While I was at the Skoda stall admiring the cars and having a chat with the Skoda sales person, my CEO comes rushing to me saying that they have got special permission to cover the Bentley Mulsanne. My initial reaction was “Are you sure”? and the very next moment my CEO is tugging my hand and leading me away from the crowd towards the TopGear stall. TopGear magazine are the official media partners of the 2011 Surat Auto Expo. The crowd near the Bentley stall was so huge that we had to actually push our way through. To hell with gentleman behavior here. Well, it worked since no one seemed to mind. Once near the stall, there was a young man in yellow tees and gelled hair standing inside the barricade. My CEO introduced us and the guy in yellow tees happened to be Aakash Mishra, the Brand Manager with TopGear. He immediately introduced us to two people standing there in full suit and coat. One was Mr Anand Desai from Upaj Motors which again is a part of Exclusive Motors whereas the other was Mr Amit Agarwal, the Corporate Sales Manager of Bentley New Delhi.
Image Copyright and Courtesy "BBC TopGear India"
While we were telling them about our website, there was some commotion and it happened that Gujarat’s Heavy Industries Minister had come to personally check out the Bentley. We were kindly asked to wait until Mr.Minister with his entourage leaves the barricade. It was only after a good 10 minutes that the minister left and Mr Amit came to our aid back. He said that he would be personally giving a demonstration as also explaining the key features of this car. First of all, he started the demo by saying that Bentley Motors is a Volkswagen owned company with its headquarters and facility in Crewe, England. All the Bentley cars are handmade and there are virtually no machines in their factory. On being asked as to why would customers prefer a Bentley over a Rolls Royce or Maybach, his answer was that when customers buy an ultra luxurious car, they are usually chauffer driven. However most of Bentley customers prefer to drive their cars rather than being chauffeured. For this very reason, when a customer with a Bentley pulls over at a hotel, then the parking attendant instead of opening the rear door, comes directly to the driver side door. Point taken there.
The moment he unlocked the car, he was prompt to tell us that we have to ensure that we don’t scratch the paint of the Mulsanne. Yes, we wouldn’t. The interiors are made of veneer wood which Mr Amit is quick to point that is sourced from the forests in California. The wood which is left after adorning the cabin is preserved for about 5-7 years with the engine and chassis number of the Bentley that it was used for. The reason is if suppose tomorrow, a customer wants to replace the wood trim because it has developed some scratches or for some other reason, the same earmarked wood would be used. I loved the funny way that the aircon vents can be controlled with a handcrafted push and tug type button. Everything feels absolutely soft and yes, handcrafted. Not that there is anything to fault but the 100% genuine leather hide used for the construction of the upholstery as also the hand stitches gracing it look absolutely amazing. There is also another trivia regarding the leather that is used and that is that this is obtained from pure bred bulls. The enclosure in which these bulls are kept have wood fencings and not iron ones. This is done so that the bull’s hide doesn’t get scars from rubbing on the iron circled enclosure. Oh well, there are more than 100 colors to choose from for the exterior paint. The interiors meanwhile, since they are fully customizable, are left to the imagination.
All Above Images Copyright and Courtesy “BBC TopGear India”
Talk of all the modern gadgets and those are there in this car. The 2011 Bentley Mulsanne in India boasts of high class style seating for 4 individuals. It is the long wheel base version. Leg room, head room or shoulder room, you name it and the Bentley offers it in spades. No suicide door mechanisms like in the Rolls. Just a simple tug and pull.
On our special request, Mr Amit popped open the hood and revealed the 6.8 liter twin turbocharged V8 engine which develops 505 BHP @ 4200 RPM and torque figure of a whopping 1020 Nm. The transmission offered is an eight speed auto with electronic shift interface. In keeping with the sporty theme, the vehicle is offered with paddle shifts behind the steering wheel as well. The 0-100 kmph speed is dispatched in only under 5 seconds and that is for a vehicle weighing close to 2 tonnes. Mr Amit was eager to show the sporty note of the 2011 Bentley Mulsanne however to me personally, it felt a bit muted, Maybe when the car reaches its 298 kmph top speed, the induction noise would be more audible. This shows the level of noise insulation materials that have gone under the hood of this car. I did ask him about the safety aspect and he said that it was a completely safe car with more than 10 airbags and all the modern electronic gadgets. For pedestrian safety, the car has got a manual logo down thing. It retracts when pushed by hand. Dare we ask him the fuel efficiency of the 2011 Bentley Mulsanne in India, so that part was completely ignored. Just like AMG cars, the engine is handbuilt by a single engineer and his insignia is embedded on the engine cover.
All Above Images Copyright and Courtesy “BBC TopGear India”
Now coming to some eye popping figures and those are about the price of this car. The price of this car starts from Rs 3.50 crores and the price would increase depending on the level of customization that a particular customer demands. So much for a handcrafted car wherein even the cup holders are molded by hand and the service technician comes to your place to service the car. Yes, you read it right. After every year or 10,000 kms whichever is earlier, a service needed sign comes up on the multi information display and this message is also delivered to the associated service technician. That gentleman calls up the owner of the Bentley and schedules a personal car service for him. The warranty that Bentley offers is an industry best of 3 years plus an additional 3 years extended warranty at a royalty. Mr Amit concluded the interview and walk around by saying that they expect about 5-6 cars to sell this year and also that Bentley are setting up a new show room, in Colaba, Mumbai within a month from now. He said that there are many enquiries coming in from Mumbai and so Bentley felt the need to bring up another shop in here. Remember folks, we are the first to bring this scoop to you. More details on the same once the shop is set up here.