First Drive: 2017 Bentley Mulsanne

– Krün, Germany

I’m sure I looked absolutely disgusting when I stepped off the plane in Innsbruck, Austria. A long flight from Detroit to Frankfurt, a layover in a balmy conference room, and a choppy private jet ride over to my destination resulted in frazzled hair, my face covered in a fine layer of airplane sweat, and a very specific, no-time-for-a-shower odor. Yet as I stumbled tiredly across the tarmac, a handsome fellow in a well-tailored suit smiled at me, loaded my luggage into the back of a 2017 Bentley Mulsanne, shut the door for me, and escorted me off airport grounds and out onto the winding roads of Bavaria.

If that sounds like just another day in the life of a Bentley Mulsanne owner, you’re mostly right. Sure, these well-heeled folks no doubt jet-set all over the place, between various homes in various countries, but there’s an interesting fact to remember hidden in all this opulence: only one or two percent of all Mulsanne owners are exclusively chauffeured. The majority of Mulsanne owners actually drive their cars. Of course, Bentley hasn’t forgotten about its one-to-two-percenters in this 2017 model year Mulsanne update, adding a new, extended-wheelbase model that’s focused on – and delivers – otherworldly levels of luxury.

Rather than roll them out over the next several years, all three versions of the updated Mulsanne launch at the exact same time. There’s the standard version (Bentley would prefer you call it “Signature,” even though that’s not its official...