The Bentley’s sidelights are about the same size as the Audi TT’s headlights – why?

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You could argue the Mulsanne isn’t a pretty car from the front. The bug-eyed headlights somehow don’t marry with the macho grille and totally dominate the car’s appearance.

Car headlights simple don’t need to be that large any more – because they actually work these days! Just look at the slit-eyed beamers on the brilliant new Audi TT. I’m sure other designers will soon follow suite.

I’m not sure I’ve seen headlights as big as those on the Mulsanne since, well, those old Bentley blowers of the 1920s and 1930s. And why were they so big? Simply because lights were rubbish back then.

The outer daytime runnings lights on the Mulsanne are ringed in bling LEDs – they’re a bit smaller and probably about the same size in area as the TT. So why do we need the two, dinner plate headlights inbetween?

Those headlights spoil an otherwise beautiful car…

Is that right – £5,100 for a set of black curtains in a Bentley Mulsanne?

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Is that right – £5,100 for a set of black curtains in a Bentley Mulsanne? There’s something rather funereal about the gentle glide of the electric motor that draws them together and cocoons the back seat in darkness.

And just what are they for? I suppose that if you are an Arab sheikh, who doesn’t want to wear sunglasses to avoid publicity, they could be quite useful. Or maybe they’re so the chauffeur can have a kip in the back while waiting for his passenger…

Personally, I think heavy tint glass might be more effective, and cheaper. Although that could be deemed rather uncool these days, as even Ford and Skoda owners can black out their windows for maximum bling appeal.

Still, there’s no finer place to be than in the back seat of a Mulsanne. It’s like flying first class, with deep pile Wilton overmats (an extra £1,060) and the Entertainment Pack (£21,145).

What’s that? Well, it turns the Bentley into a Wi-fi hotspot and adds picnic tables – crafted from solid metal, fine veneer and leather – that are designed to accommodate an iPad and wireless keyboard.

Add twin eight-inch LCD screens incorporated into the backs of the front headrests, a 20 GB hard drive and DVD player, plus a pair of Bluetooth headphones and a remote control, and you can see why this is the only way to fly…

Bizarre as it might seem, piloting a 6.75-litre V8 Bentley happens to be the best way to avoid a speeding ticket…

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Bizarre as it might seem, piloting a 6.75-litre V8 happens to be the best way to avoid a speeding ticket. The Mulsanne’s 505bhp unit would rip the metalwork off a lesser car but because the Bentley weighs 3200kg, it’s just about the right power to weight ratio.

In fact, being whisper quiet and smoother than a vat of butter, the Bentley doesn’t feel like it’s travelling until you hit 70mph. So for the last two days I’ve been cruising around at very sensible speeds, soaking up the leather and ash interior in my own private gentlemen’s club.

It’s such a big lump of motor car that I don’t feel any inclination to push the Mulsanne on winding English roads at all. What this Bentley needs is a German autobahn for a trans-Europe journey of epic proportions.

What’s most fascinating is the way other drivers react – this isn’t a car for shrinking violets. Don’t expect to be let out at a junction either. You’re more likely to get a friendly wave driving a Russian tank…

 

If you want an excuse not to buy a Bentley Mulsanne try this. It doesn’t fit in my garage.

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If you want an excuse not to buy the Mulsanne try this. It doesn’t fit in my garage. At 220 inches long you definitely need a palatial parking place to go with your palace home.

However, if you are in the market for a car fit for royalty, the Mulsanne is far more forgiving than it might appear on paper. Admittedly, I’ve had to make a few adjustments to my parking procedures at home but otherwise, it’s a relatively straightforward drive.

Sitting in the driver’s seat for the first time, there’s no baffling array of buttons to master; the seat adjustment is as easy as any other Volkswagen Audi Group car; even the £21k upgraded infotainment system requires very little thought.

While last week I was reaching for the manual of the Outlander PHEV every five minutes, I feel perfectly at home in the Bentley. Explain that one Mr Mitsubishi?

More tomorrow…

Is it only me and Clarkson who don’t see the joy of owning a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV electric?

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Sometimes I start to doubt my objectivity when a car that is supposed to be the dog’s nuts isn’t quite what I expected. I’ve read a rash of other reviews on the PHEV this week and they all seem to praise a wonderful car.

Well, not all of them. Clarkson (remember him?) didn’t like it at all. Mainly because he felt the Outlander wasn’t a good vehicle in the first place. I never thought I’d agree with JC but he’s spot on with the Mitsubishi.

I heap praise on Mitsubishi for building a plug-in that is backed up by a petrol-electric hybrid power plant but the Outlander remains a rather soul-less SUV, with a sleepy 2.0 petrol engine and fairly painful styling.

Most depressing of all is that you will never achieve the claimed 148mpg driving in the real world. The PHEV has averaged 32mpg over the last week. It can only go ‘super-mpg’ if you use it on very short journeys in electric mode.

And as the PHEV only has a battery only range of 32 miles, well, you see my point.

Maybe this is the start of a rash of plug-in hybrid models which will improve with time? I hope so because the idea is a good one – just poorly executed in this case.

 

The sound of silence? How can silent electric cars warn pedestrians of their approach…

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I imagine the court case has already happened – man run over by silent electric car. If not, it’s going to soon. As I pulled out of a hotel car park this afternoon a kindly old chap walked straight out of the foyer and in front of the PHEV.

Should electric cars have a ‘sound’ added to their drivetrain to warn pedestrians? What if somebody steps out in front of an electric car and then claims they simply didn’t hear the vehicle approaching?

Of course, noise pollution can be damaging too. So quite how we get around this issue as more and more electric cars like the Mitsubishi appear on our roads is one that’s open for debate.

Fortunately, the Outlander has exceptionally good brakes. That didn’t stop an angry man waving two fingers in my direction…

For the love of God, can somebody turn off the alarm bells in my Mitsubishi PHEV!

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More beeping noises with the PHEV! This time it’s when I leave the key in the ignition. But it’s not a gentle ‘ping’ a la BMW. No, the Mitsubishi goes into an insistent rant which makes heads turn at the filling station (I’m topping up again. Remember the PHEV only has a 45 litre capacity).

Now I know that in America cars have every kind of safety device to ensure manufacturers aren’t sued under crazy public liability laws but this is England. May I suggest we simply don’t need such vulgarities?

I’m becoming a little paranoid by the Outlander’s warning devices and alarms. Using the PHEV on a daily basis is not a joyous experience because I’m constantly being told what I can and can’t do with dull monotony.

I would just like to get in, shut the door, press the start button and drive away with no fuss, no stress. Sadly, I think I’m more likely to see petrol at 50p a litre and a Labour government come May 8…

So the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV plug-in hybrid does 148mpg? Oh no it doesn’t! Welcome to the real world

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You might think your fuel bill is going to be slashed driving a plug-in hybrid like the Outlander PHEV. The headline figure of 148mpg sounds astounding – although common sense suggests you will never achieve anything like that in the real world.

So, what can you expect from Mitsubishi’s much-praised PHEV – 100mpg, 80mpg or a more realistic 65mpg perhaps? I’ve just driven the Outlander on two high-speed motorway trips of around 180 miles each way and the depressing news is 28.1mpg and 31.2mpg!

I was totally gobsmacked. There wasn’t even Easter Bank Holiday traffic to contend with, yet the PHEV was actually far worse than many premium band SUVs. Even the BMW X5 xDrive 25d managed 40+mpg.

And the problem is compounded by the fact that the PHEV only has a 45 litre capacity fuel tank because space is lost to accommodate the batteries. So you can forget Mitsubishi’s claimed 500 miles plus range – it just isn’t going to happen however carefully you drive.

The PHEV is competitively priced but I’m afraid that despite the hype, I’d still opt for a diesel version and enjoy much better, more practical economy…

 

 

Why do I need three loud beeps from the Mitsubishi to tell me that the auto-boot closure is operating?

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It may be the Easter Saturday traffic but I’m in a moody of unequalled grumpiness. Just why the British have nothing better to do than shop on the weekend is beyond me. That and reality TV is turning our brains to mush.

It’s the kind of day when I want to step out of my house and drive a car that rubs happiness onto my troubled brow. Instead, I’m being audibly assaulted by the Mitsubishi Outlander’s annoying array of warning sounds every time I go near the fecking thing.

For example, why do I need three loud beeps to tell me that the auto-boot closure is operating, when I have just pressed the button myself to operate it? One gently ping would be more than sufficient. There are warning bells for lane departure, door left open, gear select – all the things I actually know anyway.

But what really takes the biscuit is the fact the infotainment system on the Outlander is incredibly s-l-o-w. So when I slip the incredible gearlever into reverse and look at the rear-parking camera, the image doesn’t immediately show me the distance lines I would expect – or sound a distance alert!

The one bloody safety system I want to use is fast asleep. Frankly, I’m not impressed Mitsubishi…

The Mitsubishi PHEV is a plug-in vehicle that removes that worrying feeling you are just about to run out of juice

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You’ve read all the fluff about the brave new world of electric cars. However, even the stylish, beautifully-proportioned Tesla (tested elsewhere on this site) falls foul of the lack of plug-in infrastructure in the UK.

What we need is a plug-in vehicle that removes that worrying feeling you are just about to run out battery life in the middle of nowhere. So, until there are plug-in points on every street corner, the Outlander PHEV is the perfect solution.

PHEV is the first plug-in vehicle that has the reassuring back up of a hybrid petrol-electric system – so you will never have the stress of searching for a plug-in point miles from home.

It’s brilliantly simple – like most great ideas – and that’s why it’s now the UK’s No. 1 plug in. The PHEV does everything and is also a sports utility vehicle, a booming car sector in Britain.

Add four-wheel drive ability and you start to understand why this five-seater is proving so popular. We also like the way it looks at Car Couture and with a lot of miles to cover this week, I’m looking forward to seeing how the PHEV copes in the real world of Bank Holiday traffic.