It’s in this unashamedly laid-back attitude that the Bentley feels wholeheartedly epic. In fact, it almost seems to buy you time and a relaxed attitude. After all, turning up late is only to be expected – everyone else can wait.
And yet, there is that tricky question of expectations again. Should this be a car that can deliver a modicum of involvement and handling prowess? Well, snick that rotary dial into Sport and give it a go, and to be honest you might be a little underwhelmed. Any kind of vigorous cornering and the Mulsanne will lean ponderously on its front tyre until it eventually gives up under the pressure and hands you fistfuls of rather uncouth understeer.
Yes, you can provoke it into oversteer. Of course you can – it has 811lb ft going to the rear wheels. But really. Really? You’re not going to do that, are you? Don’t do that. Or am I going to have to explain the driver’s car/not a driver’s car thing again?
The steering, too, feels a bit too meaty at low speeds when you might want the oily, light precision that a Rolls-Royce Phantom serves up in spades. It does, though, weight up and deliver a fair sense of connection at higher speeds when you can inject a really satisfying sense of fluidity to proceedings on the right sort of sweeping, high-speed curves.
Now, to the biggest problem here; ride comfort. Speed or not, the Mulsanne is a car that will be defined by the level of serenity buffering occupant from road, and it isn’t quite good enough in the UK, either in the back or the front seats.
Sure, put it in Comfort mode and it lopes over high frequency or long wave imperfections, brushing off eroded tarmac and awkward cambers with casual ease. But then you hit a recessed drain cover, or a sharp-edged pothole, and feel the unexpected shiver and thud as those air springs find the end of their travel.
In the incrementally firmer Bentley mode, you also feel an echo of the road’s undulations and scars. Go for Sport, and you seem to get very little extra body control in return for ride comfort that’s another notch further away from what you want in a Mulsanne. There’s a touch of patter here, a shiver there, a hint of a fidget over town roads. Don’t get us wrong, the Bentley Mulsanne Speed rides with the sort of majestic stride that most will be very happy with, but anyone who has driven the now-out-of-production Phantom will know that the Bentley’s waft just isn’t of quite the same exceptional vintage.
Still, there are other areas in which the Mulsanne Speed has really moved on. Namely in the multimedia area, where you'll now find a new 8.0in infotainment touchscreen nestled in the dashboard. Before we get to that, we'll mention that we’d like fewer buttons scattered across the dashboard, since it's easy to get a bit flustered by the sheer number of switches, and it doesn’t look too pretty, either. But it’s still a lavish treat of an interior, and the redesigned seats are wonderful: just soft enough without being armchair-like; supportive in all the right areas, adjustable to a tee - an absolute delight. I want one in my living room.