There’s a curious isolation inside a 2011 Bentley Mulsanne’s rear couch. A luxurious silence as the world outside goes about its noisy ways. Meanwhile, you’re relaxing in the back seat, getting your back massaged using the buttons on the central arm rest with your feet lost in the inch-thick carpet. This is the kind of comfort you really want. Not to mention, when you’re in a Bentley, you don’t need to announce your arrival, others will do it for you. It marks you as someone with a sense of lineage, someone with a taste for the finer things in life. Someone who respects the heritage and pride that comes with a Bentley. Already getting that priceless kind of feeling, aren’t you?
“When you arrive in a Bentley, you don’t need to announce your arrival, others will do it for you”
A steep price to pay
Wait till I tell you that this stately saloon (please don’t call it a sedan) is for sale at an asking price is Rs 3.75 crore, less than half that of a new Mulsanne. It all started with a simple trawl of the internet on a somewhat light day when we chanced upon Bentley’s pre-owned programme in India. Suddenly, the office was abuzz with excitement. Beyond the excitement, curiosity gained control and we were exchanging questions like bullets in a firefight. Who buys a pre-owned Bentley? What do you get when you buy one? Is it really the same as buying a new one? A few phone calls to Amy Arora, brand director, Bentley India and a flight later we found ourselves staring at this pristine ghost white Mulsanne being carefully prepared at the Bentley workshop in Gurgaon. Unbelievable isn’t it?
Attention to detail, whether new or used
Every car here goes through 79 checks by trained technicians before it is deemed ready for a pre-owned sale. Every single aspect, from tyre tread depth to normal oil levels to even whether the windscreen or any of the windows suffer from chips, cracks or delamination, is carefully evaluated. Additionally, its service history and provenance must be established, including checking the car’s specifications at the time of sale with the original specification at the time of purchase. Only after all 79 parameters have been checked to the technicians’ satisfaction will the Certificate of Authenticity be awarded. However, far from being clinical, the technicians evaluating a car for pre-owned sale do so with so much care, you’d think a bride is being dolled up for her wedding day. Not just a cursory PDI, the attention paid is as much as would have been paid to a brand new vehicle.
“Before it is deemed ready for a pre-owned sale, a Bentley has to go through 79 checks by trained technicians”
The market that makes itself
But who buys a used Bentley? Usually, it’s the rising stars of the business world who would happily eschew the benefits of a brand new unit of mass production in favour of handcrafted sophistication. And like us, you’ll be surprised to know that in this fast-paced world of the use-and-throw attitude, there are quite a few who would spring for something so timeless in its appeal and sophistication. In fact, more than the demand, it is the supply that is a challenge. For most Bentley owners, each car is less a vehicle and more a relationship. Something you don’t just drive or be driven in but create memories with. So, few want to part with one. Even now, the Bentley pre-owned roster has only three units up for sale, this Mulsanne included.
“You don’t just drive or be driven in a Bentley, you develop a bond with it”
The perks of being “the king”
As for those with the taste for elegance and luxury, their first Bentley also ushers them into a world where a 12-month preowned warranty and the assurance of roadside assistance should you ever need one, are guaranteed. For further peace of mind you can buy extended warranty and even a specially designed annual maintenance package that ensures your pride and joy remains as new as the day it rolled off the assembly. And if you’re lucky then the annual maintenance package the previous owner may have subscribed to will simply be transferred to you. Just like that, no questions asked.
You also enter the upper echelons of society where you start getting invited to exclusive dealer events, get a free subscription of the Bentley Owners’ magazine and even an invite to the Bentley factory in Crewe, UK, for a guided tour. Owning a pre-owned Bentley in fact, as Amy tells us before we leave the wonderfully elegant environs of the Bentley showroom in Chanakyapuri in New Delhi, exactly like owning a brand new Bentley. The only thing you cannot ask for is that it be made bespoke for you.
For more about what a day spent with a Bentley feels like, click here