Bentley Arnage

Like the words "ye olde" and "thou art," the Bentley Arnage is a relic from a different British time. Its basic profile is none too different from 1980s Bentleys, while the twin-turbocharged V8 is derived from an engine originally designed in the 1950s. These are the fading visages of Bentley's past: one that is irrevocably tied to Rolls-Royce, but one that has been replaced by a high-tech future courtesy of Volkswagen's new ownership. But despite the introduction of the Continental Flying Spur, the Arnage is still Bentley's grand flagship and a super luxury sedan for those who lust after old-world lavishness and prodigious power without much concern for the latest engineering innovation.
Current Bentley Arnage
The Bentley Arnage is available in three trims: the regular Arnage R, the stretched-wheelbase Arnage RL and higher-performance Arnage T. All are powered by Bentley's venerable 6.75-liter V8, twin-turbocharged to produce massive power. That power is slightly more massive in the Arnage T, with 500 horsepower and an Earth-shaking 738 pound-feet of torque. With power flowing to the rear wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission, the Arnage T is capable of zero to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. The R and RL get by with 450 hp and 645 lb-ft of torque.
As a quarter-million-dollar British luxury sedan, it should come as no surprise that the Arnage comes loaded with creature comforts and copious amounts of wood and leather. Items like reclining rear seats, tri-zone climate control, DVD navigation, Bluetooth and park assist are modern touches that make this old-school motorcar a little more 21st-century friendly. Plus, bespoke options like special colors, materials, wheels, badging and entertainment systems allow a Bentley owner to meticulously create their dream car.
While there's no denying the Bentley Arnage is a beautiful automobile, it lacks the newer engineering, driving dynamics and higher levels of posh and prestige of its Rolls-Royce and Maybach competitors. True, those sedans are even more expensive, but if you can afford an Arnage, we have a sneaking suspicion you can also pony up a few more $10,000 bills for a Phantom or Maybach 57. It's also worth checking out Bentley's own Continental Flying Spur, which rings in about $50,000 cheaper, and features newer technology and design. Of course, these are all logical arguments against buying a Bentley Arnage, and when it comes to buying one of these super luxury automobiles, logic seldom has anything to do with it.
Past Bentley Arnage models
The Bentley Arnage was introduced in 1998 and gradual changes have been made over the years to make it more powerful and up-to-date in terms of high-tech creature comforts. It most recently received power, transmission and styling changes for 2007.
When the Arnage arrived, Rolls-Royce and Bentley were still partners. Initially, it was powered by a BMW-sourced twin-turbocharged V8, but when Volkswagen purchased Bentley in 1999, the bosses in Wolfsburg were loath to continue lining their Bavarian competitors' pockets (especially after BMW swiped Rolls-Royce from under VW's nose). Bentley loyalists also never warmed to the German engines, preferring Bentley's torquey old 6.75-liter turbo V8. By 2001, all Arnages were indeed powered by this engine, albeit thoroughly updated by Volkswagen's engineers.
Initially, the Bentley Arnage was available in Green Label and Red Label trim levels, whose differences mainly related to the engine. The Green Label disappeared after 2000, while the Red Label was replaced by the Arnage R for 2002. The latter featured the modern safety equipment, suspension modifications and recalibrated twin-turbo V8 of the Arnage T introduced a year earlier. The R and T differed in power outputs, however. The long-wheelbase RL arrived for 2003, while there were significant exterior styling changes made to all Arnages for 2005.

Bentley Azure

There are seemingly two rather different types of Bentley Azure buyer. The first is the more traditional country club set, probably wearing tweed, possibly English and without question worth somewhere between 4 million and 1 gajillion dollars. The second is more of the young-blood, showbiz-money set, probably in search of 22-inch wheels, in the mold of Ja Rule and without question worth somewhere between 4 million and 1 gajillion dollars. At least they have something in common. Well, that and their mutual admiration for 6,000-pound, 18-foot-long ultra-luxury British convertibles.
There have been two generations of Bentley Azure, neither of which has represented anything close to cutting-edge automotive design. Yet, for the rare few who take an Azure home to their presumably multicar garage, this lack of engineering innovation will be an acceptable trade-off for owning something so unabashedly large, quintessentially British and bejeweled.
Current Bentley Azure
The Bentley Azure was all-new for 2007, although that's a relative term considering its architecture dates back to 1998 and its engine to the 1950s. The Azure is a four-seat, soft-top convertible available in only one trim and with one engine: Bentley's venerable 6.75-liter V8, twin-turbocharged to make 450 horsepower and 685 pound-feet of torque. Bentley says the Azure can go from zero to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds and hit a top speed of 171 mph.
At more than $330,000, the Azure packs standard features aplenty with 19-inch wheels, xenon headlights, power-adjustable front seats, tri-zone climate control, DVD navigation and parking sensors. In true Bentley fashion, there are numerous customization choices for this handbuilt convertible, including 39 color choices. As nice as all its stately leather and veneer wood trim is, we can't help but feel the interior is a little disjointed. After all, this car wasn't designed with modern-day electronics in mind.
While there's no denying the Bentley Azure is a beautiful automobile, there's also no escaping the fact that it's mostly an obscenely expensive fashion accessory. Bentley's own Continental GTC is more powerful, more refined and less ridiculously expensive, although it lacks that "je ne sais quoi" that makes the Azure such a favorite among the old- and new-money elite.
Past Bentley Azure models
The previous-generation Bentley Azure was built from 1995-2003. Although looking very similar to the current car, it was, in fact, based on the old Continental coupe. It did, however, also feature Bentley's 6.75-liter turbocharged V8 -- albeit before Volkswagen spent $165 million to modernize it. This Azure was offered in two versions: regular Azure and the Azure Mulliner introduced for 1999. These two cars both made 400 hp and differed only in visual details and some equipment. During its nine-year run, fewer than 1,500 Azures were sold, so finding a used one may require searching through more than one issue of the duPont Registry.

Bentley Brooklands

With only 550 cars slated for lifetime production and its entire first-year allocation already sold, time is running out for your purchase of a new Bentley Brooklands. Named after the famous Brooklands racetrack of the 1920s, this stately Bentley coupe is essentially a hardtop version of the Azure convertible. It has the same nose, doors and basic shape, but features an entirely new roof structure (obviously) that lends a subsequent increase in body rigidity. Firmer dampers and an adjustable suspension lend a more sporting character than its convertible sibling, but the Brooklands loses none of that "wafting upon a cloud of woven silk" driving experience one expects from Britain's second-most-posh automotive brand.
As if the classic radiator grille, quad round headlights and flying B hood ornament don't say "old-school motor car" enough, the car underneath certainly will. The car's underpinnings date back to the 1990s, while the 6.76-liter twin-turbo V8 is a throwback from the 1950s. Yes, that's 50s, as in I Like Ike and "I Love Lucy." Although heavily modified over the years -- most recently by Bentley parent Volkswagen -- this grandfatherly mill still features cog-driven pushrods and a diesel-like redline of 4,600 rpm. However, with 530 horsepower and 774 pound-feet of torque, the old guy's got plenty of life in him. In fact, only the Bugatti Veyron boasts more torque.
Indeed, the Bentley Brooklands is a car from another era, for a specific type of car buyer who wants their engine torque plentiful and interior veneer to match. If that describes you, just make sure to place your order quickly.
Current Bentley Brooklands
The Bentley Brooklands is a hardtop ultraluxury coupe introduced for 2008. It seats four people in decadent comfort. Standard specification includes 20-inch 16-spoke wheels, sport suspension, parking assist, copious amounts of premium veneer, leather-trimmed everything, 27 available hide colors, driver memory functions, heated and massaging front seats, twin electrically adjustable rear seats with heat and lumbar, two trunk-mounted umbrellas, Bluetooth and a pop-up navigation system. Options are limited to customization items like a stainless steel grille, match-to-anything paint and leather colors, 20-inch wheels, diamond quilted leather upholstery and different interior trim. Carbon ceramic brakes (with the biggest discs available on a road-going car in the world) are also optional.
Bentley buyers expect prodigious amounts of power and the Brooklands certainly delivers, dashing from zero to 60 mph in a scant 5 seconds. Considering it weighs slightly less than the H.M.S. Bedford, that's incredibly impressive. What Bentley buyers really expect, however, is an interior fit for the queen. If a surface isn't swathed in supple hides, it is decorated with chrome or adorned in one of the many rich veneers available. If wood doesn't meet your fancy, carbon fiber, engine-turned aluminum and something called "Dark Stained Vavona veneer with Dark Stained Burr Walnut substrate" are available. Craftsmanship is also exemplary, although one would hope so at this Herculean price point.
The overall interior design is -- like the exterior -- classic to a T. The dash is upright and features very few modern cues. For instance, both the audio controls and navigation controls are hidden behind panels. Elsewhere in the sumptuous cabin, rear passengers are treated to space unparalleled in a two-door car. The Brooklands features as much backseat legroom as the Arnage sedan, while 6-footers will find plenty of noggin room. Exiting the aft quarters is made easier by a secondary door latch handle in each door.
If a stately British ultraluxury coupe is what you're hankering for, there's not much to recommend other than the Bentley Brooklands and the Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe. The Roller is a newer model in every sense of the term and its epic size lends a presence that can't be matched. Those reverse-opening doors are pretty nifty, too. But the Bentley Brooklands is unique in its own way, with a genuine old-school approach, from its gorgeous interior to the ancient engine. So if you've got $340,000 to spend, go for it.

Bentley Continental Flying Spur

Essentially the four-door version of Bentley's Continental GT coupe, this nearly 5,500-pound sedan exhibits impressive agility and poise-at-the-limit that set it apart from its ultra-luxury competition. In terms of pure luxury, ride quality and presence, the Bentley Continental Flying Spur might lose some style points to its ultra-expensive competition -- but with a price tag that's more than $100,000 cheaper there are bound to be some trade-offs.
The Flying Spur combines classic British design with a decidedly Teutonic expression of logical control placement and meticulous fit and finish (courtesy of VW's ownership of Bentley). There are enough animal hides and pieces of veneered timber to serve duty in the finest English men's clubrooms…or to bring tears of protest from some environmentalists.
But escape is only a throttle press away, as the twin-turbo W12 engine's 552 horsepower can quickly haul the Spur's significant mass to a top speed of nearly 200 mph. Providing the counterweight to all this motion are huge brakes nearly 16 inches in diameter that bring the big Bentley back to rest with impressive composure.
All told, the Bentley Continental Flying Spur provides the requisite levels of high-end luxury while adding a surprising dose of on-road competence and fun, too. For the fortunate few in the market for an ultra-luxury sedan, it should prove to be an appealing combination.
Current Bentley Continental Flying Spur
The Bentley Continental Flying Spur is an ultra-luxury sedan with a high-performance orientation. It debuted as an all-new model for 2006. Naturally, standard equipment is generous. Nineteen-inch wheels; an adjustable air suspension; power front seats with heating, cooling and memory; four-zone automatic climate control; navigation; Bluetooth phone connectivity and leather everywhere are all part of the package. Options include front-seat lumbar massage, flip-down rear-seat veneer picnic tables and a full-length center console that reduces seating capacity to four. A Mulliner Driving Specification package includes special 20-inch wheels, alloy foot pedals, diamond-quilted leather and a choice of exclusive veneers. A further range of customization is provided via 17 leather color choices and an almost endless selection of exterior paints.
This hefty Bentley sedan is motivated by a twin-turbocharged version of the Volkswagen Group's W12 engine. It produces 552 hp and 479 pound-feet of torque starting at a low 1,600 rpm. Driving through a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive, this sophisticated power plant hustles the Flying Spur from zero to 60 mph in a scant 4.8 seconds. There are steering-wheel paddle shifters if you're up to doing it yourself, but there's not much point, really -- they're not easy to reach or quick to shift, and they don't match engine speed when downshifting.
Blending decades of Bentley's classic design with the absolute best available materials and build quality from its parent yields an exquisitely crafted interior literally fit for royalty. Though the Flying Spur is loaded with plenty of up-to-date technology, its controls are traditionally straightforward, with well-organized buttons. The 16-way power front "thrones" are nearly perfect; however, the rear seats lack the adjustments and features available in competing sedans.
With its adjustable air suspension and sophisticated engineering, the Bentley Continental Flying Spur can float along the freeway enveloping its occupants in quiet comfort or just as easily zip through corners like a sport sedan that's half a ton lighter. In fact, in our testing it bettered the slalom speeds of the BMW 7 Series and matched the Bentley Continental GT coupe. Although hardly a sports car, the Flying Spur's steering is rock solid at speed and light when you need it to be around town -- exactly what most ultra-luxury sedan buyers are looking for.

Bentley Continental GT

Abundance. Wretched excess. More than adequate. If any of these phrases gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling, then you'll probably fall in love with the Bentley Continental GT. And we mean this in the best possible way. For those with deep enough pockets, this is one indulgence we wholeheartedly endorse.
The Bentley Continental GT luxury coupe owes its name and heritage to the glory days of Bentley, when cars such as the R Type Continental coupe of the early '50s offered the wealthy a fast, stylish and comfortable way to traverse Europe or North America. Sadly, the next three decades saw Bentley become nothing more than a clone of Rolls-Royce (which had purchased Bentley in the early 1930s).
Sometime in the 1980s, the company decided it wanted a distinct identity and returned to its performance roots with cars such as the Turbo R. After being bought out by Volkswagen in the late 1990s and benefiting from that company's vast resources, Bentley began turning out ever more irresistible luxury sedans, coupes and convertibles.
The first of these models was, in fact, the Bentley Continental GT. Though some of its components are shared with other VW products, the Continental GT boasts a number of key attributes for well-heeled car enthusiasts, including blistering performance courtesy of a twin-turbo 12-cylinder engine, the all-weather confidence of all-wheel drive, a sumptuous cabin that typifies the marque and, of course, the prestige factor. And at far less than $200,000, we dare say it even strikes us as a good value for those with warm fuzzies in their hearts.
Current Bentley Continental GT
With twin-turbocharged W12 power, the finest materials furnishing the cabin and a powerful, bulldog-like presence, the Bentley Continental GT and the higher-performance GT Speed have few peers. Combining effortless performance with an interior that is the epitome of the coachbuilder's art, the Continental GT is a prime example of a grand touring-oriented exotic luxury coupe.
The Continental's standard engine is a 6.0-liter, twin-turbo W12 that pumps out 552 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque and sends its power to all four wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. With a 0-60 time of just 4.4 seconds, a quarter-mile performance of 12.8 seconds and a top speed approaching 200 mph, the Continental GT is a supercar in every sense. And that supercar became even more super for 2008. The Continental GT Speed is the most powerful automobile Bentley has ever produced, with horsepower on the twin-turbo W12 boosted up to 600 and torque a whopping 553 lb-ft.
As one might expect, the Bentley Continental GT comes loaded with practically anything you could want in a luxury touring coupe. Standard feature highlights include 19-inch wheels, four-zone climate control, xenon headlights, adjustable suspension damping, 14-way power front seats, a navigation system and a 300-watt, 12-speaker audio system. In addition to its more powerful engine, the GT Speed gains 20-inch wheels with 13 dual spokes, darkened chrome mesh grilles (upper and lower), diamond-stitch leather upholstery, three-spoke steering wheel and other upgraded interior trim.
Options include the Mulliner Driving Specification Package (20-inch wheels, unique leather upholstery and upgraded wood trim), carbon-ceramic brakes and lumbar massage for the front seats.
Should a potential buyer wish to further set his Continental GT apart from all the others littering Rodeo Drive, he may choose custom colors and interior trim not offered in the Bentley catalog.
Past Bentley Continental GT
The Bentley Continental GT debuted in 2004 with only one style available. Until 2008, the Continental was available in a Diamond Series trim package that was essentially replaced by the GT Speed.

Bentley Continental GT Speed

Bentley Continental GTC

Some might find it hard to believe that Bentley actually competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race a few years ago -- and won. But with the help of its parent company, Volkswagen, Bentley has recently done a remarkable job in shedding its stuffy image and establishing itself as a contemporary luxury coachbuilder.
In that fashion, the Bentley Continental GTC is more than just a posh convertible. It's a high-performance drop top that manages to provide every bit of luxury you'd expect in a traditional Bentley, only now with more attitude and agility.
As its name suggests, the GTC is the convertible version of Bentley's successful four-seat Continental GT coupe. Like the coupe, the GTC has a powerful turbocharged W12 engine, all-wheel drive and an adjustable air suspension. To make up for lost body stiffness due to the lack of a fixed roof, Bentley has fitted the GTC with additional structural reinforcements. Curb weight is a couple hundred pounds more than the coupe.
It's true that a couple of other high-end convertibles are a bit more agile in terms of handling. But for those financially fortunate souls just wanting a luxury-focused grand touring four-seater, it doesn't get any better than Bentley's new GTC.
Current Bentley Continental GTC
The Bentley Continental GTC is a two-door luxury convertible with seating for four. With the push of a button, the convertible fabric top opens or closes in about 25 seconds and will even operate while the car is moving (at speeds up to 20 mph). Thanks to a modified version of the coupe's rear suspension, the top folds completely flat and maintains a sleek profile. If the rear seats are unoccupied -- likely a frequent occurrence given their middling size -- a chrome and aluminum wind blocker can be raised over them to streamline the airflow.
Considering it's a Bentley, we'd be wasting our time talking about air-conditioning and stereo systems. Just expect the best that money can buy, and you won't be disappointed. The GTC's interior goes way beyond features and amenities and is fitted with the finest wood and leather.
The options are virtually limitless (though you'll pay handsomely for them). Buyers can choose between different colors for the convertible top and styles of wood trim. There are a variety of lambswool rug choices, 17 colors for the interior and 15 for the exterior.
When you generally talk about this kind of opulence, it inevitably equates to heaviness. And the Bentley Continental GTC is no exception. No matter. This luxury convertible is powered by a twin-turbocharged 6.0-liter W12 engine that's capable of 552 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque and takes the GTC from zero to 60 in 5 seconds. Top speed is just a tad below 200 mph. A six-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control is standard, as is all-wheel drive.
In road tests, our editors found the Bentley Continental GTC to be a tremendously dynamic drive, while remaining buttoned down throughout. Acceleration is thrilling. Body roll can be eliminated with the firmest suspension setting, allowing this 5,500-pound luxury car to handle like a much smaller car. With the top down, expect noise to pick up considerably above 50 mph. Raising the windows buys you more quiet, and you can enjoy civilized conversation up to 80 mph before having to speak loudly in order to be heard.

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