Step into the $285,000 Bentley Mulsanne, and odd things happen. Your heart rate drops. The softball-sized knot between your shoulders shrinks to a marble.
Unlike white-knuckle-driving supercars that cost more than a house in Florida, this luxury sedan induces a vastly different reaction. Breath out, relax. You’re rich, after all.
Owners of the Mulsanne or its competitor, the $246,500 Rolls-Royce Ghost, are of a different ilk than those who drive the Mercedes-Benz S-Class or BMW 7 Series. There’s an inherent declaration of check-me-out entitlement.
Yet the two brands have a different approach. If the Ghost wears its extravagance on its bespoke sleeve, the Bentley is a less showy.
At more than 18 feet long, it’s certainly formidable. It would be hard to overlook the fantastic upright mesh grill and headlights the size of salad plates. But to really be wowed, you have to be invited in.
My test car cost $333,885 with options, and my favorite element was the $4,640 interior in oak wood — a shade so light it seemed to glow.
More quickly than I hoped, I found myself on Manhattan’s West Side Highway. I’d only used the horn twice. I was so relaxed that I decided to really get wild and exit onto Broadway toward Times Square; tourists pointed.
Minutes later I’d left behind the cold light of oversized LCD screens and was skirting past the taxi wars outside Penn Station with the Mulsanne’s torque-heavy engine pulling me by. There was no stopping me now.