If you somehow thought the regular Bentley Continental GT was somehow not plush enough within nor eye-catching enough without, then you can always add the extra gloss of opulence that comes with the Mulliner model. Oh, and go for the V8 engine, instead of the W12, yeah?
In the metal
The Bentley Continental GT Mulliner is the first car from the Bentley Mulliner Collections portfolio, one of three strands of business of the marque's personalisation, classics restoration and coachbuilding arm. It made its world debut at the Salon Privé event earlier this summer in England and this car, a V8 Coupe, is - at the time of writing - apparently the only Mulliner Continental GT in the world.
You can choose to have your 'luxe-plus' Continental Mulliner as a Coupe (GT) or a Convertible (GTC), with either the, er, semi-skimmed 4.0-litre, 550hp biturbo V8 engine or the full-fat cream 6.0-litre, 635hp W12 twin-turbo (this dairy-based analogy doesn't actually work in the context of this review, though, as we shall come to see). And what you get as part of the Mulliner package are even more prestigious exterior and interior styling details and touches. On the outside of the car, you're looking for the distinctive 'Double Diamond' Matrix radiator grille, side detailing with additional chrome, the diamond-effect trim and 'Mulliner' wording, along with Satin Silver mirror caps that house illuminated puddle lights that shine 'Mulliner' onto the floor at night. Perhaps the main detail of the Continental GT Mulliner is the model-specific set of 22-inch alloy wheels, which are not only beautiful-looking turbine designs but which have self-levelling centre badges that allow the Bentley 'B' icon to remain upright at all times.
There are also 'Mulliner' illuminated door sills once you swing open the Continental's hefty great portals, allowing access to an interior that is said to showcase a level of choice and customisation that only Mulliner can provide - the 'pinnacle of luxury'. This includes eight different and bespoke colour splits of the primary and secondary hides, plus a third hue as part of a design line that circumvents the door cards and then runs across the top lip of the dashboard. As you'd expect given the involvement of Bentley's coachbuilding division, the Mulliner Driving Specification that is normally a five-figure option on a Continental GT is standard-fit, so you get diamond-in-diamond stitching on all the exposed leather; this results in 400,000 stitches throughout the cabin, with 712 in each and every diamond. Mind-boggling attention to detail, this - especially as there's more that 115 metres of thread involved, as well.
The diamond theme continues with a milled technical finish for the centre console, a characteristic replicated in the Bentley's digital instrument cluster, where the graphics for the main dials now have the same gem-look effect. That neatly ties it in with the Breitling clock sitting proud in the main fascia, while further flourishes include embroidered 'Mulliner' logos on the seats, floor mats edged with micro-piping and chrome 'B' retention caps, indented hide for the roof's headlining (or smooth leather if the fixed glass roof is chosen), Grand Black walnut veneer for the trim and a Continental GT's silhouette plus 'Mulliner' wording on the passenger-side dash. It's all really rather wonderful inside, no doubt about it.
Not only was this a chance for us to get into a one-of-a-kind (for the moment) Mulliner, it was also our first try of the Continental GT Coupe with the V8 engine, following on from our test of this unit in the third-gen Continental in the GTC. And we're now utterly convinced that the 4.0-litre is, while not numerically superior to the excellent W12, definitely the engine to choose for the Bentley.
It just makes the absolute most of the Continental's much-sharpened chassis, reducing weight over the nose, amplifying the soundtrack with a thunderous V8 rumble and generally making the current GT the most engaging, sporting Continental yet seen. Yet you sacrifice nothing in terms of exquisite ride comfort, top-notch noise suppression and mechanical refinement that's pretty much unsurpassed in the modern automotive business. Factor in that Bentley Dynamic Ride, the 48-volt electric active anti-roll system, is fitted as standard to the GT Mulliner and you have here the perfect GT: elegant, the epitome of discretion and yet stupendously fast and fabulously noisy when you want it to be. Granted, you could say the regular GT Coupe offers that in the first place, but if you desire your high-end exotic to have an extra few garnishes of exclusivity, then the Mulliner is the one to go for.
What you get for your money
As we've outlined, it's all about the exalted materials and detailing; mechanically, a Bentley Continental GT Mulliner V8 Coupe is no different than a Bentley Continental GT V8 Coupe. So, if you think that the regular Continental does the job well enough for a considerably reduced fee, then the Mulliner will seem like needless excess. However, the people who can afford this sort of car don't think that way and so it's likely that there'll be a very strong take-up of the full Mulliner with well-heeled buyers - no matter how much more it costs than a regular Continental GT, once prices are confirmed.
A plusher version of an already-plush car, the Bentley Continental GT Mulliner might be a touch too showy for some, but it remains one of the best GT cars in the world and - with the V8 engine fitted - it's an epic machine. In our opinion, the Mulliner spec simply layers on additional glamour and lustrous polish to what is already a jewel of a car in the first place.