The Bentley Mulsanne Speed is an impressive automobile. With a price tag just shy of $US400,000, including options, this shouldn’t really be a surprise to anyone. After all, this is Bentley’s flagship model.
Recently, Business Insider spent a weekend with the Mulsanne Speed. Behind the wheel — a position normally inhabited by a chauffeur — we found the Mulsanne to be a harmonious blend of luxury yacht, English cottage, and Germanic muscle car.
Powered by colossal 530-horsepower, 6.75-litre, twin-turbocharged V8 engine, the Mulsanne Speed is perfectly capable of spirited driving and can reportedly hit a top speed of 190 mph. With a dump-truck-like 811 ft-lbs of torque on tap, the 18-foot-long British limo takes just 4.8 seconds to get its 6,00o lbs. of mass to 60 mph.
However, no matter how sporty Bentley try to make the Mulsanne, it will never be as athletic as its little brother Flying Spur which we tested last year.
But the Mulsanne Speed is still most happy when it’s ferrying around well-heeled passengers. The place to be is seated between the Bentley’s vault-like rear doors, which close with a very satisfying thud.
And boy! What a rear cabin it is! And it costs — $US43,300, fully equipped. In fact, on its own, the Mulsanne Speed’s back seat is pricier than dozens of brand-new, rather hot cars on the market today.
So we put together a list of 25 cars that are actually cheaper than the Bentley Mulsanne Speed’s rear cabin.
At $28,760, the 'Entertainment Specification' equips the Mulsanne Speed with electric iPad picnic tables, a rear seat entertainment system, Wi-Fi, and a 'Naim for Bentley' premium sound system.
To top it all off, Mulsanne Speeds can be optioned with a 'refrigerated bottle cooler with frosted glass and bespoke crystal champagne flutes' for a whopping $10,970.
In total, the rear cabin of the Mulsanne Speed comes to $43,300 -- enough to buy any number of hot cars on the market today. Here are 25 of them.
Acura TLX V6 Advanced Package: $42,600. The Japanese luxury sedan comes loaded with a 290-horsepower V6 engine and a 9-speed automatic transmission. In addition, the TLX is equipped with all-wheel-steering and a long list of advanced driving technologies, including adaptive cruise control and tech that keeps drivers from leaving the road.
Audi A5 Premium Plus: $42,800. Although the stylish Audi is nearing the end of its production cycle, it's one of the finest sport coupes money can buy. The standard A5 comes with a VW-Group 2.0-litre, 220-horsepower turbocharged four banger. Inside, drivers will find a 14-speaker, 505-watt Bang & Olufsen sound system.
Audi S3: $42,500. Business Insider had the opportunity to try out the pint-sized Audi sports sedan last year and found the 292-horsepower S3 to be truly impressive. It does a fine job evoking Audi's rich rally-racing heritage.
Audi TT Coupe: $42,900. The third generation TT finally arrives in the US for 2016. Like the A5, the standard TT comes with a 220-horsepower, 2.0 TFSI inline 4-cylinder engine.
BMW 428i Gran Coupe: $40,300. The BMW 4-door coupe is powered by the company's trusty 2.0-litre, 240-horsepower TwinPower four-cylinder engine.
BMW M235i: $43,100. The BMW M235i is one of the best cars money can buy. In fact, it holds the second highest road test score in the history of Consumer Reports -- and when we tested it, we were blown away. The compact coupe is powered by BMW's ferocious 320-horsepower, 3.0-litre twin-scroll turbocharged inline-6 cylinder engine.
BMW i3: $42,400. The i3 is BMW's interpretation of the modern electric city car. The standard i3 can go up 81 miles on a single charge, but an optional range-extending gasoline engine can push that figure up to a claimed 150 miles.
Cadillac ATS Turbo Luxury Coupe: $41,920. Cadillac's compact ATS Coupe is powered by peppy 2.0-litre, 272-horsepower turbocharged inline-4. Business Insider found the ATS Turbo to be a comfortable and sporty offering worthy of consideration even when compared to Europe's finest.
Chevrolet Camaro Coupe 2SS: $38,300. Although the 6th generation Camaro is just around the corner in 2016, the current 5th generation is still alive and kicking. Equipped with a 2SS package, the Camaro is powered by GM's venerable 6.2-litre, 426 horsepower V8, which still uses pushrods!
Dodge Challenger R/T Scat Pack: $38,995. Although the 707-horsepower Hellcat has gotten all the attention recently, less costly versions of the Challenger, such as the 485-horsepower R/T 'Scat Pack' (it's a performance package), are still incredibly potent.
Ford Mustang GT: $36,300. With 435 horsepower on tap, the iconic 5.0-Mustang GT is one serious performer. Business Insider spent a weekend with the Mustang GT earlier this year and found the car to be a world-class sports car with muscle car heritage.
Ford Focus ST: $24,370. The Ford Focus ST is a whole ton of fun for not a whole lot of money. With 252 horsepower on deck, the 2.0-litre Ecoboost 4-cylinder gives the Focus ST plenty of punch when you need it.
Fiat 500 Abarth: $22,495. With the scorpion badging and a 160-horsepower turbocharged engine, the Abarth package provides the otherwise adorable Fiat 500 with some serious sting.
Infiniti Q50 3.7 Premium: $40,000. The standard Infiniti Q50 is equipped with a 3.7-litre, 328-horsepower Nissan VQ Series V6 engine. Business Insider found our Q50 test car to be powerful, sporty, and loaded with an impressive level of tech.
Lexus RC 350 Coupe: $42,790. The RC Coupe is Lexus' latest go at a sporty 2-door coupe. The RC 350 is powered by a silky smooth 3.5-litre, 306-horsepower V6.
Lincoln MKZ 3.7 V6: $38,380. Thanks to Matthew McConaughey, people are talking about Lincoln for the first time in years. One of the brand's most intriguing cars is MKZ sedan. The most powerful version offered is a 3.7-litre, 300-horsepower V6.
Mazda MX-5: $24,915. The Mazda MX-5 Miata is the best selling roadster of all time and for good reason. It's fun, affordable, and reliable. The 4th generation will arrive on American shores for the 2016 model year.
Mercedes-Benz C300: $38,400. Although it's no longer the entry level Benz, the C-class still offers buyers a taste of the Mercedes ownership experience at a relatively affordable price. The base C300 is powered by a 241-horsepower, 2.0-litre turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine.
MINI Cooper John Cooper Works Edition: $30,600. The MINI Cooper comes in many flavours, but the hottest of them all is the John Cooper Works edition. With 228 horsepower under the hood, the JCW edition is good for 0-60 mph in just 5.9 seconds, according to the manufacturer.
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution MR: $38,995. Although the end is near for the legendary rally car, there are still some copies available at dealerships. Despite the fact that the EVO has remained virtually unchanged since 2008, Business Insider found our 291-horsepower test car to be a beast of a vehicle.
Nissan 370Z NISMO: $41,990. This is the fastest and the most powerful Z-Car Nissan has every produced. With 350 horsepower under the hood, the NISMO Z can get you from 0-60 mph in less than 5 seconds, if Nissan's numbers are to be believed.
Subaru WRX STI Limited: $40,790. With the Evo headed out to pasture and the hot Focus RS not quite here yet, the STI takes over as the undisputed king of roadgoing rally cars. Power for the WRX STI comes courtesy of a turbocharged 2.5-litre, 305-horsepower flat-4-cylinder engine.
Volkswagen Golf R: $36,595. The R sits at the top of VW's highly praised Golf family of cars. The VW 'hot hatch' gets its power from a 2.0-litre, 292-horsepower turbocharged inline 4 -- shared with the Audi S3.
Volvo S60 T6 Drive-E: $39,250. Volvo is slowly, but surely, working its way back into the consciousness of American car buyers. Along with the XC90 SUV, the S60 will lead the way. Business Insider found our T6 test car to be stylish, practical, and surprisingly sporty. Power for the S60 T6 comes from Volvo's new Drive-E engine which in this case is a 2.0-litre inline 4, boosted by both a supercharger and a turbocharger. This setup is good for a solid 302 horsepower.
Tesla Model 3: Est. $35,000. Yes, the Model 3 is a couple of years away from production. However, when it arrives at Tesla stores, the 3 will be the mainstream electric sedan that will help the Elon Musk-run automaker realise its ambition of selling 500,000 cars a year by 2020.
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