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Future models - Bentley - Arnage

First look: Bentley flexes Arnage's muscles

Grunt: Arnage's 6.75-litre twin-turbo V8 now offers up to 1000Nm of torque.

More power, more torque and more comfort for Bentley's answer to Rolls-Royce, the Arnage

5 Sep 2006

THAT symbol of British automotive excess, Bentley, is to receive a new – or at least heavily updated – flagship.

While the W12-powered Continental GT coupe and its four-door Flying Spur derivative have almost single-handedly turned the Volkswagen-owned marque around by rapidly achieving celebrity status since being launched in 2004 and 2005 respectively, it is now the top-shelf Bentley sedan’s turn for attention.

The model year 2007 Arnage represents the second facelift since Volkswagen bought Bentley and Rolls-Royce in 1998, after which it replaced Arnage’s BMW-sourced V8 with the 6.75-litre V8 that has powered both Rolls-Royce and Bentleys in various iterations for 40 years.

Ironically, along with a host of interior and exterior cosmetic updates, that time-honoured bent eight now receives more performance to better equip it for battle with super-luxury limousines like the Mercedes-built Maybach and the Rolls-Royce Phantom, the first model to appear since BMW acquired full Rolls-Royce ownership from VW.

Thanks to new low-inertia turbochargers and a roller tappet system, Arnage – and presumably its convertible sibling, the four-seater Azure, before too long – gain an extra 11 per cent or 37kW of peak power to produce 373kW (500hp) at 4200rpm, while the twin-turbocharged 6.75-litre Crewe-built V8 now also delivers a bullocking 1000Nm of peak torque from 3200rpm (up 125Nm or 14 per cent) in the high-performance T version.

Mated for the first time to a ZF-sourced six-speed auto, that is enough to drop the 2585kg T sedan’s 0-100km/h acceleration to a supercar-style 5.2 seconds (and to increase its top speed to 288km/h), while more sedate R and RL variants now offer 336kW (450hp) at 4100rpm and peak torque of 875Nm at 1800rpm.

That is up from 300kW (400hp) and 835Nm, but enough for the similarly heavy R to hit 100km/h in 5.5 seconds and the 2655kg long-wheelbase RL to complete the legal-limit sprint in 5.7 seconds. Top speed for both variants increases 21km/h to 270km/h and combined average EU fuel consumption for all three Arnages is a voracious 19.5L/100km.

"The 2007 model year Arnage range is clear evidence of our intent to ensure Bentley’s flagship model remains at the forefront of technology and delivers the performance, refinement and luxury that every Bentley customer demands," said Bentley board sales and marketing director Stuart McCullough.

54 center imageLaunched at the 2002 Detroit motor show, the Arnage T received significant chassis, steering and brake upgrades two years ago.

"Those improvements meant the car could easily handle a significant increase in power and torque, so work began on this important powertrain program," said Bentley engineering director Ulrich Eichhorn.

Safety and convenience upgrades include the latest electronic stability control system, a tyre-pressure monitoring system, a Bluetooth-integrated telephone system and a 25mm-longer steering column, which now features height adjustment, as standard for all Arnage variants.

The stretched Arnage RT receives a centre rear armrest bottle cooler, veneered rear centre cushion box, rear master telephone system and reversing camera as standard.

The Arnage T’s radiator and grilles will feature a dark finish (bright chrome on R and RL) plus Bentley ‘B’ badges on the D-pillars, while under-bonnet styling changes include a "black crackle" finish to the Arnage T’s inlet manifold, embossed Bentley logo on the plenum chambers and new "6¾ LITRE TWIN TURBO" engine plaques.

Inside, there is a new hide-trimmed gearlever and chrome gearlever gate (with new manual-shift mode), while a "thin film technology" driver information panel displays more comprehensive and more easily accessible information.

New wheel, exterior paint colour and interior trim options are also available, as well as an optional retractable ‘Flying B’ bonnet mascot in the UK.

Bentley’s MY2007 Arnage range goes on sale in the UK later this month and is expected to arrive soon after in Australia, where the Arnage R is currently priced around $500,000, the Arnage T has a price of just under $550,000 and the RL’s sticker is $625,000.

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