There’s much to be said for a well-sorted sporting GT, but sometimes there’s business to be done or sleep to be had with miles still to go. And, for that, you need a luxurious, autonomous car. This is Bentley’s version of autonomy however, which involves a technological marvel called a “chauffeur”, and a car called the Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase.
The literal naming strategy doesn’t do justice to the rear-seat experience of this particular Bentley, mind you, because it makes a business jet look like a Victorian workhouse. An extra 250mm of space inveigled into the already generous Mulsanne rear compartment, airline-style reclining armchairs, champagne fridges, a pair of tablets that rise electrically from the back of the front seats, and a foldy-out table arrangement that has its own suspension and damping system reminiscent of an expensive Ducati superbike.
The leather is warm, quilted and soft, the veneers and burnished bits wrought to perfection. There’s a wafty 6.75-litre bi-turbo VS mounted on active engine mounts punting out 505bhp and 7521b ft giving 0-62mph in 5.5secs and 184mph top end. The suspension is air, the bushings anti-vibratory, the lyres filled with noise-suppressing foam. And you may think that with all that dense luxury swilling about in the wheelbase, the EWB should handle like an elephant carrying an ornate palanquin on its back. And yet it doesn’t. It’s near silent, beautiful, cosseting, and uniquely wonderful to ride in: when you can’t bear to take the wheel, there’s no finer back seat.