Germans competitors with its first modern full-size flagship…
Photo by Mercedes-Benz USA
The new cars expand the marque’s C-Class offerings…
The daylong event will include exhibitions, rides, and live entertainment…
A hand-embroidered silk interior, ruby-set dials, and mother-of-pearl paint set this Phantom apart...
Photo by David Dewhurst Photography
The all-new design is aimed at the hip crowd, but loyalists may balk…
Photo by 2014 Infiniti
The QX50’s size increase promises a roomy ride for passengers…